Anyone who has lived within the cultures where marriages aren't arranged has been there. You've been on a few dates or you've been dating for 3 years but you're just not ready to call the man, men, or women you're seeing your boyfriend. Privately, I claimed to never have had a boyfriend until I was 30. This wasn't some look how pure I am kind of statement more like, it's been terrible for me out there kind of statement. Of course after I admit to being a late bloomer I quickly insert, "I mean I dated before that. I bunch of guys. I've had sex." Pity only feels so good for so long and for me it seems 3 seconds is my maximum.
There are many reasons why I didn't want to label some man my boyfriend. First off, the words boyfriend and girlfriend are stupid words that invoke the images of teenagers. This is perhaps because historically people were married by the time they were 15, so courtship was really taking place between boys and girls and not men and women. But then in 1993 everything changed and people started getting married later in life like when they were actually adults. Some blame Kurt Cobain and Nirvana for a whole generation of Americans delaying their married lives. Maybe it's true, I don't know I didn't bother to do any actual research. I figured if Wikipedia just makes things up anyway, why waste my time "researching" and then citing when I can cut out the middle man and just make it all up myself. But either way Courtney Love, am I right?
Secondly, maybe I dated some embarassing type men and I wanted to remain in denial that I chose sports jersey wearing mamma's boy as my boyfriend. "Wow, that harsh. Like you're some catch and someone would want to admit you're his girlfriend." Clearly, I'm not a catch did you not just read the first paragraph where I told you I didn't have a boyfriend until I was 30? We're are all horrible can we move on, mister sanctimonious voice in my head?
Thirdly, and most likely, commitment and intimacy is terrible and scary especially when I was in my twenties and I thought my life would be amazing. With a future that looked like it had no limits why limit that future with a ball chain that would keep anchored to the Earth instead of soaring among the clouds? When I realized that I was not flying with the jets and birds but drowning in toxic sludge I learned that committing grabbing on to a life raft and dragging in down with me. No one wants to die alone.
However, before life's harsh lessons forced me to grow up and use the word boyfriend for real, stand-up comedy made me cop to it a half a decade sooner. In stand-up messy overly dramatic details just get in the way of the joke. You can't get up on stage and say my ex-"dude I used to sometimes have sex with and then not talk to and then have sex with again and then maybe go on some dates with, but we were still seeing other people, and those people well some of them I don't know their ages or their last names so who knows what's going on there." had disproportionately small hands. The audience is now trying to decipher my relationship status that they can't pay attention to my hilarious impression of dating Godzilla. As you know Godzilla's hands are very tiny in relation to the rest of him. So smallhands became my boyfriend.
Stand-up comedy might be therapeutic but the audience isn't my friend. The audience didn't show up to a bar to have a comedy show appear out of nowhere like a sniper on the Washington Mall to figure out what the most accurate label for my dysfunctional romantic situations are. They are two busy trying to figure out how a night out to take in a game and get drinks with friends somehow became a night where the TVs are turned off and hoodie clad, anger misfits are screaming at them through a mic to shut the fuck up as they talk about their dicks and vaginas.
In this atmosphere nuance goes out the window and you all became my boyfriends. Yes, you guy with no pillow, and you the guy I slept with once who I described as having no teeth because describing your actual teeth would have also taken too long. And you who wanted to role play office, and you my greatest loves who I never dated buy stalked for years anyway, you were my truest boyfriends and I think the audiences across America for letting us have that kind of commitment and intimacy even if it was only on stage and in their minds.
Stand-up comedy hasn't given me riches, or respect, or self-worth, but it has given me more boyfriends then I truly ever deserve and for that it's all been worth it, except if you're using worth in a monetary sense then really it hasn't been.