This is like an episode of Black Mirror waiting to happen.
You want your lonely child to, say, have a "father." Or maybe you just want to go out on some dates with someone nice, someone safe.
In short, you want someone to care, or at least act like they do. You think it would be easier -- cleaner -- to pay someone than to actually find someone in real life.
So, you go online and hire someone like Ishii Yuichi, owner of Family Romance in Japan, to play that role. It seems harmless at first, but then you both have to live with that lie.
What could possibly go wrong?
In an article Tuesday, The Atlantic interviewed Yuichi who shares what it's like to be that for-hire "loved one." Here's what he said it feels like to play "daddy" to an unsuspecting fatherless girl:
It’s a business. I’m not going to be her father for 24 hours. It’s a set time. When I am acting with her, I don't really feel that I love her, but when the session is over and I have to go, I do feel a little sad. The kids cry sometimes. They say, “Why do you have to leave?” In those instances, I feel very sorry that I’m faking it—very guilty. There are times, when I’m done with the work and I come back home, where I sit and watch TV. I find myself wondering, “Is this, now, the real me, or the actor?”...
I dream about my client—when she cries because I have to leave. It’s a very emotional situation.
Sometimes, in the dream, I tell her the truth.
I say, “I’m very sorry. I’m a member of the Family Romance corporation. I’m not your true father.” Right before she can respond—just as she opens her mouth to speak, I wake up. I am terrified of the answer, so I just wake up.
The 36-year-old CEO predicts "exponential growth" for his 800-person company, and more businesses like it.
Read the entire interview here: How to Hire Fake Friends and Family