Friday, August 08, 2008

On the Fake and the Real

So, FB is asleep still, and I am awake with my wee kitties and some lovely coffee. (Except FB just woke up to go to the bathroom and then went back to bed and stole away my wee-est kitty who's like his best friend or something, which I resent.) I feel like I should write an actual post, but before I launch in, I'm just going to be up front and say I'm not entirely sure how to write about this. So it may end up being utterly lame, or it may end up being great. It is hard to know.

The thing that I've been thinking about a lot over the course of seeing FB (intermittently) this week is the whole "fake" designator. See, that came about because he's never quite been an imaginary boyfriend (for I've had those, and typically they don't necessarily realize that you are a human being, let alone that they are having a relationship with you), nor, for any number of reasons but probably primary among them geographical, has he been a real boyfriend (although if he had I think we would have had a spectacularly horrifying break-up long before now).

As things go, we're most definitely friends (probably best friends, really), but lets just say that there are certain areas in which we cross certain lines that friends (even best friends) do not cross. And so, what exactly is this thing, I asked myself ages ago. It's not Friends with Benefits, because the whole "benefits" aspect of the thing so is not primary. What exactly are you when you talk to a person daily, know all their stuff, they know all your stuff, etc. etc., but you don't get to see each other regularly and, well, you're in totally different places ? And I decided, well, he must be my Fake Boyfriend, because he kind of seems like a boyfriend, only up close he's totally not. Kind of like a cubic zirconium ring kind of seems like a diamond, only up close it's not. It's still shiny, and it can still make you happy, but it's not, at the end of the day, a "real" gem. (This is kind of a mean comparison depending on how you feel about costume jewelry, but I'm going to go with it for now.)

I'll admit, a conversation I had with A.'s boyfriend who lives with-her and with whom she has a quite normal "real" relationship (M.) got me thinking about all this last week, before I saw FB. See, M. went on a lengthy drunken rant about how I "deserved" a "real" man who would "take care of" me. First, the feminist in me wanted to say, "I can take care of myself, thank you very much," though I didn't because I actually really like M. and I know his heart's in the right place. But also, well, I tried to explain to him how I've ended up in this particular fake relationship, and to explain that I'm not some sort of victim in the whole thing. (That's the thing that really irritates me when people assume that I'm victimized and that I'd necessarily want a more traditional set-up or that I'd even like FB as much as I do had we gotten together like normal people, which I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't.)

But so anyway, all of this has been rattling around in my head, and I'm not sure that I have any conclusions. But what has been so utterly shocking to me about seeing FB is how chill and normal it's been having him here and being with him in the same place. (This is shocking given the fact that I'm really kind of an ass about having dudes in my space, and the last time I saw him I was a bit of a weirdo about him being here.) We haven't done anything terribly interesting or exciting. We've just spent lots of time together, really. Like last night I made chicken parmigiana for dinner and we ate and had some wine and went for a walk around my neighborhood and I made him watch Mad Men and we talked and went to buy him a fan (aside: what is it with dudes and fans for sleeping? I know no girls who have this requirement). And I look at that, and god, what a totally "real" and "normal" and some might even say mundane sort of night. But it was great. And so I wonder about continually sticking FB in the "fake" box, when really, most of how things are with him now - after quite a long time, really - is not fake. It's real, and yet also just.... made confusing because it doesn't really look like what, say, A.'s relationship looks like, or like other relationships that my friends are in.

And then I think that maybe it's good that I stick him in the "fake" box because it takes a lot of pressure off, being in a "fake" relationship. It turns out that in a fake relationship the only people who matter are the people who are in it, and that's kind of awesome.

Eh, whatever. I'm sure I'll wig out in like the next two weeks and will no longer feel so chill and normal and that will, ironically, make me feel all normal and like I understand everything again. But it's nice having that FB here. And I kind of think I'd like to be with him in the same place all the time. I kind of think that we'd both like that a great deal. At least for a while :)

ETA: Oh! And I almost forgot! M-K was much more lovable (if not loving) when FB showed back up. He still looks at him suspiciously, but there was no hissing or growling, and he consented to be in the same room with us while we ate and watched TV. And now he's sleeping happily as can be in his usual spot that he sleeps in while I'm on the computer. In other words, I think all is well in the House of Crazy re: kitties and their enemies.

