Mordini: Pretend girlfriends no stranger to shame

Jessie Markovetz

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, and somehow the subject turned to this column. Specifically, she wanted to know when I was going to write about Residence Life’s freshman visitation policy.

“Why would I do that?” I asked her.

In short, she said that the policy was one of the most inane at Villanova because it is inconsistently enforced, creates a ridiculous amount of work for RAs and public safety and treats freshmen as though they are immature little children (which most of them are).

Naturally, I agreed, so I decided to write my column about this. But, as is so often the case, something even stupider than the visitation policy came to my attention, if you can believe it: an Imaginary Girlfriends service being operated by some outfit calling itself 5PM Interactive, the letters of which can be rearranged to spell Tip 5 Tavern Mice.

Here’s how it works: You pay $45 to select a “girlfriend” from a list of a couple of dozen women. They will then write you letters every week, arrange to talk with you in chat rooms, leave messages on your voicemail and send you their lingerie for two months. After two months, your “girlfriend” writes you a letter begging you to take her back, at which point you can keep the relationship alive by renewing or dump her.

“At last!” you are exclaiming aloud about now. “THIS is why all those terrorists hate America!”

Well, lower your voice, especially if you are reading this by yourself in a crowded area. Especially since there are some people out there who are desperate enough to subscribe to such a service, and by “some people,” I of course mean “Californians,” the same wacky bunch of people who elected a bodybuilder to a political office, acquitted O.J. Simpson on murder charges, tried to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and built entire cities along highly volatile fault lines.

Anyway, people from this same state launched Imaginary Girlfriends and, presumably, also came up with the service’s motto, which is: “Children Are Starving In Your Own Backyard, And You’re Spending Money On This?” (It was inexplicably changed to “Never Be Without A Girlfriend Again!” shortly afterward.)

The company’s website features profiles of the various girls you can select to be your girlfriends, complete with pictures, the types of letters they will write you and how they manage to convince themselves that this is not prostitution because there are no face-to-face encounters.

Speaking of which, now is probably a good time to mention that the website also offers a disclaimer to all its customers:

“Anyone who has difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy should NOT use this service.”

Thank you.

I am just waiting for someone (probably at the Fox network) to make a reality show out of this.

“Up next!” the announcer would shout following the latest episode of “American Idol.” “The reality show about reality dating! It’s a reality twist that will leave you in a reality coma dreaming of the days of useful innovations, like the light bulb or the electric toothbrush.”

Perhaps the only redeeming part of the site is reading all the fake names the “girlfriends” come up with. In an effort to seem more desirable (and to keep anyone from discovering their true identities), the women come up with pseudonyms that are designed to grab your attention, sort of like waking up to discover your arms have been amputated overnight, but more painful. Some of these names are (seriously): Anaiis, Misty, Karinna, Ginger, Fiona, Amy and Lauren.

I am all about being an “innovation pioneer,” by which I mean stealing profitable ideas and making them my own. So, upon graduation, I will launch my own service, called Imaginary Power Tools and Sports Cars! It will cost more than a fake girlfriend, but after supplying a few pictures, which will be edited to include racy cars and spectacular home additions, customers will be on their way to amazing pseudopopularity at the office! Plus, I will send them wooden carvings every week that clients can use to prove that they are masters of their woodshops, which are only visible in the picture, since they actually live in run-down, single room shanties.

Heck, I’ll even record the sound of an engine revving and leave that as a voicemail for my clientele. The only danger is that, somehow, people aren’t stupid or desperate enough to pay all kinds of money for a soul-free substitute for reality.

At least I’ve still got all of California.