I, like everyone else in the Western world, once visited mySpace.com. While this certainly isn’t noteworthy, it might be interesting to know that much of my time there wasn’t spent updating my own personal account, but that of someone else’s.
Whose account was it? Josh’s fictional mySpace boyfriend, Bradley Gaines’, of course!
Aside from reconnecting with old friends and looking at attractive people I’ll never meet, mySpace never proved to be very interesting to me. For some reason or another, though, I spent an awful lot of time on it — it was almost hypnotic. Before I knew it entire afternoons would pass by just from viewing profiles and leaving comments.
I decided that if I were going to spend so much time on a phony community site, the least I could do is produce a phony person to participate in it. Bradley and I had a wonderful fake courtship before finally settling into our fake relationship. He was created to be the perfect fake man. He loved indie rock, history, surfing, video games and Jimmy Stewart films. If he were real, he no doubt would have been too good for me.
The name was selected because it sounded like that of a soap opera character. As for the images, a good friend of mine was kind enough to volunteer his likeness for the sake of my social experiment. If Bradley weren’t so attractive, it’s likely that the idea of a fake mySpace boyfriend would have died there. However, it turns out that people were fascinated by Bradley; so much so that he received the honor of being featured as a ‘Cool New Person’ on mySpace.com’s main page,
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this was the moment when Bradley’s days became numbered. You see, despite how proud I was of my own creation, I was never selected as a ‘Cool New Person.’ What about Bradley could be cooler or newer than me?
Worse yet, Bradley was receiving solicitations for friends (and more!) while my own inbox collected dust. His profile mentioned countless times that he was a fictional creation in a very real relationship, yet his popularity only seemed to increase each time I logged in. Without sending out a single request or comment Bradley had hundreds of friends. I knew people in real life who still refused to ‘friend me’ even after discussing it with them at length. There was something very wrong here.
It became increasingly obvious that I was jealous of my own creation. For the sake of my online self-esteem, Bradley Gaines had to be put down. He died surrounded by his creator, his fake family, and many, many, many friends.