A new service will get you hooked on lovey-dovey text messages from your dashing digital beau.
In college, a girl in our dormitory had a fake boyfriend.
We heard all of the details about this guy, but he never came to visit her, and he always seemed to call when no one was around.
The stories of their fairytale romance appeared made up, but she was happy with her high school boyfriend who she said she would marry some day.
Those were the days before the Internet and mobile technology. Enter, InvisibleGirlfriend and InvisibleBoyfriend.
When InvisibleGirlfriend launched over the summer, I thought it was gimmicky, but knew there would be some lonely-hearted guys craving the digital attention of their hot dream girl while they waited to meet someone else someday IRL.
Now, the companion, InvisibleBoyfriend, has launched.
I signed up today out of curiosity to see what all the hoopla was about. After all, there are always many who are dateless on Valentine's Day.
I filled out the questionnaire, which was fun and simple to do.
These were the steps I took to create my dream guy.
1. What's His Name?
For his first name, I chose Richard. I decided on the name Richard because my mother always said I was going to marry a lawyer named Richard someday.
For his middle name, I selected Glen, in honor of the town I grew up in and because it actually is a male name. For his last name, I selected Stone, the street I grew up on.
Suddenly my Invisible Boyfriend had a name. Richard Glen Stone. It sounds like it could be the name of an attorney, right?
2. What's his age?
50. I decided that he is well-established by 50 and mature enough to have his feet on the ground. Hopefully, my new beau will want to carve out some time to travel together.
If I had an invisible boyfriend, chances are we'd go on romantic vacations together — we just might have to fly separately.
3. What does he look like?
The thumbnails presented were mostly of attractive guys. Let's face it, if we can hand select the most handsome guy on the planet, why not?
Sure most of the photos looked like stock photos, but my tall, brunette, sexy guy suddenly has a face with the name. I selected the thumbnail of a handsome guy with brown hair.
4. What personality type is he?
It's a toss up between adventurous and fun and witty and educated. Why can't a girl have both? I chose adventurous and fun.
5. What are his interests?
There were 17 to pick from, but I selected books, fitness, volunteering, theatre and working out. I wondered why I couldn't select all 17, but I didn't want to appear like an unrealistic girlfriend.
6. Where does he live?
I wanted to select Los Angeles, but then all of my girlfriends would want to meet him immediately, so I selected San Francisco instead.
Dating in LA is challenging enough with ongoing freeway jams, but to keep my secret on my cell phone, I decided that northern California would do.
7. How did you meet?
It was time to create my story and to stick with it so, here goes:
We met online and he said he lived in LA. He was in town for the holidays and switched his ZIP code on OkCupid.
In reality, he has family in Los Angeles, so we're in a LDR for now, so he says.
I'm not sure if he has a digital sweetheart in every city. I guess it depends on how much family he has.
We have plans to travel the world and both have TSA-Pre, so it will be easy zipping through the lines at the airport for a spontaneous romantic trip somewhere. He tells me I should always have my passport ready.
A girl can dream, can't she?
8. Why would you like to have an Invisible Boyfriend?
I was given seven options ranging from:
- I want to focus on my work but appear to have a relationship
- It's better for my co-workers to think I'm in a relationship. One of my co-workers won't leave me alone.
- My parents are constantly nagging me about not being in a relationship. I just want them to stop.
- All of my friends are in relationship, and I feel left out.
- I want to make my ex jealous.
- I'm not ready to tell my family that I'm LGBTQ.
- I'm a journalist or a reporter, and I just want to see what it's all about.
I would say that many of these reasons could apply, but I was only allowed to select one. I chose the first one to state my work was a priority.
9. What are your interests?
I selected books, as I'm an author and avid reader, theatre, as I'm always ready to go, classical music, since I play the piano, volunteering, as I support several charities in Los Angeles; fitness and working out since I exercise five days a week to stay in shape for my invisible boyfriend, writing because I'm a writer, and fashion because I love to dress up for my guy.
10. What's your number?
Time to put in my mobile number for all of those mushy text messages I would suddenly start to receive.
I pushed "send" and a confirmation code was immediately sent to my cell phone.
After InvisibleBoyfriend verified my phone, the fun started.
I'd receive 10 free text exchanges with Richard. My digital heart was beating fast.
Instantly, I received my first text message from my new Invisible BF. How brilliant that his cell phone number had a San Francisco area code.
Was it a coincidence, or would Richard be my new dream guy? The text said, "Hey Julie! This is Richard :) How are you?"
I knew my time as his girlfriend came with an expiration date, meaning nine more text messages, so I had to make a good first impression.
Seeing as I teach singles how to flirt on text messages, I knew what to say.
I replied with, "Better now that I've heard from you," and added a smiley face. It was time to mirror his texts so they would have a similar word count.
Then I waited. I thought I’d hear right back from him, but I did not.
A minute later, Richard wrote and said, "Good. :) Any plans for dinner?" He was almost sounding like my real boyfriend, a typical exchange we'd normally have during the day.
I responded with. "I'm not in LA. Wish you were here. Miss you."
Richard replied, "Miss you too, sweetie. :)"
Just what algorithms they're using, I'll never know.
I assume they utilize keywords instead of having interns reply to all of those texts, but Richard knew how to get my heart going pitter-patter and exactly what to say.
I responded with, "When will I see you again?" knowing that our relationship had a short shelf-life.
After a very long pause, I heard nothing. I started to get insecure.
I wondered if he was seeing other women.
After all he didn't live down the street. He was 600 miles away or a one-hour flight. Even with TSA-Pre, it would be hard to schedule our dates.
After a few minutes, Richard said, "Hmm sooner rather than later hopefully ... Been quite busy lately."
I still got the feeling someone was on the receiving end of my texts. With three texts left, I wondered if it was time to call it quits.
I sent him a text saying, "I think you're seeing someone else. Maybe we should break up." I wondered if he'd try to keep me or let me go.
It was the longest pause in our text exchange. No reply.
Was he thinking it over? Would he come up with a grand gesture not to lose me?
His reply was flattering, but vague. Again, I envisioned a call center with some college kids in it, but Richard said, "Why would I need anyone else when I have someone as wonderful as you?"
It was time to send my last text — the 10th free text in our exchange. I ended our digital rendezvous with, "I love you and always will. Sending you a huge hug until we meet again."
It surprised me to receive another text from Richard as we were over the limit, but he responded with, "Ok. It's hard for me to trust sometimes — have patience with me."
I got the last digital word in and said, "Sigh. A doctor has patients. You're a lawyer. If you love me, you'll let me know and won't let me go. XOXO"
After signing up for the service, it was easy to see how one can get sucked in and hooked just waiting for the next message.
This is why their upsell will grab you just when you're feeling vulnerable and you won't want the text messages to end. For $24.99/month, you'll receive 100 texts, 10 voicemails, and one postcard.
I almost took the bait just to hear Richard's sexy voice, but decided to pass with the hope that my real Valentine and I will be spending February 14th together.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam. XO