Ask a Grown Up: Can I Fake a Boyfriend?
Hello you young, broke and beautiful readers! Welcome our new weekly column, “Ask a Grown Up” in which you can ask and have your most burning questions answered by a grown up. I am Kate, the supposed “grownup” offering you advice – think of me like a crazy, tattooed, older sister who lives in the Midwest, or (if you prefer) like a hipster Dear Abby.
You may wonder why I have been put in charge of this column. The answer is simple, I was once like you: Young, broke and beautiful – trying to live fly on a dime, navigating work and relationships in the eternal Neverland of Sucka Free. I was able to live well on a shoestring and had lots of fun for about 10 years… until I wasn’t and the fun stopped. That is when I left SF for Chicago and everything changed: I turned 40, got married, bought a house and a car, became a parent and got my financial shit together. I am now closer to middle aged, am not quite as broke, still just as beautiful as I ever was… and I want to use all that I’ve learned in the last seven-to-ten years to help you live your life better. So send me your questions: email@example.com and I will answer them sincerely, albeit with a fair amount of smartass-ey-ness.
This week I asked for questions from my Facebook friends and followers for this inaugural column and picked the following one from B.B. in San Francisco:
“Hey Grown Up, is it wrong to fake a relationship — make up a boyfriend online — to keep your friends/family from thinking you’re a freak?”
I feel your pain, B.B. Honestly I do. Look, I didn’t get married until I was 40. And, had tons of awful, toxic relationships before then that turned me off to dating… especially in SF, the land of the perpetual Peter Pan and Wendy. And, the once single, ready-to-mingle 30-something who I remember being wants to say “Yes, do it, George Glass the fuck out of your friends and family so they’ll STFU about you finding a boyfriend.”
Have you met my boyfriend George Glass?
But, then the married grownup that I am today smacks that bitch across her face and says, “No! It’s not okay. You cannot and should not George Glass your friends and family.”
This time I’m going to go with my inner adult and say that you absolutely should NOT make up a fake boyfriend online to keep your friends/family from thinking you’re a freak. Here is the primary reason why:
You are not a freak.
Well, maybe you are. But, not because you don’t have a boyfriend.
There is a huge bullshit myth that our pop culture based society pushes on us via crappy rom-com movies and Nicholas Sparks novels. The myth is that people need to be part of a couple to be completely fulfilled. Especially women. And, that if we aren’t, that there is something less about us, something wrong, something freaky. Freaky in a bad way.
And, that’s a lie. There is nothing wrong with being alone and, in fact, if you -yourself- are not okay with being alone, there is something broken inside you that you need to look at and fix. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you cannot be happy in a relationship if you are desperate and/or not completely happy with yourself. And, the fear of being alone and uncoupled causes you to reek of desperation and indicates that you might not be your own biggest fan.
Being alone can be great and fulfilling, too. Some people go their whole lives without being permanently coupled or just dating casually and they are just as happy, blissful and well adjusted as any married person is. Look at John Cusack. Seriously, look at him… closely… mmmm. No, I digress. My point is: He’s not in a permanent relationship and his life rocks.
Look at John Cusack… really look at him. He’s single and happy.
There are lots of famous ladies who eschew coupledom, too… like Kristin Davis, who, ironically, played the marriage obsessed Charlotte York on Sex in the City:
Said Davis, “Little girls who say, ‘I want to get married’; I was never one of those little girls. It is not that I wouldn’t, but I don’t see that I must do it or be unhappy. I don’t know if I’ll ever get married. I’m perfectly happy [with] my single self.” [via PopSugar]
But, that is not really why it’s not okay to fake a boyfriend online for your friends/family: The real reason it’s not okay to do this is that it is never-ever-ever okay to lie to the people you love. Not to mention it’s time consuming and confusing to perform a self-Catfish, and unless you’re some kind of psychopath, you’ll quickly get caught in your lie, which will cause the people you love to lose trust in you. Which is bad. Take a lesson from Jan Brady, being caught faking a boyfriend in the proverbial “skule” of the online world will end badly and be embarrassing.
Truthfully, if your friends and family really care about you, they should accept your choices and be understanding of the romantic (or, lack thereof) situations life puts you in. You are not a freak. And, if people are treating you as such just because you don’t have a boyfriend, I would suggest reevaluating those relationships rather than pulling a George Glass.
Got a question you need a grown up to answer? Email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org and your question may be used for this column.
[Image of Eve Plumb as Jan Brady via Sitcoms Online]
[Image of John Cusack via Experience Film]