The Weekly Substandard: Relationship Retail

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Jill: Jack and I decided that perhaps it is time that we redeem ourselves after our last two articles were a bit… ermmm…. Anyway, how about this gem: Fake Facebook Girlfriends. The Atlantic published an exposé detailing FakeInternetGirlfriend.com, a website offering such services. You’ve got to love it- social media has stooped to a new low. I thought Facebook relationship statuses were outlets for angry girls to make their men jealous. I guess I never realized that these relationship statuses actually have some sort of meaning behind them.

Anyhow, several websites have popped up lately offering the services of a fake Facebook girlfriend, all for a cool 3-month commitment for $750. What do you think about that, Jack? Would you fork over $750 for a fake Facebook girlfriend? The creators of these sites claim that many people buy these falsies to make an angry ex jealous, employment purposes, or even to mask homosexuality.

So Jack, I ask you these questions: Do you know anyone who needs to buy a Facebook girlfriend, because I’m willing to do it for half the price. Secondly, what do you make of this? Is this real life?

Jack: Too real. With an esteemed publication such as The Atlantic willing to pose these oft-overlooked existential quandaries like “Mentally, physically, and emotionally, does the idea of a fake Facebook girlfriend mostly strengthen me, or mostly deplete me?” and “Most of the time, would I feel trapped or strengthened by sharing my virtual space with a fake Facebook girlfriend?” I’m undecided where to take this topic. As this is a business school publication we should avoid such ethical dilemmas like exploitative greed and focus on the bottom line. Lets examine the key consumer segment of this business: presumably young with expendable income, male and riddled with crippling social awkwardness. But why are they limiting it to men? I’m pretty sure depressive desperation is a cross-gender affliction (there is an entire HBO show devoted to the topic).

Now to your question whether I know someone willing to go down this path, I have to answer with a fervent negative. In all likelihood this is a friendship deal breaker for me. Am I being too cynical? Perhaps this is the brave new world and I’m just another curmudgeon quietly mumbling expletives at the next generation.

Jill: Girls don’t need to buy boyfriends, simple as that. Girls have been bought for ages, however far back prostitution goes. Men used to, and in some parts of the world, still do, pay for their wives. Females would just laugh at this service, and move on with their lives. However, the consumer segment that you just mentioned would eat this up. I just have a difficult time coping with the fact that there are that many awkward men out there that would be willing to pay for a fake girlfriend simply for social status.

Obviously these companies are doing well in the US market, but I wonder how they would do in other markets? What about China? There is an alarmingly uneven ratio of men to women in China, and wives are becoming incredibly difficult to come by. Would young, wealthy Chinese men use this service, presumably to keep their parents off of their back about finding a significant other? Maybe I’m mistaken, but I feel like this could have a real shot in China.

To keep the discussion going, please comment down below!

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson

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