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John Lamb, Published January 22 2013

Lamb: Me and the real girl

If there’s anything Manti Te’o can take comfort in, it’s that Michelle Obama got a haircut.

The First Bangs are taking over the headlines that just a week ago were filled with the bizarre story of the Notre Dame linebacker’s imaginary dead girlfriend.

People have been shocked to learn that Lennay Kekua was not only never a real person but also not a victim of cancer or a car accident or just plain bad luck. Now Te’o says he was hoaxed into believing he had a relationship with a woman he never met.

And that’s where he loses me. If you’re going to have a fake girlfriend, you really have to spend fake time developing that relationship.

I can understand the allure of having an imaginary exotic girlfriend – I’ve been dating Briannicka so long I forget how to spell her name. Then again, with a woman of such rich cultures and skin tones, the spelling changes like her hair color – depending on which side of her FinniSpanNigeRussianish family is having a reunion.

But Te’o’s story is giving imaginary girlfriends a bad name.

Why wouldn’t you want an imaginary girlfriend? It’s all of the emotional benefits without ever having to consider someone else’s emotions. When I’m feeling down about something, BreeNquoi tells me to go have a couple drinks with my friends, eat too much red meat and come home ready to pass out. Then she lets me sleep in the next day.

She’s so considerate. It’s no wonder she’s a MacArthur Genius Grant-winning swimsuit model.

Before Brienneke, when I told married friends my weekend plans consisted of staying home, sleeping late, reading and eating pizza out of the delivery box while watching highlights from the 1991 World Series, it sounded pathetic. Now when I tell them Brianiqui and I plan on nothing but sleeping in late, laying on the couch together reading and eating pizza out of the box while she learned how awesome the Minnesota Twins were the year she was born, it sounds romantic.

Sure, I could do that with a real girl, but she would hog the blankets, turn pages too loud and eat too much of my half of the pizza, only to complain about getting all gassy, going to bed early taking the remote control with her and leaving me to sleep on the couch. Again.

An imaginary girlfriend has grace and takes all of the pressure off of unwanted social engagements.

“I think the irritable bowel symposium dinner sounds fascinating, but Br’n’ké needs a back rub before her solo cello benefit concert to send land-mine diffusing puppies to Cambodia. Don’t tell anyone, but Bruce Springsteen will come out to jam on ‘Born to Run.’ ”

What’s really great is I found the only person who is more amazing than I am, and I’m the only person who can fully appreciate her. It’s like we were meant to be together.

Te’o, take heart. Real imaginary girlfriends never die; they just go on to that great Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533