The other day I came across an article on the Daily Beast by Tauriq Moosa entitled “For $25, you can have an invisible girlfriend”. Being that I’m always curious about the latest in crazy “relationship schemes”, I had to check it out.
There was a time when people pretended they had partners when they didn't. One great example of that bygone era was the movie Picture Perfect (1997) with Jennifer Aniston. Jay Mohr, and Kevin Bacon. Jennifer Aniston plays a single, ambitious, advertising executive who is more concerned about advancing her career than being in a relationship. However, everyone is pressuring her to find a boyfriend, and even get married. Her boss, her colleagues, her mom. She wants
a billboard in the middle of Times Square, a commercial in the middle of the Academy Awards, and a 10 page layout in Vanity Fair. She claims that she likes being single, self-sufficient, and that that's her "nature". She even kids with her mom about having her "eggs frozen". When she attends the wedding of a friend of hers, she sits at a table with an eclectic group of people whom she doesn't know, because she doesn't "fit" at other tables full of couples and couples expecting. She bumps into the videographer of the wedding in front of the event hall, and he records her best wishes to the bride and groom. He chit chats with her a bit, and is so mesmerized by her that he forgets to turn off the camera when he's done. They part ways, and Kate (Aniston) goes back home.
Next thing, she is out on the town with her boss and colleagues, and her boss grills her about her "career path". Basically, he tells her that she will advance further in her career only if she marries, owns a home, and has kids. As we already know, the furthest thing from Kate's mind is matrimonial bliss. The reason why he wants her to marry is because he thinks it would tie her down more at her current job and reduce the chances of her leaving for a competitor taking his biggest clients with her. Her best friend Darcy suggests that she pretend the videographer that she met at the wedding is her boyfriend, and that they are getting married soon. Darcy has told her boss without her knowledge that she is engaged to Nick (the videographer). Kate finally bends to the idea and goes to Boston to ask Nick if he would play along with the charade. At one point before she heads for Boston, she tells Darcy about how her mother liked a lie over the truth she told her regarding where she had been the night before. That she had been with Nick, her pretend boyfriend, and not Sam, her casanova colleague. Darcy replies, "You're really getting the hang of it". Kate says "Well, it (the lying) gets easier once you realize that's what everybody wants you to do".
This was before there was the internet, online dating, and "virtual relationships". If "Invisible Boyfriend" had been available back then, perhaps it might have solved all her problems. But probably not. Kate gets into trouble with her scheme, even though she is able to come up with a "real" boyfriend for all to see.
Let's forget about all the issues Tauriq Moosa addresses regarding "Invisible Girlfriend/Boyfriend", like his concerns regarding the origins of user selfie submissions. My concern is the illusion of a "real" significant other that Invisible Girlfriend/Boyfriend creates. Invisible Boyfriend's tagline, for example, "Finally. A boyfriend your friends can believe in."
Scary. What else that is "made up" should we "believe" in? Ultimately, just as in the case of Jennifer Aniston in "Picture Perfect", the veracity of such a "highlight reel" relationship will come into question, and the "real person" will have to physically reveal himself/herself. Which begs the question, "How long will you be able to live life on your 'own' terms?"
My take on this? Live your life as you want to live it. Single and loving it? Great. Single because you don't want to settle with the wrong person? Good for you. Single because you don't feel ready to commit? Great. Single because you still have goals to achieve that you don't feel would be achievable if in a committed relationship? Go for it. But don't make up a personal life that is bound to unravel eventually anyway. Yes. Your personal life is no one else's business. Reveal what you want to reveal. Don't reveal what you don't want to. Lastly, don't be concerned about what others think. That's just weak and self destructive. Just be yourself and love it.
This post was originally published on the LetsBSocial Singles Community and Support Network Blog February 9, 2015.