No But For Real, You All Never Made Up A "Boyfriend" Before?

I was maybe 11 when I made up my first fake boyfriend Sam and it didn't stop there.
Publish date:
January 25, 2013
fake relationships, manti teo

By now, whether or not you know anything at all about college football you know the name Manti Te'o. He's the 21-year-old linebacker from Notre Dame who basically had a fake girlfriend who died but then didn't because if you're fake you can't die really. I'll spare you the crazy details, just read this Deadspin story that broke the Internet last week.

I can think of at least three reasons someone would make up a relationship:

  1. You want to be cool.
  2. You want to be cool.
  3. You want to be cool.

How do I know this? Because I was a chronic boyfriend-maker-upper starting at around 11 and continuing well into college. (To be clear Manti still maintains that he was duped and/or "catfished" when it comes to his made up main squeeze, Lennay Kekua. So I'm not going to pile on the speculation train that he concocted this elaborate Nicholas Sparks movie sub plot to gin up publicity. I'm just saying faking the funk on a nasty dunk ain't nothing new under the sun.)

My second year at Girl Scout camp in the mountains near Big Bear Lake in California was a tough one.

I was 11, and all the 13 year-old girls in my group seemed way older than me and generally more experienced in the ways of the world. I remember us getting into an argument about whether the Color Me Bad hit "I Wanna Sex You Up" made logistical sense. This one girl I shared a tent with demonstrated on a tent pole and my whole world was promptly blown to smithereens.

Anyway, everyone started trading stories of getting felt up, fingering and etc., so when the hot potato of convo landed in my lap all I could think to say was, "Well, my boyfriend Sam wants to wait to do all that stuff."

Sam was most certainly NOT my boyfriend. He was a 16-year-old family friend who "smoked up" and wanted to be a chef someday.

An older girl asked, "What the heck does a 16-year-old want with an 11-year-old?" And seeing as how I'd learned what getting sexed up actually looked like just seconds before I figured the best option was to keep lying.

"We have a lot of other stuff in common." We soooo didn't!

This was pre-everything so obviously Sam would never find out that he had been my boyfriend for a solid two weeks at Girl Scout camp and neither would the other young men who existed only to make me look cooler to girls I can't remember the names of now.

In junior high I dated two guys who "went to another school" (in my head). And in college instead of making the guys up completely I just heavily embellished a one-night hook up into a month-long "we're totally going out."

All these men popped up randomly when I needed to look less pathetic on a Saturday night ("Oh, I have plans with Whatshisbutt!") or as if I was actively participating in the social rite of passage ("My BOYFRIEND does the saaaame thing!").

Not until I got into an actual live relationship did I realize that the ones I made up in my head didn't hold a candle to the real thing. I'm also sure no one believed me back then but I needed those faux friends to feel less like a freak. I mean I didn't have a non-made-up boyfriend until I was maybe 19-years-old -- and he was a dick.

If "Saved By The Bell" and "California Dreams" taught me anything, it was that girls and guys got together and made it official starting in kindergarten. So what other recourse did a boyfriend-less girl have but the Land of Make Believe?

I'm just saying. Or was I the only one who concocted a tale of love in the time without camera phones just to seem normal?