By Emma Whalen
Having an invisible boyfriend or girlfriend is nothing new.
There was always that one kid who claimed to have a girlfriend he met at summer camp. They were star-crossed lovers, and she lived out of state... And no one believed it for a second. (Think Napoleon Dynamite, carrying around the head shot of his girlfriend who just happens to go to a different school).
Or out on a Saturday night: Instead of dousing a pesky bar creep with your drink, you simply explain that you’re in a committed relationship and hope they leave you alone.
Invisibleboyfriend.com is a more high tech and expensive version of what we have been doing since the tempestuous days of middle school dances.
The Invisible Boyfriend website, along with its counterpart, Invisible Girlfriend, launched three weeks ago and has already gained significant media attention. The website allows subscribers to construct a profile of a virtual boyfriend or girlfriend and carry out conversations with them via text.
While some people may enjoy the cool factor that comes with a boy or girlfriend that no one will know, the creators also hope the service will help people avoid uncomfortable situations such as the one described by Founder Matthew Homann in an interview with a BetaBeat reporter. “[Imagine] you’ve got conservative grandparents in the Bible Belt who can’t believe you might be gay or lesbian,” Homann says. The texts and profiles will get nosy family members off your back. To make the process both efficient and believable, the responses are from a mix of automated and human sources.
My Invisible Boyfriend
For the purposes of this article, and the sake of my bank account, I elected to go for a free trial of the Invisible Boyfriend service. The regular $25 per month fee includes 50 text messages, 10 voicemails, and one postcard, but I could get 10 texts for free. I tried to take the limited texts into account when building my boyfriend. What kind of guy would I want to date if I knew it was doomed from the start? Who would be the most fun? If I only have a limited amount of time with this person, they’d better be worth showing off. So naturally, I was going to create the wealthiest, most lavish, boyfriend I could come up with. Go big or go home, if you will.
Step 1: Build your boy
Picking a name was arguably the most difficult step. Growing up in Massachusetts, I knew there was only one last name I could pick: Kennedy. The closest thing we’ll ever get to a royal family, dating a real Kennedy is a Massachusetts girl’s dream (not nearly appreciated enough by Taylor Swift, I might add). Finally I had it: Lucas Kennedy. Dreamy.
Next, I had to chose a photo, and I will say the collection was more “five dollar all-you-can-eat buffet” than “five course meal with expert wine pairing.” Then again, I guess I shouldn't expect much from stock photos.
I picked a fairly attractive gentleman who looked like the youngest in the smorgasbord of eligible bachelors. This of course, is excluding the one that looked like a 14-year-old hipster wannabe (bottom left corner). He was kind of like the salad bar at Pizza Hut — no one knows why it’s there, but you're not necessarily going to go through the effort to complain about it.
Finally, I had to come up with my new boyfriend’s personality traits and hobbies, as well as write a short description of how we met. Once again, I chose to focus on only the swankiest of activities and interests. I was going to live the high life with this guy, even if it was only a 10-text relationship.
Step 2: Text him
I entered my phone number, which activated my account. To my surprise, I immediately received a text. I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation and more importantly, at how embarrassingly giddy I felt. There was so much potential in these next 10 texts, and I had no idea what to expect.
I let the first text he sent me sit because it was late, and I wanted to plan my conversation well so I could get the most interesting answers. The next morning however, I woke up to another text! He texted me! I didn’t even think that was an option. I was sadly more excited than I should have been.
First things first, I wanted to test his knowledge of our relationship. I was hoping to illicit a failed reference to our first date, but he was too slick.
Again, I let the text sit for a while, seeing if he would text me first. You could call it “the thrill of the chase.”
Eight hours later and no such luck. This time, I prompted him to make plans, eager to see what he would come up with. I have to say I was surprised by how forward he was.
This time I wanted to see how he would respond to an unreasonable request. Would he get angry? Are virtual fights a part of the service to make your boyfriend more realistic?
I also wanted to see if he was true to the elite profile I created for him. Someone as well connected as Lucas Kennedy could surely get me what I wanted.
Once again, he charmed his way out of it. I need to find the manual these guys read.
Step 3: Say goodbye
I was running out of texts, so it was time to take it up a notch. Curious if he was the jet setter I wanted him to be, I threw a Vegas trip at him. To finish things off, I was going to suggest a spontaneous shot gun wedding. I needed to see him in crisis mode.
After 24 hours with no response, I came to realization that the 10 free text messages included my own. Just like that, he was gone. The whirlwind relationship ended as abruptly as it started – and suddenly I felt a just a tad bit of sympathy for the star-crossed lovers of summer camp.