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If you’re a sad sap like me and have no one to spend this holiday season with, a helpful how-to thread recently appeared in Japanese forums, and could very well hold all the secrets to enjoying a multi-course meal all by your lonesome. The topic is titled, “It’s so much fun to make a meal as though matching the self-assigned preferences of your imaginary girlfriend LOL,” and yes, the contents are as pathetic as the label makes it out to be. But to be fair, food tastes better when you share it with friends and loved ones, so for those who lack the companionship of either, a little make-believe might be the next best thing!

Now, before getting started, I’d like to point out that in the original post, every line of instructions ends with the Japanese equivalent of LOL. This guide to escaping loneliness isn’t meant to be serious, it’s all done in good fun. So how do we start setting up for a one-night stay with an imaginary girlfriend?

1. Gather together the things you’ll need the day before. It’s not hard.

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2. Picking up your girlfriend’s favorite (as decided by you) prawns is no trouble.

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3. Oh no! There’s only one hour before your girlfriend arrives! You’d better pick up the pace.

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4. Your girlfriend has come in such cold weather, so start her off with some hearty consommé soup. “It’s so nice and warm,” she says.

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5. Your girlfriend’s face floods with appreciation when you pass her her favorite (as decided by you) shrimp and avocado salad.

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6. You don’t know her favorite type of dressing but are praised for your thoughtfulness when you present an array of choices.

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7. Rather than provide sauce for the roast beef, you serve it partially raw and with a side of wasabi, hoping she likes the flavors the same way you do. Surprised, she admits that this is her favorite way of eating roast beef as well! You get along so wonderfully.

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8. She admires how refined you are, mixing cassis into your champagne.

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9. She’s dumbstruck by your main dish of pasta in homemade arrabbiata sauce, topped with her favorite (as decided by you) prawns, and she clings to you without a word.

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10. You fade to black for one reason or another, and when you open your eyes to the morning light, you tell your girlfriend to wait just a moment while you impress her with a fresh cup of coffee and breakfast in bed. “Wow! You’re so talented! This is delicious!” she says, and you’re brimming with joy.

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11. “See you this weekend,” your girlfriend says with a quick kiss as you see her out, still overflowing with happiness.

12. After all those good feelings, you look at yourself in the mirror and see the tired face of a lonely, middle-aged man who’s gone 35 years without a girlfriend…

13.  LOL

Reactions to the original post ranged from pity to empathy and a certain sense of admiration. Here are a few of the things that people had to say:

This is so pitiful… Hang in there, OP.

I also find that food tastes much better when I eat it with my invisible girlfriend.

You’re a madman!

Try not to cry once you’re done eating.

I wish I could have such a positive outlook.

I’d totally like to date you.

I should try this.

It’s okay now… You did your best.

Truly, this method of mood-lifting should be reserved for only the most delusional and the most desperate of lonely souls. But then again, what’s worse? Enjoying a good meal with the company of one’s imagination or drowning one’s loneliness in a bottle of Jack? At least this fellow is developing some coveted skills in the kitchen, and if he ever meets his dream girl in the real world, he’ll have the necessary skills to pamper her properly.

Source: Kinisoku (Japanese)