Take a look at the recently viral Google Doc which lists out the popular snarky remarks by aunties and uncles of Singaporeans during Chinese New Year, you'll soon realise that a big part of it revolves around relationship status. It is not uncommon to hear Singaporeans complaining how there's no end to questions like "ah girl ah where is your boyfriend?" or "wa so old already haven't get married ah?"
So it is understandable that when an article by The New Paper on how more people are renting fake boyfriends online during Chinese New Year was published, the article struck a chord with a lot of Singaporeans.
According to a spokesperson we spoke to at Rent A Gent, who claims to be the leading agency in providing male companion to clients, there was a 300 per cent increase in business during Chinese New Year.
Here's a look at the website, and as the name suggests, allows you to easily "rent a gent" for dates or companionship during normal days, or during festive seasons like the Chinese New Year to get your families to stop asking about boyfriend or marriage plans:
While 300 per cent or a 3 fold increase might be a lot, when we asked Rent A Gent what exactly does it mean, they told Vulcan Post that the number is actually nearer to 30 clients.
"We usually have about 5 - 10 clients a month regularly, some regulars, some one offs. During this period (Chinese New Year) we probably get up to 30," Rent A Gent told Vulcan Post.
"We have a segment of middle aged women clients, and also a much older segment which is above 50 years old, who just want intellectual and warm companions, to do things like eat or exercise, or to accompany them to functions et cetera," Rent A Gent added.
20 Guys Apply Each Week To Be A Gent During Festive Periods
So is Rent A Gent running a profitable business? Maybe, though it is a very small and very niche market - a fact that even Rent A Gent acknowledge. It does however charge a premium for its service - a male companion comes at a minimum of S$240 per hour, to upwards of S$6500 per day.
"Its decent and there's a market for it for sure, but its definitely very niche and not mainstream at all," Rent A Gent shared.
"Different women want men for different reasons, and we want to empower women to enjoy lifestyle that men have always had."
Of course, with the high premium, it does attract a lot of applicants who wants to be part of the service. This is because the company split half of the revenue with the Gent, the term the company use to call their male companions to their customers. Rent A Gent told Vulcan Post that there are probably 20 guys who apply each week during festive periods, much less so real customers.
"Most guys see our rates and think wah good money to date women," Rent A Gent shared. And because of the huge applicants pool, Rent A Gent is able to have a "good and varied pool" of Gents, whom are all screened personally by the team.
"I'd say 80 per cent of the applicants shoot themselves in the foot from the way they apply. So from this 20 per cent left we have a few questions we ask them and we select from there. To be honest, most applicants are deluded about their appeal - we get terrible substandard applicants, so the good ones really stand out," Rent A Gent told Vulcan Post.
"Our criteria for selection, focuses heavily on character. We are committed to ensuring women have the best possible experience money can buy."
Sexual Expectation? Nope.
Of course, the term escort has a sexual connotation that comes with it, and we asked if that's the case with Rent A Gent.
"It's probably fair to say we offer a bespoke service based on what our clients ask for. Almost none of our business comes with sexual expectation, most clients just want intellectual and warm companions, so for us we select holistically," Rent A Gent told Vulcan Post.
"We understand we operate in a sensitive industry with women. The founders are women, so our main focus is finding guys that can be true Gentleman regardless of how our clients appearance may be. Let's just say this is much more difficult than it sounds like simple acting."
"Our business is 100 per cent legal and compliant with all Singaporean laws."
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