Rent a friend?

Now I’ve heard everything!   Yes, you can rent a friend.

Commentary: Maybe people will think I am a snob, but honestly while I can chat with almost anyone, it isn’t every day that I run across someone with whom I can really talk, someone trustworthy, interesting, open-minded, empathetic, with a sense of curiosity, a sense of humor, a bit of wisdom.

Apparently some people need to impress others.  Impress with a rented stranger? Or they’re lonely – and almost anyone will do.  This is very, very sad.

Just think, civilization has arrived at a point where fire protection is optional and “friendship” is a business transaction!

I recall during the years of bushco thinking, what else don’t we know? Now I’m thinking, where is this all leading….???

13 thoughts on “Rent a friend?

  1. I was writing with reference to Our Town recently. The Thorton Wilder classic, to me anyway, stressed habit and custom as structures that protect us from our feelings.

    We really do not wish to get ‘too close’ to other human beings.

    As always, you have me thinking.

    1. Protect us from our feelings…. Hmmmm…now Our Town is a fascinating play, one of my favorites. But, to me, it gives a sense of both the dead and the living as part of the same community… Maybe I never protected myself from my feelings, so I never noticed that in Our Town? … if it’s there. (I’m not questioning your perspective, but I never noticed it myself…. Hmmmm.)

      Closeness, now that is very personal. Some want it. Some shun it. Some fear it. Some love it. Some hate it. But I kinda like it myself!

      The good thing about this group is: We did not rent a blog!

  2. MSNY

    From the article: “She’s running late and I’m starting to feel nervous.”

    Jeez, I can hardly stand it when my actual friends can’t get their acts together to show up on time when we meet. If I’m paying for friendship, the least they can do is not be late!

    If I were that woman, I would try to dispute the friend rental charge. Friendship is mutual admiration and respect, earned over time. If I am forsaking the time and effort to earn the respect of a friend by paying a fee, then I expect the rented friend to show some respect and turn up on time.

    This gives new meaning to “As a friend, you owe me some respect.”

    1. Honestly…. I’m interested in the “I’m feeling nervous” part… Was she worried her rented friend would stand her up? or what?

      Sounds to me, MSNY, like you will not do well renting friends… Right off the bat, you’ll be “expecting” things from them. Then again, that’s what real friends are for, right? You know them. You can depend on them.

      But just imagine.. if you rent, you have agreed to something before you’ve even met them!

      1. MSNY

        I don’t think it’s wrong to expect things from friends – I don’t mean material things (not that I would mind that) I mean things like respect and consideration. Those aren’t too much to expect, are they?

        I’m working under the assumption that in calling someone a friend I’ve put in time and effort and earned respect from that person and vice-versa.

        I’ll wrench my back helping them move a couch or take that 4am drunken phone call, or even bail them out if necessary, but I’d like to think that they would do the same for me.

        And yeah, If I am paying, there should be a clear understanding that for the fee, the person acting as the ‘friend’ should fulfill all the obligations of a friend.

        If I rent a car, I’m going to utilize all the features of the car. I should have all of the same expectations as I would have if the car where actually mine. Rent-a-friend should be the same…LOL.

        1. You are absolutely right! Yes, you should expect everything from Rent-a-Friend! Including calls in the middle of the night! Yup… sympathy. High-fives!

          Features of Friendship. We need some kind of contract now!

  3. This reminds me of a movie I have in my DVD collection called “The Wedding Date”, where a woman rents a male escort and takes him to Britain to attend her sister’s wedding, posting as her new “boyfriend”. And of course they fall in love (it is a chick flick, after all).

    So of course this new Rent A Friend thing is just another form of escort service, only platonic. Looking at it from that angle, I guess I can see the need for someone who, for instance, moves to or visits a new area and doesn’t have time or knowledge to find friends on their own. As the article states, that can be an advantage. But all the implications of paying someone to be a friend…I can see where this could cause a lot of issues. Just thinking them through is giving me a headache.

    In closing, I’ll just say this is a very interesting find, Thera. Thanks for the link.

