A 16-year-old who feels compelled to offer her companionship, though not her body, to earn money, a 26-year-old who sounds like a life coach – women shrug off the stigma of being girlfriends for hire, and the frequent requests for sex
Jo, a 16-year-old Hong Kong student, opened an Instagram account in May to supply her services as a part-time girlfriend. She’s trying to save HK$40,000 to purchase a clarinet, she says, and made HK$3,000 in her first month. Jo meets clients, aged between 25 and 35, about twice a week at nighttime and during weekends, when she’s not studying.
The phenomenon of part-time girlfriends – or PTGFs – for rent in part time jobs Hong Kong has blossomed on social media in recent months. They feature services including dining out to watching movies, but in addition the total gamut of sexual services, with dates costing between HK$100 and HK$4,000, depending on what’s on the agenda.
The trend made headlines a week ago when 10 Hong Kong women, including a secondary school pupil, were arrested on suspicion of advertising sexual services as part-time girlfriends on their Instagram and Facebook accounts.
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Like girls involved in a prior Hong Kong phenomenon, called “compensated dating”, there’s a cultural stigma attached with being fully a part-time girlfriend due to the widespread assumption that they are all designed for sex at a price.
Jo, who requests anonymity, says not absolutely all part-time girlfriends can sell their bodies. Although she’s met a man with a taste for sado-masochism, who paid her HK$2,000 to “beat” him, she insists there was no sex involved. “I won’t overstep my moral important thing,” she says.
Her clients usually take her to the cinema or meet up for a chat, Jo says. She states clearly on her Instagram account that anything sexual is completely off the menu. Even so, she receives frequent requests for casual hook-ups – “ML [make love], tell me the price” – which she flatly rejects.
“Many individuals [on Instagram] accuse me of being a prostitute, but I have discovered to show patience together,” she says.
Like many PTGFs, Jo comes from a working-class family. “Being truly a PTGF is a high-risk job, but you can earn a bundle in a short span,” she says. “I am compelled to be always a PTGF to earn money. I’ll quit once I make enough.”
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Jo admits to having concerns that first-time customers may make an effort to force themselves on her, given the stigma attached with the PTGF phenomenon, so she chats together privately before agreeing on a date, to be sure the person is a “good guy&rdquo ;.
She says most of her customers are introverted, or simply lonely and want some company. One had recently split up with his girlfriend and was buying a substitute companion.
Hanging out with customers doesn’t give her the impression of being in a connection, she says. “Love must certanly be long-lasting. We don’t discuss materialistic things or money whenever we have been in love.”
One client asked her to be his girlfriend, but she told him straight that the PTGF is simply a commodity and any relationship is ephemeral.
“I advised him to find a loyal girl who will spending some time with him for the rest of his life.”
Jo worries about her family and friends finding out what she does, especially her father, who is very traditional. “But I know how to protect myself,” she says.
Celine, 26, a PTGF and tutor at a language school, can also be harassed by men asking her for sex, but she always refuses requests for sex.
“Some people just ask directly, but I guide them to think differently, to think about whether they do desire me sexually,” she says.