Wait, fake girlfriends count too?

All of this time, whenever somebody badgered me, asking why I didn’t have a girlfriend — I always had to come up with some reason as to why I lacked a significant other. The reasons are aplenty, but that is neither here or there.

However, little did I know that all of this freaking time, I could have answered their questions with a “yes.” Because, apparently, I could have just… made one up.

I wouldn’t have had to tell them that, of course. Because apparently there is no distinction anymore. Real, fake, supermodel, imaginary — they’re all the same!

If Notre Dame linebacker and soon-to-be NFL football player Manti Te’o can go on live television, and talk about his “girlfriend,” then I don’t see why I couldn’t have just simply imagined that I have an extremely hot girlfriend who also happens to be a Russian supermodel. Sure, she may live in a different country, but we talk on the phone every night. We tweet. She’s my one and only. I can even find a picture to go with her.

Anne Vyalitsyna

There. That’s my girlfriend. Her name is Anne Vyalitsyna, according to Google. We are madly and hopelessly in love. I might as well go ahead and change my Facebook status to indicate such.

Alright, so by now, all of you have heard about one of the most bizarre stories you will ever hear — the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax. Deadspin broke the story just before 5 p.m. yesterday, and within five minutes, it was international news. Notre Dame even held a press conference to defend their star linebacker and Heisman Trophy candidate just a couple of hours after the story was released.

Jesus Christ, Penn State didn’t even hold a press conference that quickly after they were accused of a mass cover-up of child molestation.

Normally, I try not to talk too much about sports on this blog, even though it is indeed one of my biggest passions. I absolutely love sports. All of them. But at the same time, I really have nothing new or insightful to offer about sports. If you want your athletic fix, you can simply head over to ESPN or any of the million sports blogs and websites out there. You guys don’t come here for your sports fix, and I know that.

That being said, every now and then — just like with Lance Armstrong yesterday — there are some stories that transcend sports, and you bet that this is one of them.

When the story first broke, I didn’t even know what to believe. I started reading the Deadspin article, but it was so thorough and so complex that I just couldn’t wrap my head around all of it. I also decided that I probably wouldn’t even blog about it today, since it was just too outrageous for my liking.

But 24 hours later, the story has completely taken off. I didn’t have a conversation today that didn’t revolve around Te’o. So I really had no choice.

The shocking thing that I never saw coming about this, was the fact that people were actually questioning why this is considered Manti Te'o“newsworthy.” I got into at least two fights with co-workers today, trying to describe why this story is so unique and so conspicuous.

Firstly, you need to know college football. Because if you watched any games this year, or at the very least, even watched any SportsCenter, then you would know that Notre Dame just underwent one of the most hyped seasons in sports history. Their undefeated season was discussed ad nauseam throughout the year, and right at the center of it was Manti Te’o.

He was their emotional leader throughout the year, and his label as a “tragic hero” was propelled by the fact that he lost his grandmother and girlfriend on the very same day back in September. He gave interviews (posted above) about how much he loved his girlfriend, and how beautiful she was. He verbally said those things. On television.

And now it turns out that he was allegedly the victim of a hoax. Some people invented the girlfriend, created a Twitter account for her, and hoodwinked Te’o into thinking she existed.

Whether it’s a hoax or not, this story represents a giant red flag on his character — because either he’s the most deceitful, evil person in the world, or he’s the most gullible, naive person in the world. Neither one reflects positively on him. And that’s why this is such a story. All that inspiration that was publicized all year is just thrown completely out of the window.

The story isn’t that he had an imaginary girlfriend. The story is that he’s Manti Te’o, the spiritual leader and glamorized figurehead of the illustrious, incandescent Notre Dame football team who happened to have an imaginary girlfriend.

Also, a new Internet meme has been developed because of this — Te’oing!

Te'oing

This whole thing is so funny because it is such a stark contrast to Alabama Quarterback A.J. McCarron, who became famous a couple of weeks not only for winning his second consecutive BCS championship, but for dating a supermodel.

But let’s talk about what this means for men everywhere. If a star football player, and a Heisman candidate, who plays for one of the most prestigious schools in the country can invent a girlfriend, then why can’t everyone else?

The precedent has now officially been set. All along, mankind has been stricken with the ill-conceived notion that to have a girl become your girlfriend, she has to be real.

Well, remember when we were 7 and 8-years-old, and we used to make up girlfriends? We were too young to know any better, and we had such vivid imaginations, that we used to pretend that we had girlfriends and tell our friends about them? Or was that just me? Well, either way, we had it right back then.

If you truly love your imaginary girlfriend, then why can’t it be real? Maybe I really do have genuine feelings for an imaginary girl who looks exactly like Anne Vatiyalsgia, or whatever the hell her name is.

Hmm, on second thought, maybe I’ll wait until after Valentine’s Day to concoct an imaginary girlfriend.

Those imaginary gifts can get really expensive.

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