    1. But really, Lis, could you HONESTLY introduce someone as the Rent-a-Friend who became your real friend?

      Imagine that person in the article who rented friends to make it look like she had lots of friends. How many lies is this person telling to a new date?

      Does this mean that from now on people who date need to worry that even the other person’s “friends” might have come from a “friendship service”?

      Truly, the technology here is outrunning the morality of it all!

  4. Here TheraP is the encapsulation of the third act. Emily has died in child birth and her ghost sits with the other ghosts.:
    A funeral party enters with a casket. Among the mourners are George, Dr. Gibbs, and the Webbs. While the living characters huddle at the back of the stage, Mrs. Soames and Mrs. Gibbs talk dispassionately about the cause of Emily’s death. Mrs. Soames reminisces about George and Emily’s wedding. A group standing by the grave begins singing “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds.” Emily emerges from the funeral party and joins the characters in the cemetery—her body has just been interred. She sits in an empty chair beside Mrs. Gibbs and tells her mother-in-law all about the improvements she and George had been making to their farm. Emily suddenly stops, seemingly struck by an epiphany, and looks at Mrs. Gibbs. “Live people don’t understand,” Emily says. Sitting with the dead, now one of them herself, Emily remarks how distant she feels from the living.

    Even so, Emily says, she still feels like one of the living, and against the advice of the other dead souls, she decides to go back and relive one happy day from her life. With the assistance of the Stage Manager, Emily goes back to 1899, to the day of her twelfth birthday. It is dawn, and we witness another typical Grover’s Corners morning. As Constable Warren, Howie Newsome, and Joe Crowell, Jr. chat in the street outside Emily’s house, Mrs. Webb comes downstairs to fix breakfast. Mr. Webb has been away in another town for the last few days, but now he returns home with a surprise gift for his daughter. When Mrs. Webb gives the young Emily her presents, however, the scene becomes unbearable for Emily’s deceased soul. Overcome by her observation that human beings go through life without savoring their time on Earth, Emily tells the Stage Manager that she is ready to go back to 1913 and return to the cemetery.

    Emily again takes her place next to Mrs. Gibbs. The dead talk and watch the stars come out over Grover’s Corners. Emily exclaims that she should have listened to the dead and stayed in her grave. Simon Stimson angrily replies that Emily now understands how the living waste time, trampling on the feelings of others and existing in a self-centered world of “ignorance and blindness. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/ourtown/section4.rhtml

    Emily is frustrated that human beings do not take advantage of every minute of every day stuck in the humdrum of life without expressing themselves to the ones they love.

    As an aside, I learned later that Russians just adored this play.

    the end

    1. Wow, you’ve taken all that trouble to write out a synopsis!

      Actually, dd, it seems to me this dovetails perfectly with a spiritual perspective on things – with trying to be present and appreciate even the humdrum as shot through with wonder.

      I guess maybe I always “interpreted” through my own lenses instead of seeing the sense of pessimism you’ve brought out here.

      This makes me wonder how much of life or anything is just a product of the kind of glasses we have on – and not just what’s presented to us.

      Thanks for making this so clear to me! Am I just an inveterate optimist? Am I in denial? Or did I just miss the pessimism? Really makes me wonder… I truly am grateful for all that trouble you went to. I’ll be thinking about this for a while now….

      Believe it or not, as a teenager, with no experience whatsoever, I once had a chance to “direct” some of that play! Why they gave me that role I will never know… But I surely missed the point, I guess!

  5. ~flowerchild~

    So, is this sorta like the world’s oldest profession being reinvented? Or maybe we are working so hard to afford our luxuries that we don’t mind spending some of our spare change for the luxury of having a friend? This is crrrrazy.

    You know, I kinda feel bad for the people that find this an acceptable substitute for companionship.

    1. There is so much here, isn’t there? Maybe therapists will become a thing of the past….

      Where is this gonna lead? One day we’ll read about some poor soul raped and murdered by a “rented friend” – or the one who rented them. Other strange things will happen. And yes, there may be a few folks who actually marry or “something”.

      Do not try this at home, folks!

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