Stop Calling Your Boyfriend "P." Online

Don't make me bear witness to your sick little intimacies

Young couple embrace while keeping busy with their mobile phones

I’ve done bad things. I’ve lied, I’ve overstated my adjacency to important people, and I’ve egged strangers on in conversation, knowing they are about to say something stupid, for my own enjoyment. But I would never, ever, ever force anyone to bear witness to the intimacies of my relationship by referring to my theoretical imaginary boyfriend online as “A.” or “B.” or “J.” I wouldn’t dare link to examples of this, but you know four or more people that do this regularly.

Here are some hypothetical examples, based on years of research I did not consent to:

P. let me eat ramen in bed even tho I’m a monster human who spilled birria tacos all over the comforter yesterday
we are watching parks n rec and leslie is eating waffles and j. turns to me and goes “that’s you with white claws”
On a hike and M. literally had to carry me home because I insisted on wearing my new Ginger Spice platform boots that I bought in a fugue state on Election Night
Saw b’s life flash before his eyes when I suggested playing All About That Bass as our first dance song at our wedding, oh yeah I guess this is my announcement that I’m engaged?!

You might be asking yourself, what’s wrong with this? Well, to start, everything.

First of all, you’re talking like you’re famous, or at the very least notable for your lifestyle, and as such, you’re making me feel like I should know more about you than I do. Suddenly, I’m uncouth and backwoods because I don’t know who P is. Is it Peter? Is it Paul? Is it Pierre? Now I’m Googling, and now I’m a part of this. Now I’m at your front door looking in because you asked me to witness this tableau of forced intimacy. I’d like to be alone, and privacy is a human right.

Second, your little auto-fictional tic is asking more questions than it answers, Little Miss Logged-On Rachel Cusk. P. could be your partner; P. could be your boyfriend; P. could be your ex-husband you’ve recently reconnected with. P. is an enigma. P. is context collapse.

Finally, how am I supposed to interact with your content? Am I allowed to call P “P” or is that your thing? And if the latter is true, why am I being antagonized? I am just an innocent bystander, and I want my life back.

Listen, we all want attention and we all self-mythologize to get it. I’ve lied four times just in the course of this blog post. But at least I’m not bringing anyone else into it. I’m my own C. And there is dignity in that.