When I first heard about the Notre Dame
football player with the imaginary girlfriend I thought, "He just
got busted for something my circle of friends (and myself) did on a
regular basis throughout high school."
That something being creating a
girlfriend that doesn't exist. It's easier today thanks to the
Internet, but that means it's also easier to get caught.
For those who simply pay no attention
to sports whatsoever, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo (50 percent
chance I spelled that right) had an exclusively online relationship
with a girl in another state for THREE YEARS only to find out she
How he could go three years and not
know she didn't exist has been the subject of a lot (a LOT) of
debate, but he claims he wasn't in on it and was just as shocked as
everybody else. Some say that's a big crock and he used the
imaginary girl's imaginary death last September as a way to gain
emotional points in his quest for a Heisman Trophy.
I'm sure all that will eventually
come out in the wash. We're here today to talk about the
time-honored tradition of having a girlfriend in another
town/state/country (yes, country).
When I was in high school, the biggest
thing aside from the discovery of fire was having a girl actually
notice you were alive. At my social level (a shovel for heavy digging
was required to reach that level), girls, of any kind, did not notice
you. It had nothing to do with their looks or social standing. They
just simply did not know you existed.
At first, around freshman year, you
live with it and even make jokes about your loser self, most of which
can't be printed here. But somewhere along the line, toward the of
sophomore year, and especially in your junior year, it begins to eat
The problem starts when somebody, maybe
in your social circle maybe in another low-level circle, somehow
manages to acquire one of those mysterious creatures known as a
You don't know how he did it, but he
did and it makes you mad, mainly because he now acts like he's
quarterbacking the football team and dating the head cheerleader.
What to do? Well, you could put your
best efforts into getting your own girlfriend, but that would lead to
a lot of humiliation and you get enough of that simply by being a
No, the only obvious solution is to
make up a girlfriend. The safest way to do this is make sure she
lives in another state, just far enough away to make sure no one can
check out your claim. Remember, this was (way) pre-Internet, so the
only way to check it out would be to drive to the other state. This
would be impossible because in addition to being invisible to the
fairer sex, we also were without a car.
Most of us chose Kentucky, as both the
Georgia and North Carolina borders were too close to Monroe County.
Occasionally a braver soul would declare he had a girlfriend in
Madisonville and we'd all scramble for the phone book to check
When we couldn't find a name, he'd
say she was only in Madisonville during the summer when she visited
her grandparents, who had a different last name. When we demanded to
know their last name, he'd say he didn't know what their name was
because, "I ain't dating them, you morons!"
To pull this off, you had to act
extremely arrogant about your girlfriend, and you definitely had to
claim she was hotter than anything Sweetwater High School had ever
seen, even though the "non-hot girls" in that school routinely
laughed at us.
The name was also important. One kid,
every time he mentioned his Kentucky girlfriend, she had a different
name. But looking back I'm pretty sure he was making fun of the
rest of us.
I always preferred Michelle, but that's
because being the feminine version of Michael (or is Michael the
masculine version of Michelle? Which came first?), it was easy to
This wasn't limited to Sweetwater.
Somewhere along the line, singer John Mellencamp released a song that
contained the line, "He just made that up/there ain't no girl in
We had an excuse for our imaginary
girlfriends. We were what we were. But why a 6'2 rock solid
linebacker for Notre Dame has to have a "girlfriend in another
state," well, maybe some day we'll get the answer, but it seems
like he could have been beating them off with a stick, as the old
As for me, I've got a girlfriend in
New York. Her name is BeyвЂ¦ um, Michelle. She only comes down in the
summer to visit her grandparents, who live in another town. All true.
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