By Kabir Bhandar
Mumbai: 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.
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.
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.
“While this app could be a unique initiative, I seek answers to three questions. Is it really equipped to fight ‘depression’, which mind you, is very different from sadness? Why does the app distinguish between hot men and average looking men? If the idea is to have someone to talk to, then how does it matter how the dude looks?” asks 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.
By Kabir Bhandar