Technology Strikes Again!
Great news on the technology front! For those of us who are insufficiently beautiful to make it into Beautiful People, there is a Plan B.
A new service, known as FakeGirlfriend allows you to pretend you have a girlfriend even if you don’t. There are also fake boyfriend services available.
Here’s how it works. You create a contact for your “Girlfriend” on your cell phone and where you would put in a phone number for a real person, you put in the FakeGirlfriend phone number that appears on their web site. That’s it.
Then, when you are out with your friends and for some reason decide that you want to demonstrate that you have a significant other, you send a text to your “girlfriend” and “she” sends back a loving text to you! Or as the FakeGirlfriend web site puts it, you get a “girlfriend-esque” message.
As you know, I’m always on the lookout for new ways in which technology is improving our lives. Admittedly, I’ve fallen behind in scouting the technosphere for new and exciting technology solutions to life’s pressing problems since Angry Birds came along. But FakeGirlfriend demands our attention.
First of all, let’s look at the philosophy behind FakeGirlfriend. Based on the website, this app is designed for people who have actual friends in the real world but feel like losers among those friends because they don’t have “girlfriends.” FakeGirlfriend’s objective is to make those friends think that the user has a girlfriend.
I guess that the idea that you can maintain the fiction of a fake girlfriend by showing text messages to your friends is plausible in a social networking world of virtual relationships. But FakeGirlfriend is designed to work in the real world and that’s where I’m confused. What does it say about how we are supposed to interact with our friends.
Worse, if the idea behind FakeGirlfriend catches on, the underlying premise of most sitcoms and Hollywood romantic comedies will have suddenly been rendered null and void because there won’t be any more need for stories about blind dates and people looking for Mr/Ms Right.
Here’s the scenario I picture. Everyone is out for the evening. It may be a group of guys or mixed couples and singles. One guy feels like a loser because he is a single person. So he ostentatiously whips out his phone and says, “Hmmm, I wonder how my hot girlfriend is doing.” He covertly calls FakeGirlfriend. Moments later, his ringtone (which is probably the Star Wars theme) tells him that he has a text message. With exaggerated coolness he studies the message and says, “Oh, isn’t that sweet. She misses me.” And then, presumably, he shows the text to his friends. Because otherwise they might get suspicious. And presumably they all say, “Oh. You are so lucky to have a girlfriend like that.” And life is good again.
Am I missing something here? Is it just me or is there something needy and
desperate about the whole process?
And more importantly, wouldn’t a potential user of the service say, “Who’s that supposed to fool?” I know that excessive playing of video games can impair the development of the frontal cortex which controls executive functions and the ability to link cause and effect. But let’s face it, everyone knows that eventually someone is going to ask, “Why didn’t your girlfriend come tonight?” Or “Why don’t you bring her tomorrow?” Or, very possibly, “If she’s so great, how come you’re hanging around with us?”
The whole idea of a fictional girlfriend sounds like way too much trouble. Wouldn’t it be easier to put down the cell phone and find a real girlfriend rather than expend the energy to come up with excuses as to why the fake girlfriend is never around? Not only that, maybe one of your friends has someone they want to introduce you to but they figure there’s no point because you are smitten by this woman who sends you loving text messages. Assuming you still do have friends if you make a point of showing them “girlfriend-esque” text messages all the time.
Let’s assume that because of my general inability to “get it” when it comes to technology, there is another dimension to FakeGirlfriend that I haven’t been able to figure out. Maybe in the world of people who have grown up with Tamagotchis the idea doesn’t sound so crazy. But the next time a friend shows me a text message from his absent but excruciatingly hot girlfriend, I’m going to demand some corpus delicti.