Confessions Of A Female Cosplayer's Secret Boyfriend

I have a confession to make: I am dating a cosplayer. You'll never know exactly which one, because I am a secret boyfriend. And because I am a secret boyfriend, I can't tell you my name or hers.

This is probably an issue that most of you know nothing about because -- like me -- it's a secret. Yet it's an unavoidable fact that there are cosplayers out there who say and act like they are single, but in reality have boyfriends.

There are a lot of reasons why this might be. Just because a cosplayer likes to share her costume work and photographs online doesn't mean that she wants absolute strangers to know her relationship status. It could be that the boyfriend doesn't want to be included in his cosplay girlfriend's tweets and blog posts to protect his own privacy. Or it might be because some cosplayers think that being perceived as single -- and therefore available -- will help them gain notoriety and 'fame.'

Now before you chop my head off and exclaim that cosplayers don't in fact view being single as a way to get ahead, before dating a cosplayer I knew nothing about the world within. Many different types of people cosplay and they all have different opinions and goals. There are cosplayers who are openly dating someone or married. There are coplayers who are single. But there are also cosplayers who are in secret relationships.

I am a secret boyfriend and I'm ok with that. One, I don't really want to be included in all of her tweets and blog posts, so I like it that she doesn't talk about our private life online. Two, in our real lives I am not secret. Her family and friends know about me, and mine know about her. But, when it comes to her online cosplay presence...I might as well not exist.

I am a secret boyfriend and I'm ok with that.

After following my girlfriend from con-to-con and getting to know a lot of her cosplay friends, I noticed that even your favourite cosplaying heroine (I don't want to ‘out' anyone so I will omit names) had secret boyfriends and husbands. Often, I was surprised to find out which ones!

I was also surprised to see how each relationship between cosplayer and boyfriend differed. There were the cosplayers who were obviously there to have fun and hang out with their boyfriends/girlfriends and were even doing couples cosplay. There were the boyfriends tagging along on purse duty. Sometimes a cosplayer would introduce the guy as her boyfriend…and sometimes the cosplayer would introduce her boyfriend as just ‘her friend.'

Now, before you think this is a rant, I must make it clear that this is just an opinion piece, not an angry character assassination. My significant other was a cosplayer well before I met her, talked to her, dated her, and hooked up with her (not necessarily in that order). So I knew the rules of the game before I entered them. As with all relationships, ours involves compromise. It is 50/50; give and take. I may not exactly always agree with being her hush-hush boyfriend, but at the same time I understand, accept it, and support her decisions out of love, the way she puts up with my snoring or excessive video game playing.

At the same time, I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't bother me when a guy hits on my girlfriend at a convention right in front of me. It can be enraging to read some of the comments her pictures receive online. I don't always like it that she wears skimpy bikini costumes to conventions and lets guys pose for photos with her. Dude, that's my girlfriend!

Perhaps the one things that makes it all bearable for me is when she isn't dressed up as your favourite anime girl, she is dressed in normal clothes, and we go out to eat at normal restaurants holding hands, holding normal conversation (barely!), kissing, and letting the public know we are indeed together. She is smart enough to separate the two and know that the person I entered into a relationship with isn't the girl dressed up as a video game character, but the REAL her. That is the person I want to grow old with, etc. etc., NOT the cosplayer.

Another thing that makes it bearable is that I trust my girlfriend. She also doesn't flirt with other guys...in real life, at conventions, or online. Keeping a relationship on the DL doesn't give her licence to flirt or lead on other guys...which is something that I have unfortunately witnessed some cosplay girls doing.

Is it really necessary for cosplayers to keep their boyfriends secret? I'm not sure.

But...is it really necessary for cosplayers to keep their boyfriends secret? I'm not sure. When Justin Beiber announced he had a girlfriend, there probably weren't too many girls so distraught they stopped being a fan. Hugh Jackman is married and possibly gay, but that doesn't stop girls from having a crush on him. So, if a cosplayer says she has a boyfriend, would it REALLY make a bit of difference? Why the secret? Why make a big deal about it at all?

At the same time, I admit that there were times over the years that I lost interest in following a cosplay girl online because she had a boyfriend or a husband.

Do we, as guys, have a habit of viewing cosplayers in a way similar to strippers? [And I'm really not comparing cosplayers to strippers here!! Cosplayers aren't strippers!] Let me explain the metaphor: If you are a man and you get a lap dance from a stripper, the possibility that she might actually start liking you can attract you to spend more money and pay more attention to her. If that stripper revealed she has a boyfriend or a husband and five kids, would she still be attractive? Do cosplayers need the attention and pandering of fanboys in order to feed into their fame? Is it necessary for cosplayers to hide their personal relationships in hopes it won't shatter the hearts and minds of her dorky minionship?

