This app lets you ‘Rent a boyfriend’ to cure your depression - Hindustan Times
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This app lets you ‘Rent a boyfriend’ to cure your depression

Hindustan Times, Delhi | ByKabir Bhandari
Aug 31, 2018 01:37 PM IST

Launched in August this year, the available ‘boyfriends’ are divide into three categories: Celebrity, Model and Aam-Aadmi.

If you’ve been cursing yourself for being single, here’s something to perk you up, albeit platonically. Check out Rent a Boy Friend (RABF), an app that claims to provide you with ‘friends’ on an hourly paid service. A brainchild of 29-year-old Kaushall Prakash from Mumbai, the premise of the ‘service’, however, will take you by surprise. According to the founder, the app is meant to help people with mental health issues such as depression.

According to the founder, the app is meant to help people with mental health issues such as depression.
According to the founder, the app is meant to help people with mental health issues such as depression.

Launched in August this year, Kaushall claims RABF is different from other ‘dating’ apps because it is a service for those suffering from depression. The available ‘boyfriends’ are divide into three categories: Celebrity, Model and Aam-Aadmi. And if you want to book a ‘boyfriend’, you would first need to create an account on the official RABF app and choose a location you’d want the meeting to be arranged. One of the certified Boy Friend for Rent include model Suraj Dahiya, winner of the 2018 Rubaroo Mr India.

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The app crashed due to the huge traffic it was getting, and the founders put out this message.
The app crashed due to the huge traffic it was getting, and the founders put out this message.

But how does the mental health narrative come into the picture? RABF developers claim the boyfriends will refer the clients to a team of psychiatrists if they show any signs of depression or any other mental health issues.

Independent psychiatrists, however, scoff at the idea of trivializing a serious issue such as depression and mental health.

“Assuming that a man or woman feels immense loneliness or sadness due to the lack of a companion, then he or she will get on this app in the hopes of soliciting or buying their time, on an hourly basis, with a person they view as a potential partner . However, since the app doesn’t allow for romantic intimacy, this entire ‘deal’, in the eye of the app user, turns out to be a fabricated lie. It is based on a false premise and is using misdirection. I truly hope that this real life ‘experiment’ that this app is going to be playing out, doesn’t lead to more issues in the lives of the users who opt for the services being provided by this app,” says Divya Dureja, a Delhi based psychologist.

However, the claims of it being purely for friendship could be contested, since the logo is that of a cupid with his bow, and the website being adorned with roses and hearts.

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