So Am I The Only Person Who Fake-Dates Celebrities in Her Head?

I am probably way too old to be fantasizing about the great debates Andrew Garfield and I would have about Prop 8, right?
Publish date:
August 19, 2013

I have a bit of a daydreaming problem these days.

OK, it's maybe not a problem, per se, but it is getting a little out of hand. Because they're not just your run-of-the-mill, Liz Lemon-style, "Here's what I'd say to BUST in the alternate universe where I'm an indie comedian and everyone feeds me tortilla chips," kind of thing that most people I know use to lull themselves to sleep at night.

This is actually a little awkward to confess, and I'm only talking about it because apparently all of my super-dorky friends are prone to it, too. You know those intricate fantasies that girls have when they're maybe 13 or so that involve bumping into your celebrity crush and then charming them into holding your hand at the movies? I, uh. Evidently never grew out of that.

I know it's not all that uncommon to fantasize, in a sexy way, about someone whose butt you want to palm being taken in by all the lumps and weird bits you've spent decades coming to terms with. But I've realized recently that my daydreams have been going a little farther than one's standard "Notting Hill" celebrity meet-cute-and-touch-each-other.

Last week, for example, I was walking home from the train station thinking about how my imminent move to Chicago will open up a lot of opportunities to befriend hockey players (since, you know, living in the same city as someone automatically guarantees you a personal relationship with them). This quickly devolved into an elaborate plan, spanning hypothetical months, about how exactly to convince an athlete that we had enough in common to go on wacky adventures together and then maybe make out and fall in love.

Highly embarrassing, yes. And it didn't stop there.

What if, I thought, after the athlete in question and I decided that we could overcome my highly suspect haircut and his refusal to watch "Orange is the New Black," he then got traded to another city? Would I be able to give up my burgeoning career? Could we make it work in a long-distance situation?

Ugh, I thought, legitimately becoming furious. How dare this guy? Typical dudebro, assuming that just because he made more money than I did, he could dictate the bounds of our relationship! I thought we'd really reached a compromise, but I wasn't sure whether I could sacrifice the life I'd set out for myself just for the sake of a truly magnificent pair of biceps.

"I love you. You know I love you. But I really don't know if I can do this in the long term," I said. Aloud. On a street corner. In downtown Oakland.

The dude in a suit next to me gave me a weird look. Somewhat belatedly, I held my phone to my ear.

"So, uh, I'll talk to you later, Mom," I said, then smiled at him. He did not smile back.

This is not the first time this has happened. A friend of mine once said he'd seen me on a sidewalk singing along to my iPod as he passed by on a bus, when in reality I'd been earnestly mumbling about the best places to split a milkshake while you're in the city, Senator Clinton.

Half the time, I don't even end up banging the person in question! It just ends with me and Emma Stone promising to text each other or Michelle Rodriguez offering to take me to a boxing gym and then never following up on it. I think that might be the weirdest part of all, actually -- the fact that even in my fantasy life, things hardly ever end all that happily.

There's also the point that in reality, I'm neither all that interested in serious relationships nor celebrity news. When I'm bored or tired or sad, though, I automatically default these days to imagining watching "Clueless" on my couch with Michael B. Jordan.

I am a grown-ass woman. I'm pretty sure beating myself at mental games of Dream Phone (Minor Celebrity Edition) isn't exactly something to be proud of.

In fact, I probably wouldn't be talking about it at all, except that I recently 'fessed up about the habit to a few friends who apparently do the same thing, unhappy endings and all. The famous people and circumstances vary, of course -- one friend took a full half hour explaining the vagaries of her Garth Brooks strip club dreamboat tour, which ended in minor tragedy when they fought about proper tip percentages -- but the inclination to craft elaborate romantic storylines about people we'd never or barely met stayed consistent.

All of these people are strong, independent women with demanding jobs and busy schedules. We tend to stress about whether we're committing too much or too little to our dating habits, since that whole "Women can't have Feelings AND a career!" narrative is more pervasive for some of us than we'd like to admit. Maybe this is our way of taking back a little control in our personal lives: a safe, no-pressure set of daydreams that will never require us to make hard decisions or real, out-of-skull personal compromises.

It's no use thinking about people we could realistically meet -- then those circumstances might deviate disappointingly from our mental soap operas. Instead, the effect of crafting just how me and Lucy Liu would spend our spa day together feels like a warm blanket for my brain. Even if, like said security blanket, it's probably a little more typically used by people who aren't old enough to be responsible for paying their own rent.

So how about you guys? Is trying to write self-insert fan fiction as an adult solely the purview of my weirdo friends and me, or do you all indulge, too? If so, which celebrities? BE HONEST.

Kate sometimes rambles about celebrities on Twitter, too, but usually not quite so effusively: @katchatters