Welcome back to Your Imaginary Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Jezebel's new series in which we explore the wild and entirely fabricated world of dating a famous person. As is the risk with most fan fiction, things might get weird and things might get creepy, but the important thing is that we all have a good time.
This week, it's a Thanksgiving special and your imaginary boyfriend is Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
"So you remember what we discussed?"
You risk taking your eyes off the road for a moment to look at your boyfriend. He's not looking back at you. He's not even listening. Instead he's bobbing his head and shimmying his shoulders to a song that only he can hear.
"Joseph Gordon-Levitt," you say, this time more firmly. He briefly glances at you, smirks, then goes back to his boneless dancing.
"Please listen to me, Joseph Gordon-Levitt."
You're tired. It was a long flight to the airport closest to your hometown and now you have to drive 2-hours through a freak Thanksgiving snow storm to get to your parents' house. When you asked your boyfriend Joseph Gordon-Levitt to share driving responsibilities, he responded with a lopsided smile. "Sorry," he said. "I can only drive a Vespa or a tandem bicycle."
The road is icy and you're barely driving 20 miles-per-hour down the highway.
"Do you remember what we talked about on the plane?"
Oh, great. He's talking in French again.
"How I asked you to not do any flips in the house? Mom and dad won't like it."
"Je suis un acrobate. Je vole sur le trapèze."
"Jesus fucking Christ," you mutter to yourself.
This is going to be a long weekend. Your parents are over the moon that you're bringing someone back with you from Los Angeles. It's the first time you've ever invited anyone home because, until now, no one has seemed worth it. But then you met Joseph Gordon-Levitt one night at a doll museum/absinthe bar and suddenly you were falling falling falling in love with this dark-haired boy, this human ukulele, and you knew, regardless of how he wouldn't shut up about his Russian circus friends or the importance of non musical sounds, that he was it, the be-all end-all.
Of course, things weren't perfect, but nothing ever is. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets on your nerves all the time — he's constantly tap dancing or trying on vests or insisting that he sounds exactly like Louis Armstrong when he sings. Once, you came home to find your living room furniture replaced by hay bales. "Practical art," he had said. There have been several times where you've almost broken up with him but somehow he always distracts you by getting you to dance to Hall & Oates or surprising you with a childlike painting of your face on a lion's head.
You're interrupted from your thoughts by a loud and airy tone.
"Oh. You packed your melodica."
He waggles his dark eyebrows at you before playing a few more notes. He's back to dancing again and even unclips his seatbelt to allow for more movement.
"So no flips or handsprings or cartwheels in the house, yeah?" You might as well try one more time.
"Non, je ne regrette rien!" he shouts, before launching into a melodica version of Carole King's "Natural Woman."
He's not even making sense anymore, but there is no point in getting stressed out about it. He is who he is and has never presented himself as anything different.
The music stops suddenly.
"They know that I won't tell any Lithgow stories, right? I won't speak of him."
You hazard a glance at Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face and notice that he's talking to himself more than he's talking to you. Still, you reach over and squeeze his hand.
"They know, baby."
You've warned your parents ahead of time not to ask about 3rd Rock from the Sun, no matter how badly they may want to.
"It's just —" he says, looking out the window at the frozen farm fields. "It's just not who I am anymore."
"Of course not."
"I can't be Tommy to everybody all the time."
You look at him again and see that he's crying.
"No one expects you to be," you say. It's true — no one — absolutely no one — expects him to be Tommy from 3rd Rock anymore.
He exhales a shaky sigh and smiles.
"Non, je ne regrette rien," he repeats, laughingly.
"Sure, yeah. Non, je ne regrette rien."
You go back to concentrating on the road and he goes back to dancing his silent dance as you inch closer and closer to your parents' house. You're a strange pair, the two of you, but it is what it is and you regret nothing.