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True Stories: I Faked an Engagement for Fun and Profit
"The assignment was to write a tutorial for men on proper proposal etiquette while heavily outlining your own engagement experience..."
by Jeremy Glass
I was perusing Craigslist in the wee hours of the morning, soused and hungry for excitement. Typically, Craigslist is a place where I get my rocks off creating fake posts offering artisan bike spokes, but tonight was different. It was while scrolling through the writing gigs section and idly looking for freelance work that I came across a post that read, “Are you a recently engaged writer? (Paid gig)” The assignment was to write a tutorial for men on proper proposal etiquette while heavily outlining your own engagement experience.
Despite being thoroughly unengaged at the time (and single to boot), I responded to the ad, and the next morning, as I alternated between throwing up and taking Advil, I received an e-mail saying I'd landed the gig.
The first step was making up my dream girl. Had honesty prevailed, I would have written about a moody sexual deviant with bangs, but I opted for a less obvious, more relatable choice: a sweet and nerdy pharmacist named Danielle. She stood a modest 5’4”, with strawberry blonde hair and big green eyes. Danielle adored Star Wars, was a messy eater, and loved me unconditionally.
I outlined everything in my article: how I went up to her and introduced myself after we ordered the exact same toppings on our frozen yogurt; her favorite food (chocolate chip pancakes with strawberry syrup); and how I proposed. I would get lost in my fantasies as I typed away at my computer, nearly expecting Danielle to sneak up behind me and give me a peck on the cheek. 1,500 words later, I had created a monster — a beautiful, loving monster.
In the real world, though, I wasn't doing too hot. I had too much time off work, which I spent at home, mired in long stretches of nothingness. My days were spent drinking iced coffee and buying fast food and my nights consisted of brewing coffee for the following day. I justified my vacation from real-world activity by immersing myself in my fictional-husband role further and writing a far more detailed account about Danielle than my editor had asked for. I made up a back story for Danielle and devoted ample time to her goofy dad, who'd spent a large portion of his life in Vietnam as a sous chef. I would craft conversations in my head even while away from the computer.
“Babe, are we still getting dinner tonight?” she'd ask, looking beautiful in a totally casual way.
“Babe, I'm so sorry. I blanked and totally made plans with my friends,” I'd reply, panicking about being so absent-minded. She'd sense the worry in my voice, and even though she'd be bummed about missing dinner, would comfort me anyway.
“Babe. Babe. It's no biggie. Go have fun with your friends! Beep me when you’re done.” (In my fantasies, she has a beeper.) I'd come home from the bar that night a little drunk, and Danielle would be asleep on my couch. She’d give me the biggest, warmest hug in the world, and we'd have sweet, protected sex right then and there, because we'd be waiting to have kids.