I meet the strangest people at Starbucks. Due to some confusion over whether a grande soy latte for “Tim” is the same as a grande mocha for “Julie,” (answer: they are not) I ended up talking with a cute twenty-something year old. For some reason the conversation fell into the topic of what she did for a living, and she explained that she was a virtual girlfriend. I was virtually confused, of course, so I asked her what she meant, and she explained:
Well, guys pay me to be their girlfriend. I write them romantic e-mails, send them pictures, call them occasionally, tell them how much I miss them and need them in my life.
Needless to say, I was surprised by this. It seemed an interesting variant of sex lines, so I asked her a couple of questions.
Me: What kind of clients do you have?
Her: Oh, all kinds. Lots of soldiers and salesman — you know, guys that travel a lot. I have one or two gay clients that want a good cover. Some geeky college kids that can’t get a girlfriend on their own.
Me: Do you ever meet them?
Her: Usually not, I have strict rules about that. It’s just too wiggin’. But once I met a guy’s parents when he was in Italy — they wanted to meet his girlfriend. I think they were afraid that he was gay. That was a special service, though, I don’t usually do that.
Me: Do you like it?
Her: Oh, sure. I mean, it pays pretty well, and it isn’t much work. I mean, once you’re keeping one guy happy with romantic e-mails, it isn’t too much more work to keep ten guys happy. Guys are really easy to keep happy, they aren’t too demanding. I want to become a political speech writer, I figure this is good practice.
I asked for her website (just out of curiosity, really), but I’d forgotten it by the time I picked up my latte and went out the door. On first analysis, I thought: how sad.
But on second analysis, I’m thinking: how much? It might very well be cheaper than dating.
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