From the Daily Beast:
“Finally. A girlfriend your friends can believe in.”
So says the tagline of Invisible Girlfriend, a beta online service that creates the illusion of a partner. For $24.99, you get texts, voicemails, even a hand-written note from your imaginary partner as ‘proof’ you are in a real relationship.
I visited the website’s FAQ looking for more information, but I left with more questions than I did answers. They say that their service offers virtual and physical proof you have a real partner, but the service itself only offers text messages, photos and voicemails. There’s no mention of any kind of social media profile (e.g. Facebook) except vague plans to introduce such things in the future.
Invisible Girlfriend (and Invisible Boyfriend) claims to supply credible proof that you are in a relationship, except that proof seems to involve you waving your phone at people and saying: ‘See? Here’s my girlfriend! A stock photo and some texts!” I suspect they are running into what a lot of fake relationship services have run into in the past: creating fake Facebook profiles is against Facebook’s ToS and if you’re doing it for profit, I’d suspect you’d run the risk of legal troubles.
Somewhat like the Cuddlr app, I can’t tell how serious of a venture this is or what kind of demand there would be for it. They claim their service has uses such as gay users remaining closeted from their conservative relatives or repelling the advances of unwanted coworkers or (more odiously) to make significant others jealous and pressuring them to commit to a more serious relationship. What it skirts around entirely is a sizable number of users who would be inclined to use it solely because they feel like pathetic single losers and they want to impress their real-life friends or (especially, I reckon) to make exes jealous.
I suppose it’s a testament to how ubiquitous our online selves have become that we’d pay a company money to create a fictitious story for ourselves that our friends and family will follow in cyberspace. I’m curious as to what these people do when they are pressed to produce their actual partner for a real-life gathering.
As written on the blog portion of their site:
“Around Thanksgiving, my mom called me and asked if she should set an extra place for someone I’m bringing,” (co-founder) Matt (Homann) recalls. “In that moment I realized how great it would be to have an answer for her that didn’t require me to actually be dating someone.”
To be honest, I’m not sure I’m following this… So your mom wants to know if you’re bringing your girlfriend for Thanksgiving. You pay Invisible Girlfriend $24.99/month to send you texts pretending to be your girlfriend… but you don’t actually have a girlfriend to bring to mom’s… so you tell your mom you totally have a girlfriend, but she can’t come over because of whatever reason… and just so mom is reassured, you are going to show her stock photos and texts from your phone to show her she’s totally real.
Riiiiiight. I suppose you can hire an escort for that part of things… which would leave paying for the texts and (the now useless) photos redundant.
That’s it. I’m confused.
This ultimately does nobody any good. There is not a single, solitary problem with being single. I’ve been single for almost two years now, with the occasional short-term casual sex partner every so often. What my relationship status is is no one’s business but my own. Sure, my mom frets about it. But that’s her problem, not mine and she knows it.
I understand the pain and loneliness that comes with being involuntarily single. But creating a fictitious backstory is not doing you any favours. Lying about your status will only make things infinitely more complicated, not less.