Need a friend? Rent one in Japan

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We may be digitally connected to our friends, through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like, but sometimes it's nice and necessary to hang out with people in the flesh.

That's where Office Agents apparently sees an opening for a business.

Office Agents, a company in Tokyo, Japan, will rent out a fake friend, relative or work colleague to anyone who needs one.

The idea goes like this: Maybe you're going to your high school reunion and don't have a significant other to take, or perhaps you have a big investor coming to your company, and you want it to seem -- well, bigger and more staffed than it actually is. Or perhaps a loved one's funeral isn't going to be very populated, and you'd like it to seem like your great aunt Mildred had more friends than she really did.

Frankly, the more I think of examples of why you might want a fake friend, the more pathetic this sounds. Although, I guess there are some instances where it may not be entirely pathetic to hire a fake friend. You attend a wedding in a city that you've never been to. You only know the groom and bride. You don't want to show up alone...
No, even that sounds pathetic. You can't make new friends while you're attending the wedding? You can't own up to the fact that you wound up coming alone? Sometimes life is uncomfortable. Why can't we accept that rather than always look for a way around that?

But I give the company credit for coming up with a pretty ingenious way to make a living. According to The Daily Telegraph, one of England's biggest papers, Office Agents charges 127 pounds ($209 dollars, or 20,000 yen) to hire a fake friend to attend a wedding.

But if that friend is going to make a speech at the wedding, it'll cost another 64 pounds ($105), and if you want them go on the dance floor with you, that's going run $52.

I'm just glad that this company and its concept haven't been around longer. For years, asking your pal to pretend to be someone they weren't in order to impress or fool somebody else was an extremely popular plot on sitcoms.

For instance, on Three's Company, Jack, Janet and Chrissy were always asking the other to pretend to be someone else. If they could have instead hired a fake boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/etc, the classic comedy, one of my favorite guilty pleasures, probably would have only lasted a handful of episodes.
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