In the previous article, we explored the world of “rent-a-buddy” and what it means to be a rent buddy. We delve deeper into the psyche of those who would pay for such a service in an exclusive interview with Fai. While most men seeking such arrangements are in their mid 30s to 50s, Fai is a single young man in his 20s who has spent close to $10k on such services just for cuddles. This is his experience.
“Selling an emotional connection for lonely buyers in times of pandemic.”
How much have you spent in total just to spend time and cuddle with a stranger(s)?
Fai: Close to SGD10k I would say, over the period of 10 months from January this year to October.
What attracted you to such platforms?
Fai: Escapism I would say, from the problems I faced in my personal life. I needed the human connection, especially with the lockdowns and all. It’s not easy for me to meet ladies in the traditional sense.
What is the average rate for a buddy and how is it justified?
Fai: It’s between $150-$200 for 2 hours. Some may even charge up to $350-$400. The service providers will have to justify their pricing. According to one lady, allegedly the price is justified by the Instagram follower count the service provider has.
And it is strictly platonic, no touching?
Fai: We can only shake hands with them. However, it all depends on the service providers themselves. I’ve asked for permission to hug and hold hands with the lady I took out on a date.
Did you have to pay extra to touch?
Fai: No, it all depends on how you proceed from the first hour. It’s about building a connection and when they’re comfortable with you, they may extend the time without extra charges.
“Finding companionship and seeking intimacy.”
What typically goes down on such dates?
Fai: The usual, coffee and movies. We have to pay for everything by the way. In one of the dates, I requested my date to extend the time after the two hours was up. We had desserts and we shared a deep connection. One thing led to another and we ended up spending almost the whole day together.
So there was sex involved?
Fai: No, we just hugged and cuddled. I did ask her if she would like to go to a hotel with me. She rejected it initially because she thought I was trying to get into her pants.
Were there feelings involved after the “makeout” session?
Fai: After that date, I was hoping that I could keep in contact with her and just pay her the next time I wanted the companionship. We had that connection and I needed that. But after that day, we went our separate ways.
You paid just to hug and cuddle?
Fai: Pretty much. I am a guy who needs that kinda intimacy over sex. So it was okay for me when I spent the money on such services to get that human touch, the girlfriend experience.
Desperation, distraction or just confused?
You’re a young guy with a career, why the need for such services?
Fai: I had low self esteem and an inferiority complex of sorts. I’ve been in relationships where I’ve been cheated on or ghosted on. I admit, I do have commitment issues. When I do get to know someone, I will overthink the situation and consider the value she can bring into my life.
So is it safe to say that you’re picky?
Fai: Yes, I’ve been told that I am picky. If the vibe isn’t right, I would end it immediately. I tend to think that I’m always the odd one out, it’s hard for me to find someone who would understand me. There needs to be mutual acceptance and chemistry between us. So far, I haven’t found that.
The need for intimacy, did it lead you to other platforms?
Fai: I did move on to using a platform that connects sugar babies to sugar daddies. I tried for the sake of trying and realized that I wasn’t into financing a sugarbaby long term.
Advice for those who are using the platform?
Fai: It can become an addiction. Simply because you have the money to spend and try for other connections when one doesn’t work. Soon, the money won’t even be an issue anymore as you start to believe that you have the power to buy the connections that you can’t create organically.
Reporter’s Opinions: Personally I find it sad that one would resort to paying just to feel that human touch and connection. Fai definitely has issues that he’s working on.
Again, the issue of subtle exploitation comes up. If it’s true, a person’s worth in dollars is justified by the number of followers they have. In a sexual transaction, it is strictly business. However, in such services, lines are blurred. It may start out as paying someone to be a listening ear and usually in such situations, an emotional rapport will happen. It is natural for humans to seek that connection wherever they can find it. Is it ethical to subtly exploit the loneliness that some people feel and monetize that?
It is not the responsibility of the platforms when one gets addicted to the high but the reality is that this plays on emotional manipulation. You’re cashing in on a niche market at the expense of the most basic human need.
We all need proper connections in our lives that we can count on but if that is not met, such platforms provide an outlet for people to seek validation in all the wrong places for the wrong reasons.
There is no satisfaction in a “relationship” that is merely a transaction.
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Part 1: Aku Bayar Hanya Untuk Peluk
Part 2: Aku Bayar Hanya Untuk Peluk
Part 3: Aku Bayar Hanya Untuk Peluk