Wang Quanming takes pictures as Zhao Yuqing plays with fireworks. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing hugs her dogs on the night before she leaves for Wang Quanming’s hometown, in Beijing. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters)
The pressure in China to find a mate and settle down can be immense. That pressure has given rise to the phenomenon of hiring fake girlfriends and boyfriends to take home to meet the family. Men and women offer their services as fake paramours through, you guessed it, the Internet. Looking for a fake girlfriend or boyfriend to take home and meet the family? You can find them on date-for-hire apps as well as websites.
Intrigued by this phenomenon, a Chinese blogger named Zhao Yuqing decided to find out what this is like by offering her services. According to Reuters, Yuqing posted an online advertisement saying that “she wanted the experience of being a holiday companion and would only charge for the transportation to the person’s home town.” She got 700 responses and ended up choosing a 30-something website operator named Wang Quanming. Yuqing told Reuters photographer Muyi Xiao, about Quanming, “He is being pressured to find a wife and his need to rent a girlfriend is real.”
When the whole trip ended and Yuqing was back in Beijing, she wrote a blog post about the whole thing. Not wanting to keep his mother in the dark about the whole experience, Quanming then sent his mother the blog post. According to Reuters, his mother was not upset, saying, “At the start, I didn’t know they were cheating me,” she said. “I’m over 50. I don’t understand what these young people get up to, but I wasn’t angry.” In fact, she said that the blog post moved her. However, she is still worried about her son finding a mate.
Xiao accompanied the couple on a holiday trip to the man’s home town. Here’s what she saw:
Zhao Yuqing looks at a Chinese character “Fu,” which means good fortune, on a poster in the elevator of her apartment. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing takes a nap at Beijing airport as she waits for her flight to Quanzhou to meet Wang Quanming. Wang Quanming poses for a photograph near the family home where he lived until he was 15. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing and Wang Quanming play with a dog at the apartment where Zhao stayed for a night in the city of Quanzhou Fujian province. They drove to Quanming’s hometown the next morning. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Wang Quanming’s mother Nong Xiurong greets Zhao Yuqing as she arrives in Wang’s hometown. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing looks at her phone as she dries her hair after taking a shower at Wang Quanming’s home. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Wang Quanming’s aunt watches Wang and Zhao Yuqing as they talk before joining a family Spring Festival ritual. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing, Wang Quanming (center) and Wang’s brother ride in a car after leaving Wang’s family home. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Wang Quanming (not pictured) takes a photograph of Zhao Yuqing at the table where she would have her first meal in Wang’s family home. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Wang Quanming’s parents pose for a photo in front of their house. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing checks her mobile phone during a meal with Wang Quanming’s family. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing picks bean pods with Wang Quanming. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters) Zhao Yuqing waits for a Spring Festival ritual hosted by Wang Quanming’s family to begin. (Muyi Xiao/Reuters)
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