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Thursday, February 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Romance With Only Ribbon Ties

By Pamela Warrick Los Angeles Times

He is great-looking but approachable. He is successful but no workaholic. He is a witty, sweet-tempered Yale Med School grad who loves tennis, photography, dogs and rainy days.

And, for just $14.95, ladies, he is all yours.

Yes, you can kiss those singles bars goodbye, never go on another blind date and finally have the perfect answer to that heartbreaking question: “Are you seeing anyone?”

Meet Dave, your very own Boyfriend In-A-Box.

Dave is the first of a new breed - the imaginary man. He and five equally sumptuous faux boyfriends are the product of a collaboration between a Lawrence, Kan., homemaker and George Coakley, the Northern California marketing wizard who made Pet Rocks the hit gift of the ‘70s.

The boyfriends require somewhat more care than the rocks, but not much.

Dave and his pals come individually prepackaged in “stunning keepsake boxes,” complete with all a girl needs (with the exception of an actual warm body) to convince the world that she’s special.

Here is a full-color 5-by-7 photo (with matching head shot for the wallet) of Dave at the emergency room suitable for framing and proud display. Here are love notes signed by Dave himself and a sweet “I’m sorry” card or two for his real and imagined oversights. What a sensitive guy!

Here’s a big stack of pink phone message slips to post around the office to prove your boyfriend can’t stop calling and a full bio sheet so you won’t forget a single fabulous fact about him.

Afraid of commitment? Dave doesn’t care. This 6-foot, 170-pound dreamboat is devoted to you forever and a day - unless, of course, you dump him. And he pledges never to eat off your plate or notice how much weight you gain. (Did we mention that he drives a black Miata, makes $170,000 a year and never fails to notice how great you look?)

“We basically provide the essentials for showing off at the office, in front of friends, family, even the ex,” says Boyfriend-In-A-Box creator Cathy Hamilton, who when she was boyfriendless had to make do with those flimsy photos of cute guys that come inside new wallets and picture frames.

Each of the six Mr. Rights - in Dave’s case, that would be Dr. Right - has his own special history and his own special attributes. Firefighter Frank - billed as “One hot hunk!” - has a bushy red mustache and does a great fireman’s carry. Musical Miles - “Play him again and again!” - is a longhair who promises to hit all your right notes. Athletic Al - “Brawn, brains and biceps!” - looks great without a shirt and, being black, is the sole minority in the boyfriend lineup.

Hamilton selected each of the boyfriend models personally to pose for her project. “Believe me,” says the 41-year-old mother of two, “the search was my extreme pleasure.” She found the men, ages 22 to 49, in offices, at country and western bars, at a hospital and hanging out at her neighborhood firehouse.

Happily married to her own boyfriend - general contractor Rex - Hamilton says she raided the family savings account and vacation fund for the money her company, Ms. Communications, needed to produce the first 10,000 boxes. She expects the kits to show up in gift and department stores in time for Valentine’s Day.

“We really do see this as a fun, but also necessary, public service,” Hamilton says. “Many women today are too independent and too happy with their lives as singles to spend time worrying about finding Mr. Right. I thought it would be nice to offer them something to truly liberate them from that chore.”

Are there any plans for a Girlfriend In-A-Box?

“Sorry, none,” Hamilton says. “For men to buy it, the box would have to have something, um, well, something tangible inside, something perhaps a bit risque - and, frankly, I don’t want to go there.”

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