Poke deep enough into the corners of the Japanese service sector, and you’ll come across the class of businesses known as benri-ya. Literally meaning “convenience providers,” they exist to fill all the little needs that generally aren’t common or lucrative enough to have their own dedicated businesses. For example, female-run Support One offers personal shopping, dog walking, PC setup, and even substitute grave visitors.
Support One is also willing to help customers with white lies that make their daily life easier, such as providing companions who’ll pretend to be your friends or family members at social functions. Now, the company is expanding its catalogue of social trickery with its newest service, dispatching a hot guy to make your boyfriend jealous.
This isn’t Support One’s first time getting involved in matters of the heart. Among their preexisting plans is one for a “rental lover.” It sounds like straight-up prostitution but is in fact a service where an employee will pose as your boyfriend or girlfriend to help you show your ex that you’ve moved on or convince your parents you’re making progress on the path to finally giving them some grandkids.
▼ Or to simply show off for all the creatures of the sea, apparently
The newest service is a little different though. Dubbed the Jealousy-Generating Brigade, this one isn’t to make your friends and family believe you’ve got a serious suitor, but to trick your boyfriend into thinking you might have a second one. Support One promises that all members of the JGB are handsome men, although the company’s website doesn’t show the face of any of their purportedly dreamy employees.
▼ Have pocket squares become the shorthand for “handsome?”
So what kind of customers is Support One targeting? According to their description of the service, people whose feelings can be described as:
“I don’t know how the guy I like feels about me…”
“My boyfriend is always so laid-back and confident in his relationship with me. It really ticks me off!”
“I want to make my boyfriend feel just a little uneasy.”
“I want to make him jealous.”
The JGB will work with you to plant the seed in your guy’s mind that if he doesn’t treat you right, there’s someone else waiting to rush in from the wings and sweep you off your feet. Support One lists a number of possible scenarios. For example, if you tell them when and where you’re planning to meet up with your boyfriend, they’ll send a JGB member to hit on you just as your boyfriend is showing up.
▼ This can actually require quite a lot of planning and coordination, given how crowded some of Tokyo’s most popular meeting spots are.
Alternatively, if you’re willing to get actively duplicitous yourself, you can introduce him as your close personal friend, to create the illusion that one of your pals is a good-looking guy who got in on the ground floor as is standing by in case your boyfriend screws up.
Perhaps the boldest tactic put forth by Support One is to have the JGB member show up at a party both you and your boyfriend will be attending, where he’ll then start chatting you up. This seems like the trickiest scheme to pull off, as it sort of involves having the other guests be in on the deception, lest they all start asking about what Mr. Pocket Square is doing crashing their party.
Support One lists a base price of 5,000 yen (US$42) for the first hour of all of its services, with each hour thereafter costing an additional 3,000 yen. Further charges are applicable based on transportation costs and other factors, although discounts for three, five, and eight-hour packages are also available. We’re assuming that everything is covered by a thorough and binding nondisclosure agreement, since perhaps the only thing men find less attractive than women who insist on playing mind games are those who enlist professional help in doing so.