9 comments:

AcadeMama said...

Re: the fan thing...

I MUST have a fan to sleep!..Like, I'll go buy a fan and bring it to a hotel room. This is also the case for my mother, who's likely responsible for my condition, and my daughters. Because, you know, I just passed it down the line. It's a noise thing; the white noise of a fan is soothing and drowns out other small but obtrusive noises in the night (like the tick of a clock or a car door shutting outside on the street).

life_of_a_fool said...

I've been in a few Fake situations like this. I also think the relationships likely wouldn't have developed in the way they did through "normal" channels.

One thing I've decided -- and which I suppose they do have in common with "real" or "normal" relationships -- is that they just have to unfold and develop the way they're going to. Which isn't to say that the people involved don't have any efficacy, but you can't force any particular outcome.

And, I'm pretty sure I'm not making any sense, so I'll shut up. Enjoy your time with FB!

Dr. Crazy said...

Re the fan: Academama, I've heard all of these claims about the "white noise" and I figured there were probably some people of the female persuasion who liked the fan, too. What's weird about the guys for whom this is true in my life is that there seems to be no family passing down of the habit. It's like they hit puberty and all of a sudden they needed the fan. Like it came in some sort of kit or something, along with pornography and deodorant, at the age of 14 or so. I'll admit, I'm perhaps less sympathetic than I might be because I can fall asleep in nearly any circumstances, and once asleep, I am dead to the world. In other words, I've never needed the white noise or total silence for the sleeping to commence or to continue. For this reason, I try to be understanding, even though the concept of needing these things is foreign to me.

LoaF: That's so true about the not forcing an outcome thing, but weirdly I think it's difficult to get a handle on that fact in the fake thing, often because so many people are busy telling you how it's "not real." Things were so great with FB this time around I think because I was just sort of going with it (which is not my normal way). Ah, FB. He is grand, and yet a dufus. Hurrah! (Incidentally, he's gone again, for his mom had a doctor appt this afternoon that he had to be there for, and he leaves from closer to that location tomorrow. But a good time was had by all, and perhaps, now that he and my kitties have made their peace and he has a fan, he shall return before another year passes, though I doubt any of us should hold our breaths in anticipation of this :) )

k8 said...

Female and prefers a fan! It isn't just the white noise (although that is part of it). I feel like I breathe better when there is air circulation. I was told that this isn't uncommon for people with nasal allergy problems.

Dr. Crazy said...

Hmmm... Interesting, K8. I have wicked annoying allergies, but now that I've got central air, that helps a lot, and I have the Wal-Zyr and the Kroger-tin (obviously I'm a fan of the store-brand allergy medicine) to assist me in my allergy-fighting, so I'd never considered how a fan might be useful. Perhaps I shall try the fan on my own and see whether that makes a positive difference, even in addition to the meds and the air conditioning?

life_of_a_fool said...

But - it's "real," it's just different. And you're right -- what matters are the people in it. That said, I spend a lot of time torturing myself about such relationships, so. . .

Dr. Crazy said...

Oh, I hear you on the self-torture LoaF. At the moment I'm not doing this. Who knows whether this will remain consistent :) As for now, it's cool. And that is a pleasant surprise, as I hadn't really expected it to be.

physioprof said...

Things were so great with FB this time around I think because I was just sort of going with it (which is not my normal way).

Trying to fit all human relationships into archetypal categories--"boyfriend/girlfriend", "close friend", "husband/wife", etc--can be stifling. Some of the most rewarding relationships can be those that are simply allowed to be, and not categorized. It sounds like you are experiencing how lovely that can be.

Anastasia said...

dude, ph is so all about the fan. I laughed out loud when I read that because me, i do not need this. he, on the other hand, would have the thing going year round if I let him.