Let's be honest folks, celebrities don't date fans. Cosplayers don't date fanboys. I could go into some deep rant 'Barney Stinson style' about the rules of the universe, but that is just the way it is. A guy going to a cosplayer's Facebook page and commenting about how sexy she is and oogling at her boobs is the same as going to a strip club and throwing money on the stage. It is just an illusion. I support my girlfriend's hobby because it is something she is passionate about and it is something I enjoy seeing her excel in. If I am a member of the secret boyfriend club, well...so be it. I can either be in a department store like Macy's or Neiman Marcus holding her purse, or I can be at a convention watching her dressed up in a skintight Catwoman suit holding her purse. The choice is fairly obvious. Besides, I'm the one who gets to take her home in that suit.

(Top photo: DK.samco [Shutterstock)

This story originally appeared on cosplay site Takopop.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Comments

    Whinge whinge moan moan "oh my girlfriend is hot i hate when guys oogle her when she dresses all skimpy like".

      Thanks for summarising it for me. I got about a paragraph in and got bored at the "I don't want your attention, but secretly I do" whining.

      "And I do think she's pretty much a stripper but won't admit it, although I will make the same metaphor comparing them twice though."

        Wow, you're all assholes.

          As Aussie band TISM once said "Reality TV make us all arseholes".

    Man, imagine the dress up sex.. Yeah, I went there.

      First thing I thought of when I saw the title, would be the best thing about that relationship.

    My girlfriend is dead. I should write an article about it.

    This is probably the worst article you've ever published, Kotaku.

      Agreed.

      I blame myself now for clicking on it and reading nearly 4 paragraphs.. WTF?!

        Yeah! Don't you hate that?? I go in, read for a while and halfway through I'm like, what the hell is this??

      Now hang on a second, let's try and look a the positive aspects of this article. There is, um err, the uh, mmm......Well he mentions strippers.

        You know, this article, with him saying he's her 'secret bf', does it kinda smell 'stalker-ish' to you? lol

          I tried to read it, failed to hold my interest.

          Real life friends and Family know they are dating, her online & con cosplay persona doesn't have a boyfriend.

            I'll put this as frankly as I can. I once was in a relationship with a phone sex worker, dated for two years before we moved in together and lasted eighteen months, we broke up two years ago. Her 'phone' persona had no partner (obviously) and guys would talk dirty to her etc (obviously, duh), it takes its toll eventually. You tell yourself it doesn't matter, you tell yourself it's all an act, but eventually? It does. It can take a while, even years, but eventually it will. Why? Because it eats away at your self esteem. Sooner or later this guy will crack. I guarantee it. I did, and I ended our relationship because of her profession and her reluctance to change jobs (there were some other factors too...) but all I can say is he thinks its good now, lets ask him in two or three years and see how he feels...

            Last edited 11/03/13 11:48 pm

              I'll admit, this story was more interesting.

              I gotta agree, I doubt my Ego could take it when I think about it.

              @Tokyo_Punk: weresmurfs story was also far more to the point.

    The repeated mentions of 'I'm a secret boyfriend' reads to me as 'this whole story is fiction'. He contradicts himself in his own story at least once. Aside from that, I agree with posters above, what the hell were you thinking publishing this drivel, Kotaku?

    Last edited 11/03/13 11:15 pm

    This is the dumbest article I've ever read! How is hugh jackman possibly gay?
    "not comparing cosplayers to strippers"....uses that exact metaphor the next sentence...
    I cant even describe how horrendous this article is!!!
    I just....I'm speechless

    Beta level: 9000

    "Sexy" cosplay is the same as stripping. And theres nothing wrong with that. Amateur cosplayers dressing as their favorite character is one thing. But if you are a professional whos sexy outfits generate income and land you your next job then yeah, youre a stripper in a different venue. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

    honestly most cosplayers are hot.... i'd like to do most of them!! lol ;)

    I don't see the big deal. Like... so what? Of course they're not going to publicise their private lives, they have freaks for fans.

    You'd need to be very careful what kind of information you release. Jackie Chan doesn't like to tell people he's married. 15 years ago he did, and a fan committed suicide because of it.

    Good for you man. Not many people these days know how to keep their personal lives private, instead they post their stuf on facebook and then complain when shit goes south. Nice to see there are people out there who can organise their life and don't have to post everything to public.

    Believe me, if you love someone enough, you will put up with almost anything.

    To be honest, the AKB48 scandal was more interesting. He just needs to man up and ask her about it and deal with it without whining about it on the net and betraying her trust. She asked him to keep things private and revealing secrets on the web under an assumption of anonymity is like jumping in front of TV cameras with a balaclava on and shouting out a bunch of private facts about someone. You won't stay anonymous for long and eventually it's going to come back and bite you.

    Can I have the 30 seconds back it took me to realise that this is absolute dribble.

    Who cares, not vidya.

    I think the end paragraph (see below) pretty much sums up this whole fucking article...

    " If I am a member of the secret boyfriend club, well…so be it. I can either be in a department store like Macy’s or Neiman Marcus holding her purse, or I can be at a convention watching her dressed up in a skintight Catwoman suit holding her purse. The choice is fairly obvious. Besides, I’m the one who gets to take her home in that suit."

    Pretty much some douchebag bragging about his "secret boyfriend club" and his gf.

Join the discussion!