Little Pretend Broken Hearts

So. . . I’m about as single as a girl can get. . .which means I’ve entertained myself with a few ‘pretend’ boyfriends at times. You know, just for kicks. I had one in North Carolina I called my ‘gym boyfriend.’ He was not too tall but cute from head to toe, and he always wore a baseball hat when he worked out. Weird! Or. . .balding prematurely?! Hmm. . .

At any rate, I mentioned to a girl friend from my gym that I thought he was attractive, to which she replied, “So why don’t you talk to him?” Uh, what? And, more importantly, why?! I would never do that for fear that he’d instantly become unattractive the second he opened his mouth to speak, poor little meat head. Then, I’d have no eye candy at the gym. “Nah, I’ll just look every now and then.”

My latest ‘pretend’ comes compliments of my absolute favorite Denver band – an amazing little outfit who shall remain nameless because, although it’s the slimmest possible of slim chances that one of the band members would ever read this – and an even slimmer chance that any of them would actually know me - it would be pretty darn embarrassing if, by some miracle, one of them actually did.

Just for the record, I never would have acted on my pretend crush. He seemed nice, kind of quiet, a pretty humble guy slash awesome drummer; but, he was also 1 – not my style; 2 – too skinny and not anywhere near my ideal of the male physique; 3 - not the type that looked like he worked out on the regular; 4 - last but most certainly not least, taken!

And, as if all of these reasons still aren’t enough, I saved the best for last – I had my eye on a supah hot boy of my own - Just in case you were wondering; and just for the record, of course.

Long story short, the lead singer of the “hardest working band in Denver” played a free solo acoustic show at one of my favorite grub spots – which shall also remain nameless to protect the innocent, a.k.a. to save me from turning the brightest red ever possible - a few Friday nights ago. A free show by a member of my favorite local band? Um, yes, please!

After his set, said unnamed lead singer retreated to the bar at the back of the venue - and about five or six feet from where I was standing – to hang out with his fellow band mates and allow the second act full attention on the stage up front for their show.

Now, I can ordinarily find a way to strike up a conversation with just about anybody at any time; and I certainly would have loved to chat it up with my boys, no doubt! This particular Friday night, however, I was feeling a bit shy. For those of you who know me personally, YES, it does happen from time to time, believe it or not.

So there I stood, donning my UBER orange Elway jersey to show my support for my beloved Broncos on Super Bowl weekend – that game we shall not speak of, don’t even ask! – undoubtedly looking like that single, out of place, wide-eyed girl scanning the room and dancing ever so slightly in place to mask true feelings of awkwardness and sticking out like somewhat of a sore thumb.

A girl hanging out with the band a few feet away noticed me, took a step in my direction, and said, “You’re rocking that jersey!” and I was instantly back in the game and out of my awkward wall flower state. “Thanks!” I was grateful for her taking pity on the quiet girl that could be spotted a mile away by her ‘white girl’ dance moves, let alone a bright orange, oversized shirt. We chatted a few minutes. She was so nice! I felt a little better.

A few songs later, the second act was done, as was the live music for the evening and my stamina. It had been a long but good day; and although the night was relatively young, I was ready to call it a night.

Back home, I logged onto Facebook for a pre-’nighty night’ update on my friends’ random posts and pictures from the evening. . .and a quick peek at the band’s Facebook page too. I consider myself a pretty good sleuth when I want to be – let’s call it being “resourceful” – and ended up finding my pretend crush’s Facebook page, only to respond with a dropped jaw when I saw. . .

Wait for it. . .w a i t    f o r    i t. . .

That the sweet girl who struck up conversation about my jersey was his girlfriend!

“Son of a [bleep]! Aww, man!” Aaaaand just like that, my pretend crush was over. I knew he had a girlfriend, but now she was real. . .and really nice to me. I’m a lot of things, peeps, but a home wrecking hussy is not one of ‘em, even if continuing my pseudo crush had only made me a pretend home wrecking hussy.

Just like that, a mere eleven days before Valentines Day, I was nowhere near having a pretend boyfriend – let alone an actual boyfriend – and even more single than before if at all possible. I’ll admit, it was silly anyway.


So. . . What is a girl to do to mend a little pretend broken heart? Let me count the ways:

  1. Gobble up Valentines Day chocolates – candy you buy for yourself – and wash it down with a pint of cookie dough ice cream – real ice cream, mind you, none of that ‘fat free’ wanna be stuff? Nnnnnnnope. Besides, I prefer Oreo cookie ice cream.
  2. Spend an entire weekend watching sappy ‘chick flicks’ and fighting back little pretend tears? Uh uh. No thank you.
  3. Create a profile on a free online dating website? Um, not only no, but OH HELL NO NO NOOOOO!!! No offense to those of you that have tried online dating, it just ain’t for me.

These were not at all viable options. Not for this girl, anyway. There was only one possible option left: an extra trip to the gym. And pistol squats. And handstand pushups. Yeah. I could feel my spirits lifting instantly.

Pistol Squat

Handstand Pushup

NOTE. Neither of these are me!

Valentines Day 2010 was the first time I’d ever done pistol squats – successfully on each leg – all the way down to the ground. I remember thinking that it was the best Valentines Day gift to myself ever. I wanted that feeling again, and my extra trip to the gym just happened to fall on Valentines Day 2014. The best part? I can do them all! Who woulda thought?! I can’t think of anything much sweeter than that.

Running and working out are two of my many loves, and certainly two of the few that have never let me down. And a little love from the both of them is something any single gal can always truly rely on, whether mending a real or pretend broken heart.

Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy and practice at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.

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