It starts in the teen and tween years, and maybe even sooner. Parents begin to express a preference for certain types of boys or girls for their children to be interested in. After all, just the other day at a play date one parent said, “Oh they are so cute together wouldn’t it be funny if they grew up to get married?” The other responded, “Not unless they convert, we won’t have any (insert religion here) in our family.” Even at such a young age parents already are expressing their notion of what is an appropriate mate for their child.
The teen years arrive and after you settle the question “Is My Teen Daughter Ready for a Boyfriend?” (or son for a girlfriend) it is the dating years. Your teen embarks on the group and couples dating journey but of course as a parent you direct them toward boys or girls at your school, church or social circle, other teens and families that you feel are compatible with your family values and ideas. As a parent you may be very vocal about whether or not this person or that is one that you want them to date, even going so far as to “forbid” it.
Dating becomes a whole new ballgame for both college age children and their parents. Your children are out in the “real world” meeting people that you have never met. You may catch yourself asking questions like, “But where are they from?” “What do they want to do after college?” Or you may be concerned about the variety of choices available to your child now that you aren’t there to steer them in the right direction.
Into adulthood, if your child is still not married now they encounter the pressures of “When are you going to get married?” “I want some grandchildren before I am too old to enjoy them,” and in some cases, “Are you gay?”
Whatever the age, whatever the reason, parents feel they have the right to discuss with their children their choices in a mate or a date. However is it possible that in our anxiousness to encounter the “right” person for our child we may encounter not only the “wrong” but a faux beau or two along the way?
What is a Faux Beau?
According to Urban Dictionary a faux beau can be . . . “A close gay friend of a straight female. He can never be her “boyfriend” but he can be her “fake” boyfriend, aka, her faux beau,” or “A pretend boyfriend invented for the purpose of deterring undesirable romantic attention.”
In Holiday in Handcuffs, Melissa Joan Hart actually went a little off the deep end when her boyfriend breaks up with her moments before their trip to meet the parents and spend the Christmas holidays with them. She kidnaps Mario Lopez and holds him “hostage” passing him off to her parents in an effort to gain their approval.
The popular television show Royal Pains has even entered the faux beau arena, where Evan becomes the “faux beau” of a beautiful, wealthy, young lady who is dating a gentleman older than her father. After too much pressure and a visit from her parents, she passes Evan off as her boyfriend to put her parents mind at ease.
I admit to having a faux beau or two in my lifetime, for many reasons. My older children have even done it (not with me but with other family members or to fight off unwelcome attention). One child was concerned because the person they were dating was from a place that another family member doesn’t like. Another child was concerned about the way that people would treat the person of a different race. However, I was surprised to learn that so few parents knew about this concept, or how or why their children will feel the need to pretend to have a significant other.
But it’s not just parents, friends and other family members can really put the pressure on to help you find your soul mate, special events like class reunions, holidays and weddings can also turn the screws making people feel like they must have a significant other to be “happy.” Not everyone agrees though as seen in the “Oh No! It’s Valentine’s Day: The Anti-Valentine’s Day Survival Guide.”
Why would children (even grown) introduce a faux beau?
There are several reasons, but mostly because they want their parent’s approval, even if it is just temporary. After all, the faux beau will be here today and gone tomorrow. By presenting parents, friends and family with a pretend boyfriend, girls are better able to avoid the blind dates and statements like “My nephew would be perfect for you.” In some cases, a child is hiding their sexual orientation and not ready yet to discuss it with their parents. In others, the pressure to “show off” the perfect person may just be too much to handle.
What can parents do to avoid a faux beau introduction?
Start when they are young. Try not to let your expectations put too much pressure on your children. Don’t pressure your child into dating or finding the perfect mate. They will find them on their own and in some cases it just never happens and that’s ok too. After all, I think we have all moved past the days where the “maiden aunt” was hidden in the house and looked down upon.
Avoid snap judgments based on religion, color, culture, background or even the gauge earrings and tattoos on their arms, neck and legs. You never know what heart of gold may lay behind a person who on the outside seems so very different from you.
Be accepting and gracious. No matter who your child brings home you need to be the “adult” because even if they are 32 they are still your child and after all, you never outgrow being polite. If your child feels that this person is important enough to them to introduce you to, either as a friend or a partner, then they should be important to you too.
Allow your children to figure out their sexual orientation on their own. They can handle it just fine. You raised them, so trust their judgment and their feelings on this matter.
Remember we all have expectations for our children, but as parents we can never let those expectations and goals for the future interfere with what we really want for our children, and that is for them to be happy and loved.
How to Create a Fake Boyfriend or Girlfriend, by Kate Brian