By SAMANTHA GROSS
Meet the newest love of my life: Liam Joshua Kennedy. He is 23 years old, lives in Washington, D.C. and likes Netflix almost as much as I do. That right there should speak to our intense compatibility, but we also love reading, writing and traveling. We met at a party and, as they say, sparks flew. How else can I explain it, those soulful brown eyes stole my heart right then and there.
Oh, but there’s just one more thing about him: he is not real. I made him up, folks. It was as easy as clicking a button. Literally, all I had to do was click a button, and Liam Joshua Kennedy was born.
Confused? Let me explain. I found invisibleboyfriend.com, a website that lets you create an interactive fake boyfriend or girlfriend, and so I did. The site highlights its interactivity, and they are serious about it.
Once you sign up, you pick the name, age, location, personality and picture of your new significant partner. That fake person that you created then sends you a text. Or rather, a random person paid to pretend to be your significant other is texting you, but you would hardly know it.
I only tried the trial version, but, for a mere $25 a month you can receive texts, voicemails and even a hand-written post card from your new beau. All I got for signing up was a measly “hello” text, but it was pretty unnerving to respond to actually. I worried about finding that perfect balance between funny and casual, just like I would with a real romantic interest, and I even stressed about how long it was taking “Liam” to respond. This was before I realized that I only got one free text, so there was a solid three-hour period where I had to come to terms with the fact that my boyfriend creation had rejected me.
“Why do this?” you may ask. Well, have you ever felt mom’s stare bear down on you as she asks, yet again, whether you are dating anyone yet? Which is basically the same as saying, “Does anyone want to date you yet?” Or maybe all of your friends are in love, and they just do not care who knows it.
The person that you create is meant to convince people that you are desired and blissfully unavailable. However you think of it, this service is meant to protect people from the omnipresent feeling that you must be with someone. If you are not with someone, people think there is something wrong with you. You might even think that there is something wrong with you. The pressure that society puts on young people to be in relationship, lest you be seen as unattractive or lesser, is ridiculous. Instilling the idea that a person’s validation comes from other people makes it exceptionally difficult for anyone to find happiness or confidence on their own. Besides that, now is the time to embrace not having anyone depend on you, to move freely without having to think of others, to exercise your independence and sense of adventure.
This website, although novel and interesting, reflects the huge amount of social pressure that is put on people to be in relationships. Both its conception and success indicates a need for some kind of alleviation from this pressure. The fact that a business was created out of the desire to thoroughly convince people that you are happy or worthy of love is a sad reality of our culture.