The Steph Bowe Method of Inventing Fictional Babes

Sunday, November 3, 2013

If making up fictional boyfriends were an Olympic event, I would've done this country proud and won gold from the ages of twelve through to sixteen (I also had some fictional girlfriends saved up, but I never really had an opportunity to talk about them. They had short hair and cool piercings. Feel free to borrow them).

If you knew me as a young teenager, and I ever told you about any particular love interest, and you were not previously aware (which you should've been! I was a terrible liar!), this is a confession: no such boy existed. I was just trying to seem cooler than I was.

Here are some tips*, for those among you who are not particular involved in any romantic action (maybe just not interested) but need a fictional admirer/admiree (and there's a variety of reasons why one might, the most prominent of which is: peer pressure/other people's expectations. But we'll get back to that):

1. Keep it believable. No one would believe that I would attract the affections of a mega babe, and when you're in your early teens and trying to seem cooler than you actually are the desirability of the person in question is not even that important. It's just the fact that you have attracted the affections of someone! Wow!

2. They have to live somewhere far, far away. I visited family in Queensland almost yearly, often for several weeks at a time, back when I was Victorian kid. Queensland was full of potential suitors as far as my friends were concerned. Never mind the fact that I don't think I ever actually spent time with kids my own age in Queensland. Just sort of flopped around in the ocean, much like a seal, and then went and had a nap most days. See, Queensland was far enough away that no one would ever possibly be able to meet this individual, but not so far away as to make them entirely unbelievable.

3. Keep romantic successes and failures about level. Realistic tales of rejection lend authenticity. But, like, be really cool with everything. You are soooo mature.

4. Never let anything get too serious with any one fictitious love in particular. Because then people will expect to be able to meet them, eventually, or you'll at least have to produce a photo. When I was thirteen and fourteen, Facebook was not as widespread as it is now. I am at the end of the generation which was taught throughout our childhood that the internet was dangerous and rife with serial killers. Obviously we didn't learn out lesson, considering how all of everyone's personal details are neatly packaged up for potential thieves and kidnappers. So I never had to grapple with fake Facebook accounts. Or maybe every one of your pseudo-lovers is really mysterious and has no internet presence? I don't know whether your friends will believe that.

5. Have details fully thought-out before sharing, but do not share them all at once. Too much detail can make people think you're lying. Know the specifics, but only provide them when pressed. This is pretty much exactly like writing! You are the writer! Your friend is the reader! Your character is, um, the character! You don't spell it all out. Drip-feed information.

6. Try to remember these details. So that when someone says, "So have you spoken to Fictional Lover lately?" You don't say, "Who?" Because then people can tell that you're lying. Who am I kidding? Everyone knew I was lying. People humoured me a lot. (Using real people you vaguely know as models can be helpful - then you can remember what they look like. Of course if the person you are describing this character to also knows the Real Person, they might pick it.)

Oh, and of course: Your importance and worth and interestingness as a human being has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not you go out with people, or people want to go out with you. (I believe the lingo now is 'date' but when I was in primary school it was 'go out' and you were 'boyfriend-and-girlfriend' and you really drew out that 'friend' bit so sounded more like 'frannnn' so we're going to stick with that.)

Hopefully you don't feel compelled to make up fictional babes like I did. The expectation from other people that you will be involved in romantic relationships doesn't really die down once you get older, I've noticed. Your friends probably don't care as much as you think they do. If they are that invested, they're probably not particularly good friends. You don't need to go mental trying to impress people, trust me. People like me a lot better being my honest and dorky self than when I am trying to project this whole thing of being grown-up and cool. Or, at the very least, I'm more comfortable.

The perception that everyone is getting more action than you are is rubbish, more often than not (other people are possibly employing the Steph Bowe Method of Inventing Fictional Babes!), and even if it is the case, it doesn't mean you have to, or that you're missing out on anything (like, it's okay to be a teenager who is not crazy and hormone-driven, just as it's equally okay to be crazy and hormone-driven). You are awesome anyway. If you want romance to be a part of your life, it will be eventually! If you couldn't care less, that's totally okay!

In conclusion: Being a teenager is weird. 'Cool' is rubbish and so is 'normal'. You will survive.

*And by tips I mean: don't do this! I was incredibly silly, and it was all very unnecessary.
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground