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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rent-A-Friend And The Psychology Of Fear

I find this whole concept incredibly sad, but I would be lying if I didn't believe it exists for a good reason.

In Japan, one can rent a friend.

Read the article HERE, then come back and we can discuss, as I reveal too much about myself in an effort to prove a point.

If you read the whole article, and I hope you did, you'll see that the rent-a-friend program isn't JUST about paying for an opportunity to just hang out and get stuff off your chest.

The fake sister and mother-in-law at a wedding was good, but who is that fooling? Surely the in-laws would know that the two rentals were NOT the real family?

And if they didn't, is starting a relationship off with lies to one side of the family the best way to go about things?

Hey - not everybody in a family gets along... and not everybody need be at one's wedding? If the in-laws didn't know that fake relatives were hired, and then found out... wouldn't they be upset with their son and new daughter-in-law? You betcha. That'll make the family situation doubly bad and cast light on the fact as to who is actually responsible for the initial family break-up. The new wife, in case you weren't keeping score.

What about the guy who hired a fake fiancĂ©... brilliant actually, if it gets his busy-body parents off his back for a while. Yes... in many families—and not wholly-dependent on one's culture—there's added pressure on the son or daughter to get married by an acceptable age. I believe it be cultural ego.

In Japan, my 27/28-year-old Japanese fiancée would have been considered just past that acceptable age to get married... but her father was willing to accept having the stigma of an unmarriable daughter than the stigma of having a gaijin (foreigner) son-in-law. Gee... that won't hurt me at all.

Noboko lost out on a great guy (me), and I lost out on a great woman (Noboko), but saved myself a lifetime of bullcrap of having to deal with her father who favored his own social standing at work over his own daughter's happiness. F$%k him.

Twenty-three years, and apparently I still have some bitterness. We should have just eloped, but Noboko did not want to hurt her father.

Anyhow... others hire a rent-a-friend to talk to... and I think that's fine for those who need to talk.

Me? Rather than spend $150 and hour to lie on a couch, nowadays I get my cathartic angst out here in this blog. Since I used to have four blogs, one could assume I had a lot of angst. I do, but I don't want to talk about it.

Of course, that's now.

Before we all jump on the bandwagon in an effort to scream at how pathetic these Japanese customers are to have to rent a friend to merely talk with, let's not have the kettle call the pot black. I don't even have a kettle. Really.

For you guys... ever been to a strip joint or massage parlor? While I don't have numbers, let's say 80 percent go for sexual tension release... but is it really? At better men's clubs, one can't have sex with the exotic dancers... they stop, talk, dance... and you feel better, if not $20 to $100 lighter.

Even if few words are exchanged, being in control of your life for a four-minute song makes many a man feel better about himself - whether they admit it or not.

You don't even want to know how I know that stuff and more... but let's say I can talk, and entertain, and can even ask out dancers, and gain an agreement for dates. Been there, done that. I haven't been to a place in over 17 years - except once with the guys, and to be honest, I was bored, knowing how old I was and how old thy were. I prefer a more mature quail. They don't exist at those places. I hope.

The point is... I talked, they talked - we each got relief. I'm talking emotional relief. It ain't easy peeling clothes off in front of most guys who are complete jerks. Some off us aren't. Usually.

For whatever reason, no woman would ever give me the time of day at a regular bar or dance club. They were all looking at the group of four hot guys, and all the guys were looking at that group of four hot women.

And never the twain shall meet.

It was/is pathetic really.

So - despite being blessed with okay looks, an above average intelligence and sense of humor and the ability to actually give a crap about the person I am talking with (let's call it 'caring') - I became shy when trying to meet women.

In this blog, despite having slept with or dated some 30-plus women in Japan, I only ever asked out one—Noboko. You don't want to know what my numbers ended up being, but I was closer to triple digits as far as sex, than I was to a half century.

Those numbers here in Toronto are skewed. Most were met at the aforementioned spandex ballet joints with women who actually wanted a 'normal' guy to help them feel a bit normal. Actually, I'd have to more than normal to be able to go out with them, while still giving the appearance of being 'normal'.

Why did I do it? Why date like that? What was I trying to prove to myself? Why wouldn't 'normal' women want to sleep with me? Why did I have to pay women to dance for me to get them to pay attention? Granted I was quickly able to turn that into an ability to date, but what was I trying to prove?

I know... and I'm sure you armchair psychiatrists do too. I'm not stupid. I was just lonely. I paid for the initial companionship. Why I was able to date them, however, is because I didn't come off as being a squib. I was confident, exuberant, intelligent, charming, and I could make them laugh. I was also good in the sack, but how to prove that unless one has the stuff in the last sentence? No, you don't need to whip it out. Despite what men thing, the average penis size amongst every guy willing to tell you, is NOT larger than a horse.

They would get bored with 'normalacy' and I would be 'forced' to go seek another woman to prove that I was a god, and not just pathetic. My friend Kevin would refer to me as the flavor of the month for my dating habits telling me to not get emotionally attached to anyone... which, while being quite sad, in my case turned out to be quite good advice. 

