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Preston Clive in Preston Clive - THE IRRITATED AMERICAN, Wielding The Digital Hatchet,

Virtual Hope For The Concretely Desperate

BY PRESTON CLIVE

"Are you lonely like I was?" (proboards.com)

If you're lonely, there are a thousand and one established services and start-ups out there promoting apps and dating sites to get you stomping around through the ether looking for, hoping for, a match. It's a crowded playing field.

But there is only one, (as far as I know, anyway, but that doesn't mean I'm an expert on the Fake Date/Mate business so don't take that as industrial gospel) app that will go to the distant length of actually providing you with fake proof before your friends, relatives, and work-mates that you do, in fact, have a boyfriend or a girlfriend .  .  .  when indeed you positively do not.

A young (divorced, which played into the direction of his thinking as he always cringed when asked if he was seeing anyone) entrepreneur from St. Louis has launched an app/service that does this very thing.  .  .  technically two services: Invisible Girlfriend, and Invisible Boyfriend. According to a report in Yahoo Finance, company co-founder Matthew Homann planted the seeds for his company around ten years ago when he dropped a few bucks down on the domain name "Invisible Girlfriend." 

Cut to last year when he crossed paths with investors via the medium of a start-up competition. With the promise of investment, he brought some programmers into the fold to flesh out the materialization of the general idea that Matt had in mind. Since then he has brought the idea (which I'll explain in a moment) to operational fruition and--since the live launch of the app at the start of February (in time for Valentines Day, of course) he has already racked up 30,000 sign-ups.

The service basically provides the user with either an invisible boyfriend or girlfriend: user's choice. The product is simple. Their mobile device, as long as the subscription remains active, will be hit with a set number of communiques from Homann's staff, to provide the interaction, and material proof to others around the user, that the user is romantically engaged and thus not the lonely basement dweller that they were previously regarded as. These communiques come via text, voice mail, and more.

And the service is most emphatically not cheap. The person who wrote the article for Yahoo--a young girl--signed up for Invisible Boyfriend. This product costs a good number of shekels: $24.99 per month, which got her 100 texts and ten voice mails per month. You also get a handwritten note per month with the deal. The owner suggests that the service will likely expand to include the sending of gifts for the subscriber, to really create the appearance of being loved or desired.

Want to hear something completely unexpected? If I asked you which arm of the company--Boyfriend or Girlfriend--was more successful and engaging more signups, you would say Girlfriend, correct? Operating on the assumption that since guys are pathetic losers only they would en masse sign up for such a bizarre enterprise as paying money for a complex charade in front of your social circle so that they publicly do not appear lonely .  . .  while making themselves feel that much more lonely inside, privately and away from others when reviewing the bill.

Undoubtedly you are correct--guys are pathetic losers indeed. But the fact remains that 64% of the sales--signups-- for the service have been for Invisible Boyfriend. The one thing to remember, however, which dampens the impact of this number, is that 20% of the folks signing up for Boyfriend are guys.

Either way, that's a surprisingly large number of first wave female signups for a service like this. It just goes to show that appearances mean a lot in this world. An area being carefully mapped out at present is where to draw the line when it comes to sexual talk. No doubt guys chatting with their invisible gals, knowing that there's a female worker on the other end texting them, will turn into drooling dogs (and also want to make it look like they're getting "action" from their "girl") and start going over the line and begin sexting.

Matt Homann, co-founder of the site, says that--after his divorce--he got tired of being asked whether or not he was seeing somebody. Out of this quandary of, one imagines, being ashamed of saying "I'm not dating any one person consistently right now," he built this service.

I have a very live and let live attitude. Do what ya want if it makes you happy and hurts no one. But when your self-image is so tied to the opinion of others that you're willing to pay 25 smackers a month for fake texts and phone messages, it may be time for you reassess your priorities, stop eating so many BBQ potato chips and ice cream, slim down, and learn how to talk to strangers on the street or in supermarkets.

THE IRRITATED AMERICAN

Preston Clive

2/9/1015***