- Agencies set up dates for both sexes – visitors, the lonely, and people too busy to set up dates one to one – with prices starting at US$58 for two hours
- Some ban all physical contact between couples, but agency bosses admit male clients sometimes look for more than a platonic date
In many Asian cities, where the cost of living is high and careers often come first, it’s hard for people to find a partner. Online dating has become accepted, but new solutions to the rising number of lonely singles have emerged.
In Singapore, men and even some women are choosing to rent a date instead of looking for long-term love.
This isn’t prostitution, which has long been legal in Singapore. The businesses offering dates for rent go out of their way to ensure their services are squeaky clean – some agencies ban physical contact and encourage their girls to call management if anything goes awry.
Singaporean agencies such as Maybe.sg and SG VIP Escorts provide what is described as the “girlfriend experience”, but the owner of one of the companies says some clients do expect more than just a platonic date.
Maybe.sg provides male and female dates, with its prices ranging from S$80 (US$58) to S$380 for a minimum of two hours. The site’s members specify the age groups they will go on dates with – almost without exception people in their 20s – and suggest the kinds of outings they enjoy, with innocent activities such as escape games, karaoke and cafe hopping especially popular.
The company founder, a twenty-something who wishes to be known only as Sora, says he realised there was a demand for the service when his friends complained about not being able to meet potential dates ....