RG 5

A man and woman pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend in order to please their traditionally-minded, grandchild-expecting parents is one of the oldest clichés in romantic fiction. It’s right up there with the moody jerk with a heart of gold and the rich, dreamy architect who would love to spend more time with the heroine if only he wasn’t juggling so many projects.

In real life, though, often times once you peel back the layers of jerk a guy has wrapped himself in, all you’ll find he was hiding deep down inside was a smaller, more concentrated jerk. Architecture has one of the highest unemployment rates of any professional field. And talking someone you’re not dating into pretending to be your girlfriend? It’s not nearly as cute as movies and TV make it out to be, as proven by the ugly aftermath of a man in China’s unsuspecting parents giving a sizeable cash gift to his fake girlfriend.

China’s strict childbirth limitations mean that men and women of marriageable age often bear intense pressure from their parents to marry and produce a grandchild. After all, with no siblings to pass the task off to, the responsibility of making sure the family line continues rests squarely on them. Such was the position one man who’d grown up in Fujian Province found himself in.

▼ Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province

RG 1

The son of a well-to-do family, the man had never been able to find a girlfriend, despite having reached an age where he’s old enough to live on his own, and thus, ostensibly, get married. His parents had grown impatient with the delay in realizing their dream of extending the family two generations down, and would often call the man on the phone, pestering him to “Hurry up and bring your girlfriend to meet us.”

▼ This is a little like bugging your friend to let you ride his pet dragon. Sure, it’d be awesome, and there’s no doubt your friend would be happy to if he could, but the whole thing kind of falls apart if said pet dragon doesn’t actually exist.

RG 2

Tired of his parents’ nagging, the man settled on the idea of renting a girlfriend to take with him on his next trip back home. Sadly, he failed to complete his 1980s rom-com bingo card by hiring neither a straight-talking call girl or the nerdiest girl in school (who it turns out is actually kind of pretty when she changes out of that baggy flannel shirt and puts on a little makeup). Instead, he purchased the services of a clothing store clerk who was introduced to him by a friend. The woman agreed to pretend to be his girlfriend in exchange for a lump payment of 5,000 yuan (US $815), an amount equal to the monthly salary for a decent white-collar job in China.

The agreed upon day came, and the man’s parents were overjoyed to meet the young lady. She was attractive and charming, and they were so taken with her that they began to look forward to welcoming her to the family someday. Even when it came time for the two couples (one of which wasn’t actually a couple) to say goodbye, the man’s parents were none the wiser to the charade, and apparently the young woman had turned in such a convincing performance as the man’s girlfriend that they gave her a gift of 20,000 yuan ($3,265) in gratitude for providing her son with her companionship.

The con started unraveling just a few days later, though. The man had witnessed his parents giving the money to the woman, and since she wasn’t actually his girlfriend, demanded she give it to him. The woman refused, insisting that since the parents had given it to her, it was hers to do with as she liked. The dubious way in which she obtained the funds notwithstanding, we have to admit she’s got a bit of a point. The man was still dealing with his parents under their false belief that she was his girlfriend, so it’s unlikely that he would have returned the money to his parents even if the woman did hand it over.

▼ “I told you Mom, my girlfriend and I broke up! Coincidentally, she used all the money you gave her to buy me a year’s supply of Tsingtao just before we stopped dating.”

RG 3

The duplicitous duo got into an argument over the money in the street, which escalated to the point where the two started beating on each other. The police were called, and the details of the incident came to light as the two gave their statement after being taken into custody.

▼ “Let me get this straight. You’re so bad with women that you can’t even get along with your pretend girlfriend?”

RG 4

We’re not sure what the most embarrassing part of this story is. Is it the fact that the man can’t get a girlfriend without spending a significant amount of money? Or is it the fact that his parents are so grateful that someone would date their son they felt it necessary to sweeten the deal by providing economic compensation of their own? Either way, we’d recommend the man stay out of the dating pool for a while, as right now the only Chinese male whose romantic stock is lower is the one who couldn’t find a rental girlfriend willing to date him at any price.

Source: Nico Nico News
Top image: China Smack
Insert images: Geonet, Herpy, Alibaba, Global Voices