For Rent

The Japanese (who complain that middle aged men no longer posses the same level of dignity in the public sphere) created a rental service. The members are all male and past a certain age. The level of wisdom in regards to their various qualities, skills and life perspective are evaluated and accepted into the system.  The users of this service can rent one of these men for 9 dollars an hour with the expectation of having someone to converse with to share their troubles and get advice, or attend an event, or listen to him play an instrument, or play chess etc. The only thing forbidden in the rental service for the renter and the rented is physical contact.

The most interesting point for me is that this service is most widely used by women. It seems that these young men don’t really need the advice of experienced women. However, a lot of women who are experiencing issues in their relationships see the unbiased and objective perspective of a rational man as valuable.

The nature of this service, which was created to satisfy a very basic human problem or need, got me thinking. There’s no doubt that it’s miniscule when compared to the vast amount of services that human beings have been offering each other for centuries. It’s an attempt of create new connections instead of lamenting how we ended up here (and for an acceptable price of 9 dollars an hour in an expensive place like Japan). Despite all the genuine goodwill of both sides, these services, to me, are a sign that a secure friendship is rapidly fading. And I suppose that is the saddest part in terms of the future of our race.



Photo: Kevin Mullins

Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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