"Get paid $16 per hour to be my pretend girlfriend," reads the Craigslist ad. "No touching ever." The context is depressing, plain. But in other situations, some ladies could find this to be a profitable opportunity.
Here's the full posting:
My parents are coming to town and while here they will want to meet my girlfriend who I don't really have since I'm gay. Oh My. I need someone to play my girlfriend while they are in town. You will need to be quick on your feet, have a good sense of humor and the ability to roll with most conversations. They don't know much about you which will make this easier but they will expect you to be easy going and fun to be around. They will be in and out of town over the next few months so if you can pull this off, this could be a reoccuring role for you! You need to be cute, thin and between 25 and 35.I think someone in the Marketing/PR circle might be the perfect kind of candidate for this job. I live in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose and you'll need to be able to pop in or hang out and sometimes go to dinners and basically just have a good time. So the closer you live to San Jose the easier it will be on your travel time and the ability to just pop in. If you think you'd be interested in this please send me a recent photo, a description of yourself and please tell me why you'd like this job. Thanks, Ed
The tipster who sent us this ad correctly pointed out that it's kind of sad. While we are in no position to judge the poster's decision to conceal his sexuality from his parents, it is interesting that he feels the need to perform this concealment using a "cute, thin" beard. Whether the girlfriend is fake or not, the male gay or straight, it seems the perception still exists that a certain standard of beauty may ease the often-awkward meet-the-parents situation.
But looking beyond this situation, some women may see an opportunity. For a conventionally attractive, "easy going," somewhat unscrupulous woman with good acting skills, "pretend girlfriend" could be a whole new career — this job market isn't just limited to the likes of Dermot Mulroney. Being a "sugar baby" is so over anyway, and the era of the Splenda babe is nigh. A woman can make their own money, after all, and helping dudes play straight is far from her only potential gig. In fact, there all sorts of Pretend Girlfriend opportunities:
Making high school boys look cool.
Dorky tenth-graders, dump your "girlfriend in Canada" — and get a real fake girlfriend. Probably you'd want to adjust the age down slightly, but a college girl (think 18-21) would really up your social status. For just a little more than the price of a pizza, you could get a lovely, cash-strapped lady to hang out with your friends for an hour, pretend to like World of Warcraft, and talk about how you guys met when you were playing guitar with that awesome band you play in, at that club. Pretty soon all the junior girls will want you.
Breaking up with your real girlfriend.
For fans of the messy breakup, a pretend girlfriend is just the trick. The scene: you're in bed with your soon-to-be ex, when Pretend barges in, yelling that she knew there was someone else and asking how you could throw away your four years together. Then she tosses a (pretend) engagement ring on your bed and storms out. For this you can probably get away with paying just $8, plus the cost of the pretend ring.
Hiding your sordid past.
Maybe you've just gotten out of the slammer, like the guy in Buffalo 66. Or maybe you just spent the last few years doing something he now recognizes vaguely creepy, like direct e-mail marketing, or debunking the moon landing, or working for therapy. Pretend girlfriend erases all that! In the fervor of your love, you took off to build houses together in Africa, returning just in time for your high school reunion/family Thanksgiving/court date. Doctored photos, presumably, cost extra.
Lending a veneer of social acceptability.
Homosexuality isn't the only thing a pretend girlfriend can hide. Maybe you're poly, but your family is Mormon. Or your real girlfriend is the heavily tattooed frontwoman of the band Dolls & Cunts, but you've been invited to tea with the Provost. Or your significant other fails to meet socially accepted beauty standards, and you and/or everyone you know is shallow. Of course, if you go too far down this road, you might have to put your pretend girlfriend on permanent retainer. She might have to become your pretend wife! And then you can enter politics.