I have no problem with anyone paying someone to act as a friend. I had friends (zero female friends... just like in When Harry Met Sally, I wanted to sleep with any woman who dared to be my friend), but those male friends were not going to give me the psychological tension relief I craved... at least with the rent-a-friend program in Japan, those who need such psychological needs, can receive it.

Hey... it's the past. I'm not ashamed of it.

I was shy, bullied, nearly two-years-younger than my classmates, wore glasses, 5-foot tall until I was 17, thought of as being stupid by my peers.

I changed who I was (after five years of crapping out, but completing university) when I entered journalism school. I became outgoing, less shy (still couldn't talk to a strange woman first, unless she talked to me, or it was someone I needed to interview)... in Japan... no one knew who I was, so I could be even more outgoing... which made me accessible.. and thus, I did not have to ask women out - they asked me.

After Japan... I hit the gym six times a week, sucking in whey protein shakes, creatine/phosphagen powders and even a couple of bottles of steroids (the same as Mark McGwire)... but not enough for the steroid to make a difference... but I got bigger, more in shape, grew the hair real long, and maintained all the good points... except that I was still shy around women, and now no one was asking me out. Even built like I was. Again... see that above commentary about everyone looking at the four really good-looking people. 

Male friends are nice... but sometimes ya need to talk with a woman. It doesn't even have to be sexual. It's just to get a female point of view on life, or maybe it it's to remind you that you aren't repulsive to women... or whatever.

And don't give me that crap about paying for such mundane things.

Guys... ever buy a woman dinner, take her to a movie, dancing, out for drinks... hoping you'll get laid? By showing you are rich or a nice guy, you are hoping for sex... because you want it. Why? To make you feel like a man? Or to feel like a person?

That's all the rent-a-friend programs are in Japan.

Personally, I applaud them for finding an alternative to blinding loneliness. Yeah... they could talk to work friends... or those old classmates one used to know 20 years ago... or even the wife... but maybe that's not the correct form of psychological tension relief that is required.

Like my old friend Mister Manfred Mann, I don't judge. Remember that Eurythmics' song... Sweet Dreams... there's the two opening stanzas:

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas,
Everybody's looking for something.

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

I wonder if I have changed at all... yeah, I'm no longer in god-like shape... oh... and my beautiful, beautiful long, curly/wavy hair... 

Andrew Joseph
PS: My university degree is mostly about the psychological manipulation via politics... which does NOT have to be about boring old politics, but rather about the politics of relationships between people. At least that's how I tend to apply that otherwise useless degree I have.  


  1. My useless degree is in Psychology (with a minor in Math), so trends like this are interesting to me. Is this all a lie like Miyabi said? What is "this"? Society? Community? Culture? Family? Are online friends real? LOL ;-) I understand "hiring a service" for whatever you may need, but renting a friend is ... well ... kinda sad as you say. I think we are more alone now than we've ever been, and this new generation (aka my kiddos) have less and less human interaction as they rely more on text, IM, online games and other apps to interact.

    1. First off... on-line friends are real. We (General we) often tell each other stuff we dare not say to people around us for fear of being harshly judged. Look how we met.
      But yeah... it's not like the wives sit at home and plan weekend dinner parties with the other wives from hubby's club. Everyone works, kids are all in activities (to get them away from the evil of electronic media).
      But yeah... we have arrange play dates, rather than just having a kid go an knock on the door to see if his friend wants to come out. No one calls on the phone... and when the kids talk - it's like they have no concept of true communication skills.
      Renting a friend is sad... but I also get it, y'know. I spend more time at work than I do at home, but I have to be guarded with what I say at work else crap gets around - bloody communications... and yet, there's this. Where I'm pretty honest. My wife doesn't read my blog. Maybe once. She doesn't understand why I write about this stuff. It's cathartic. For everything in life... I get my stress out when I write these blogs. Apparently, I'm very stressed.
      Glad to have you around, my friend.

    2. I'm glad to be your friend and really enjoy the way you write. I am using your blog as inspiration to pick up my own writing - just personal stuff to share with a few people. I actually reply to you more than you see ... but I tend to go too deep, so be thankful you get the abstract. I remember the olden days of writing letters on onion skin paper to save postage ... using air mail envelopes where I wrote "BY AIR MAIL/PAR AVION" (and drew a sad airplane on the envelope for mail sorters who couldn't read English or French - in the hope that my letter wouldn't get sent by "sea"). Hah - these days my kids tell me only parents and schools use email. Yikes.

      Hope your recovery is going well and you take the time to relax as you heal ...

    3. How very nice.
      You actually reply to me more than I can see? Well, I am notified everytime there's a comment... but I take it you man your abstract.
      It's okay... even if I don't comment back on the abstract - I probably get it. I've not been confused by what you say. I find it refreshing. Especially after all that stuff in the other blog where it was a lot of comments from posers.
      I've written a few AirMail one piece letters in the past, but don't do much letter writing anymore. Wait... only parents and kids use e-mail... the implication that everyone texts or IMs? Ah, the impermanence of communication. Of course, you know that nothing is actually deleted from the 'net. I once discovered all sorts of interesting stuff from a computer that had been deleted... you may have read elsewhere what I discovered, and then advised about.
      Healing just 'swell'. Thanks for being here or wherever you are, which I sorta know. Because you told me.
      Write on, FFF.