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My Fake

My Fake


Sometimes a make-believe relationship is better than the real thing.

I knew my new boyfriend was fake right from the start. It was obvious: He had unbelievably sexy pictures, a modeling career, obscenely rich parents, an Ivy League education, and a brand-new record deal at a Big Label -- all at the age of 26. OK, maybe I could buy all that. But add the fact that he wanted to be with me and it was too good to be true.

Our romance began with an online message. He said something snarky. I said I liked his moxie. My jaw dropped at his too-hot-to-be-real JPEGs. Our one-liners continued as he sent a wide-enough range of pictures to convince me he was an actual person. Not that it mattered, with him in New York and me in Los Angeles.

HIM: This sucks, let's talk on the phone.

ME: If you mean phone sex, not my thing.

HIM: Don't be retarded.

He had me at retarded. He was charming, funny, and had a sexy voice and impressive vocabulary. I lay in bed and we talked for the next three hours. His name was Josh Alexander.* (*not his real name) (**not that he used his real name)

Josh spent seven years traveling the world as a fashion model. He'd invested his earnings well, and with his inheritance he was set for life. He had a knack for songwriting and sometimes performed at friends' parties. That's where he was discovered by a music exec from Big Label, which was throwing tons of money behind him and his debut album. In fact, Big Label's chairman was personally grooming him to be a rock star.

He enjoyed the fuss but ultimately didn't give a shit about fame or the music business. His real dream was to open a Cuban-style catering company in Northern California. He wanted kids, a house, a giant kitchen, and me.

When we finally hung up, I was buzzing with that incredible high you can only get from a really good conversation. I smiled and thought, He's totally fake.

The next day we chatted for two more hours. It became a nightly ritual. Over the next two months we shared every detail of our lives, the exciting to the mundane. His stories ranged from his first runway job when he had no idea what the hell he was doing (as Giorgio Armani himself stitched him into a suit) to the time LL Cool J propositioned him in Paris. I knew how his parents met, about his father's affair, his immigrant grandfather who built their fortune from nothing. I knew about his childhood, his brothers, and each of his ex-boyfriends. I knew more about Josh than most of my friends.

I decided, as long I didn't spend money and wasn't turning down actual dates, I had nothing to lose. When I'd tell him he was fake, he'd laugh and list attributes that made me seem too good to be true. I told you he was charming. Sometimes I'd ask random questions to test him. He always gave an impromptu but riveting answer. Then he'd bust me: "There, now do you think I'm real?"

One night he announced, "Guess who you're having dinner with in three weeks?" Josh was finally coming to L.A.! A week later he stopped calling and his online profile disappeared.

I called and e-mailed repeatedly. No response. I thought our finale would be more dramatic. Maybe I'd find proof he was fake or we'd have a disastrous first date. But he simply vanished. When a friend randomly mentions he's buddies with the founder of Big Label, I tell him my story and he offers to look into it. Turns out there is indeed a Josh Alexander, some guy in Florida who once submitted a demo to them. That's it.

My friend suggests that Josh Alexander isn't my fake boyfriend in New York. My fake boyfriend is likely someone who's obsessed with Josh Alexander, because psychotic con artists tend to appropriate other people's identities. And now that he knows all about my life, there's a distinct possibility he's pretending to be me with someone else.

It's crazy, but despite the big fat lie part, my connection with my fake boyfriend still feels more substantial than most of my real relationships. Maybe it's because I gave him chances that are hard to give when you're looking someone in the eye. Maybe I finally heard the things I wanted someone to say. Or maybe I'm just into psychopaths, because, sad as it is, if my fake boyfriend called, I'd probably take him back.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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