Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Imaginary Boyfriends, Not Boyfriends, Fake Boyfriends, Real Boyfriends

So. I've been thinking about this post for a bit. Of late, it's occurred to me that I have various categories into which I separate these "boyfriend" figures that I've had, and I feel like these categories may be of use to others. So I thought to myself, "Self, what better way to disseminate this very important wisdom but through your blog?" Now, it's true that not everyone engages in the idiocy in which I engage, but it must be at least somewhat common. So yes. Here we are with the categories.

Imaginary Boyfriends
Crazy has always (and by always, I mean since puberty) been a fan of the imaginary boyfriend. One might also call this category the category of unrequited infatuation. This is the category that holds those boys whom one loves with a love that is pure and true, a love that inspires one to record in her sophomore year of high school planner the shirt that they wear each day, the category that holds those boys that are sweet and lovely but whom are never to be in real life. Generally, one imagines these boys. Who the hell knows if one loves them with a love that is pure and true for REAL. The fact of the matter is, one just imagines that they would be perfect, and since these imaginary boyfriends never materialize, one is never disappointed. It is my deeply held belief that one should always have at least one imaginary boyfriend hanging around, if only for the entertainment that speculation about the imaginary boyfriend provides, not only to oneself but also to one's inner circle of friends.

Not Boyfriends
The Not Boyfriend is another thing altogether. This relationship often masquerades as a "friends with benefits" sort of thing, but that's not, in fact, what it is. What it really is, in fact, is a relationship in which the dude trades on the supposed friendship to get all of the benefits of a "real" relationship with none of the obligations or expectations. In other words, it's the "I love you but I'm not in love with you" relationship. The "you're my best friend but I just can't be committed right now" relationship. So you're totally emotionally invested, and you have the sex, but you don't actually have a boyfriend. Readers of the old blog will remember Stupid Freud. He was totally my Not Boyfriend. Now, I think Not Boyfriends suck. Imaginary Boyfriends are better any day of the week. That said, every now and then a person ends up with a Not Boyfriend, in spite of herself. The important thing to remember is that the Not Boyfriend is NOT your friend, nor will he be a fixture in your life once you stop having sex. This is a fact.

Fake Boyfriends
This is a category I've only recently encountered. This is a category that encompasses those with whom one actually is friends - indeed, you will probably remain friends with this person - but there is a frisson of something that accompanies the friendship, and you talk for hours upon hours, and you're IN each others' lives AS IF you were in a relationship, but the fact is, YOU'RE NOT. Or, rather, you are, but you're not in a "real" romantic relationship. This is not to say that there are not benefits. But no treaties have been signed and no caucuses have been held. Ultimately, you ARE friends, but whatever else you're playing around with is probably in large part a projection. This then leads your girlfriend to rename the Fake Boyfriend in question "Pinocchio" as in he wishes he "were a real boy." Can the Fake Boyfriend become a real boy? Well, as I'm new to this category, I have no data to confirm or deny. That said, I suspect that the Fake Boyfriend is less malicious than the Not Boyfriend but no more dependable. I leave room to be corrected on this point.

Real Boyfriends
Dude, what the hell are those? But seriously, I HAVE had them. They've just been few and far between. I suppose the Real Boyfriend is not a projection. I suppose the Real Boyfriend is one who captures one's imagination while at the same time is actually a real part of one's life. He's not a friend with a frisson of something undefinable but rather a lover with whom one has a foundation of friendship - or with whom one develops a foundation of friendship. He's not your Ex-Boyfriend who tries to make marriage pacts with you, and he's not your friend who tries to talk about sex-related things with you. He's a person who is in it with you, a person who is on the same page as you, at least for the time that it takes to become, in 7th-grade parlance, boyfriend-girlfriend. Now I drive a hard bargain, and I think I've only had but two of these, really. All the rest have been Imaginary, Not, or Fake.


So some poor person (I imagine a girl of around the age of 13) found this blog recently with a google search looking for "what do boys like to talk about on the phone?". Given my experience with talking to boys on the phone, I did feel like I should respond. But then I thought, "Oh god, I feel like what I'd have to contribute will only scar the poor lass." But so. Whether a boy is Imaginary, Not, Fake, or Real really does determine what they will like to discuss on the phone.

Imaginary: Well, you just talk about what they're interested in or you manufacture things that you can talk about with them. For example, that IB whose daily shirt choices I recorded? I tended to talk to him about student council stuff, because he was in student government. I also finagled being on a group project in a class or two with him, which forced him to talk to me. I recommend if you are a fan of the IB that you become a person who writes for your school newspaper. That always served me well.

Not: To be quite honest, they'll talk about anything as long as you remain in their circle of lies. Just act as if you believe that they really are your friend, and listen to their shit, and talk about what matters to them. The Not Boyfriend is the consummate narcissist. He doesn't really care about you, so in order to engage him on the telephone all you need to do is to seem preoccupied with him.

Fake: Well, the FB is different. Apparently the FB does enjoy whatever one has to say about a variety of topics. Really, with the FB, one can say anything. The important thing to remember is that they're not one's RB, even though one can say anything to them.

Real: The RB wants to know about you and to tell you (honestly) about him. Sometimes this may be annoying, as he may tend to ask a lot of questions or to provide more info than you want about certain aspects of his own life, but the thing is, you will love him, and so you won't feel like you need to search on the internet to discover what he wants to talk about on the phone.

Oh, and all of these may talk about pervy sex things on the phone, and you should probably tell them to fuck off if they do :)


Miranda said...

You have totally nailed this one. I also like the separation you made between Fake and Real Boyfriends. At 20, I would have argued with it but now that I am older, I absolutely agree that if a boy isn't willing to be in your whole life, then he just isn't real.

Flavia said...

Dude, I'm down with this taxonomy. And I've only have two real boyfriends, too--one when I was 18 and then this possibly-ended, possibly-not current one. (Which is a downside sadly common to the Real, the Fake, and the Not: the wig-out.)

I'd add, though, that sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the Fake and the Not--or maybe it's better to say that sometimes one makes oneself believe that the Not is a Fake (which is to say, that he's genuinely a friend, and a nice guy, rather than a selfish jerk).

Not that I've ever had a "friend" like that, or anything. . .

Dr. Virago said...

I'm with Flavia on the fuzziness between Fake and Not. There's a certain someone in my life (although not so much lately), who was in my life for a very long time through various manifestations of our relationship, and though I would say he was mostly a Fake Boyfriend, there were times when he was jerky enough to be a Not Boyfriend. Actually, I'd say he started as a Fake Boyfriend, became a Not Boyfriend, and then, after the dust settled from that phase, eased back into Fake Boyfriend.

Or maybe Flavia's right that it's all about perception -- you want to believe he's a Fake, but he's really a Not.

adjunct whore said...

i think you're right about the "real" bf and i especially like the pervy sex talk comment....i wonder if it was ever possible to know this as a teenager. i doubt i could know.

life_of_a_fool said...

Ha! this is so true, and I agree with the others about the fuzzy distinction between the Not and the Fake.

Sisyphus said...

You forgot the Coin-Operated boy:

Kiranjyot said...

Happened upon your blog while looking for something totally different! ( a quote on imaginary circles actually! :D)

But have to say.... your categories just hit the nail on the head!
So true!