The Return of the "Fake Boyfriend"

The kind of relationship that I have with Randular is complicated but yet, so uncomplicated that it is possibly one of the easiest relationships I will ever have.

When we were introduced many, many moons ago, I couldn’t have been less interested in him and I suspect he felt the same way about me. We ran into each other at parties, at bars and shared a few friends. Because we saw each other so often and were usually in small groups of people were everyone was friends, we became friends. I would sit on his lap and pretend he was my boyfriend when a guy bothered me at a bar, he would walk me home, and invite me to lunch the next day. After he and L stopped seeing each other (a very short-lived pseudo-relationship in her pre-lesbian days that lasted just a matter of weeks), he kind of fell off of the planet until the night I ran into him at the “Reagal Beagle” (the second home of Ricky Retardo and the bar he coined after the one in “Three’s Company” due to the amount of time we spent there and his unwillingness to accept that there were other bars in the world). That night, conversation was awkward even after he bought me a couple of beers and we exchanged numbers. Just a few weeks later, he had become a common fixture at my apartment and after heated games of Kings, we would be drunk and fighting the urge not to make out like teenagers. We finally just started giving in.

Everyone called him my “fake boyfriend” because all of the elements of a boyfriend were there, he paid for meals, he held my hand sometimes under the table when he thought no one was looking, he introduced me to his friends and I introduced him to mine, and we were pretty much doing everything that people in a relationship do. Except, neither of us wanted to date each other. There was nothing spectacular about the relationship, the kissing was kissing and the sex was just sex. We became the “substitute people” that Kirsten Dunst talks about in “Elizabethtown”. Our sole responsibility to each other was to be there to make out when the bars closed or the game nights ended. And it worked well for us.

Naturally, when he moved away, I didn’t have a “substitute person” anymore. We didn’t talk on the phone much or make any real attempts at seeing each other if he was in town. But we remained friends. We text messaged every couple of months where I would say simply, “BOO!” or he would say, “Shorty…How DID you get so fly?” But we never talked about work or significant others. We never made plans for visits. We never even heard each other’s voices. Until this weekend.

Two years later, the night started out just as it always had. A block party. Many, many margaritas. Dancing to reggae music. The occasional brush of hands. The casual arm around my waist that never really bothered me nor sparked anything inside me either. And then, of course, there was my insatiable desire for the walk home on the beach. The same beach where I coerced him into stripping down and going swimming with me on a whim four years ago. There is something so comfortable about kissing him. Although, I never really want to, he feels somewhat like home. There is never any pressure and there is never any reason not to let him touch my face and kiss my forehead. There is never any reason not to let him put his arm around me. Because he feels like a friend. His arms don’t feel foreign or wrong. But they also don’t belong to someone that I can’t live without. They don’t belong to someone that I even really ever consider. They belong to a guy who comes in and out of my life every so often and stays just long enough to be a friend but nothing more. But they feel…nice. Strong and comforting. And sometimes, that’s all I really need.

Obviously, this time, it was purely innocent, but I said goodbye to him feeling happy. Rejuvenated. Sort of relieved that nothing had really changed after all. I can still kiss my “fake boyfriend” and he can still brush the hair out of my face and neither of us feel anything but a fondness that has no requirements. He is like a pleasant breeze that you hardly notice but makes you more comfortable in your skin. And it makes me smile just to know that there is nothing more that we want to be to each other.

No comments: