The day I got a (imaginary) boyfriend my whole (online) world exploded. As an actor, creating characters is my bread and butter. I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised that my darling, completely fabricated “Joe” caused such a stir.
My last post, “I’ll Make Up a Biker Boyfriend If It Makes Life Easier” was Freshly Pressed. Every day Wordpress (my blog host!) selects 10 blog posts to feature on their home page. Says WordPress: “Freshly Pressed posts can be about anything, but they all have a few things in common: they enlighten us, inspire us, entertain us, and get us talking.” This is the “big break” of the blogosphere.
The day after I was featured, newyorkcliche.com received more views than it usually receives in an entire month. I’m still basking in a radiant glow of overwhelming and exciting. Thousands of people (can you believe it? Thousands!) read my words- it’s my blogging dream’s come true. Y’all left incredibly insightful comments which I vow to respond to (in the next day or so)! It is truly incredible to receive so much positive feedback. Thank you ever so much.
And then there was one, one in a thousand, for whom my words brought waves of dread, confusion, hopelessness and fear.
When I wrote about my imaginary biker boyfriend, I had no idea any of this would happen. I wrote it with no regard to whom would read it. I thought it was funny and would make an enjoyable read. Period. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider WordPress editors would read it. I did consider however, that the real, live, anything-but-imaginary dude I’m dating might read it. But that didn’t stop me from mentioning him outright- the fella seemingly interested in labeling himself my boyfriend. Yeah, he could read it, I thought to myself, but he probably won’t. And if he does, I didn’t say anything bad about him. I dismissed the idea without a second thought.
“Of course I read it,” he said not long after, “I mean…you used the word ‘boyfriend’ in the title, how could I not?”
“Attention grabbing title: check.” I replied, trying to ignore where this conversation was about to go.
“I dunno who this guy is suppose to be, but I’ma gonna fight him,” he said, adding a smiley emoticon at the end of the sentence.
My internal monologue churned: Does he know I was talking about him? Maybe he doesn’t! This is so awkward! Why didn’t I actually consider what it would be like if he read this? Me and my big blog! I wish I hadn’t written it- no that’s not true! I’m so glad I wrote it! I’ve always wanted to be Freshly Pressed! AH I’M CONFLICTED.
Betraying none of this, to him I said, “You’re going to fight my imaginary boyfriend?”
“No, not him, I don’t think I would win that one,” he responded. I smiled. I had made “Joe”, the epitome of biker badass, a formidable foe. “I mean the dude at the end, who ever it is, I think I stand a chance.”
I couldn’t help but imagine the Fight Club scenario, “Haha, that’s a fight I’d like to see,” I mused and quickly tried to change the subject.
He didn’t want to change the subject and pressed on,”I can safely say that you’re not making it up. The last part in that post.”
The last part of that post? This had been an attempt at denial- “Maybe he’s not [interested in being my boyfriend]! He hasn’t exactly said as much…I’m probably making it up!” I did not want to deal with the reality of the situation. I wasn’t ready. I was a coward. But now it was inevitable. I pulled a blanket up to my chin, a little girl seeking comfort, wanting to hide from decisions, feelings, and uncertainty. “That’s not safe! It’s scary!” I replied, my throat tightening. “We’re not having this conversation, are we? Warning: I might start crying. I feel strangely on the edge of tears right now.”
A strange cocktail of fear, anxiety and hormones brought the tears to my eyes. “Here’s a guy who likes you!” Said my brain to my heart, “He is a good guy! We’re trying to pick a good guy for ONCE! Why can’t you just make this easy? And you do like him, I know you do!”
“But I don’t know!” wailed my heart, “Do I like him enough? I’m not sure! Shouldn’t I be sure? And, and, I’m scared of getting vomited on again!”
“JUST HAVE A BABY!” Cackled my pre-menstral besieged uterus, “You know I’m going to attack you with mind-numbing cramps and hormonal rampages for as long as you deny me!”
“And did you see that gorgeous specimen of manhood we passed on 5th Avenue today?” giggled the area slightly below my uterus, “You’re gonna give up the chance you might kiss someone new tomorrow?”
After this ridiculous conversation between parts of my body, the conversation with the boy wasn’t so bad. Still, I really didn’t want to have it. But I knew he did. The reason I was avoiding it was fear, never a good reason. “How many times have you called yourself brave?” I asked myself, “You suck it up and you have this conversation, young lady! Dread, confusion, and fear, all those things you’re feeling now? He had all those feelings whilst reading that post you wrote. Karma, baby!”
And I was honest. I’m not ready to be a girlfriend. Maybe I will someday soon. Maybe I won’t. I did cry and he handled it perfectly supportive and understanding. No judgment, no coddling, no getting “weirded out”. We talked for over two hours. At the end nothing had changed on paper or Facebook status. We’re still just casually dating. Yet, things have changed. A level of trust like never before. Support. Ease in honesty. Hope- this could be something…special.
I just have to wait and see, and thus so must you, dear readers.