Another Valentine's Day has come and gone. And for the lovelorn, the luckless and the just plain lonesome, it can be one heartless holiday.
But now, at least for men, there's a new source of solace: the imaginary girlfriend.
OK, maybe that's not such a new idea for some guys. But this companion promises to fulfill one's fantasies, yet doesn't have to be explained away like an inflatable doll. And we're not talking phone or Internet sex, but made-up love notes -- sweet nothings in the truest sense.
For $30, a Texas writer who calls herself "Judy" (at www. judylovesme.com) offers to send out "one letter a week for a month on perfume-sprayed stationary" (sic), complete with a picture to put by your bed.
Not ready for that kind of commitment? Then perhaps you'd be interested in her offer of a postcard (only $8) indicating you've had a fabulous one-night stand. It's perfect for fending off friends, parents or co-workers who "keep hounding you about not having a girlfriend," as she puts it.
Or, you might need a ghostwriter such as Laura Wing, a 37-year-old working mom who posted an offer on eBay to compose and mail a Valentine message for anyone for $5, plus $3 for shipping and handling.
"This was just an idea I tossed out to my husband, and he said go ahead and try it," she said from her home in Goodland, Kan.
"Some people who have wives or girlfriends aren't good writers, or they're self-conscious or not good spellers, so I would do it for them," she said.
What would she write? "That would depend. It could be something really sappy that would relate to Valentine's Day or some other occasion, or it could be more personal. For example, if it's a long-distance relationship, it could be 'I miss you, can't wait to see you,' or if it's your wife, it could be 'Every day with you is wonderful.' "
Wing's page on the online auction site got nearly 1,000 hits last week, she said, and at last report she'd had at least one taker.