Do you know the feeling of watching a movie on a tired Sunday evening and kind of wishing you had more to cuddle with than your pillows – like a sweet boyfriend that kisses away away the flashing loneliness?
The artist Noortje De Keijzer knows this feeling and solved it by knitting herself a boyfriend:
“My Knitted Boyfriend is a cushion with a story. A cushion with a personality. A cushion to kiss! Or, well… to cuddle, to caress, to hug, and to smile with. Because this man is always happy. And he is flexible as well. He will have a mustache if you prefer mustaches. He will wear glasses if you prefer glasses. He likes to sit on your floor, on your couch or at you dinner table. But most of all he likes to lay down next to you in bed. With your head on his chest and his arms wrapped around you. This way you will never feel alone ever again. With this man you can be sure, he will never leave you.”
It sounds like the solution to our times of dating apps like Tinder, OKCupid, Mazily and Co., in which it can feel exhausting, frustrating and simply lonely every now and then. The more searching single guys you click through, the more lonely you feel. Assuming that all these guys are feeling lonely and desperately looking for a girl to spend their time with already gives an uneasy feeling – but knowing that about half of them are not even looking for a partner but see it more as a new sport or form of Bingo – clicking on all girls to get five matches in a row – is even more discomforting. VICE magazine, always reliably providing us with the latest absurd trend of contemporary hipster-life, recently showed a little gadget that clicks on all the Tinder profiles for you so you finally don’t actually need to use your own finger or look at the girls anymore.
De Keijzer’s knitted boyfriend seems to be a valuable alternative: he is “always happy” and “very flexible” and comes with an illustrated book telling about the harmonic relationship story of the artist and her knitted lover. Also her short film is sweet and inspiring and begins to convince me that the idea of a knitted boyfriend is not that absurd at all. I mean, we are at a point of time, where our friends are not embarrassed anymore to admit that their new partner is a conquest they made on Tinder or some other dating app, and a point of time, where we expand our vocabulary on how to define our relationship to the people we spend our time with every day. What kind of things do we do together? Is it a more sexual, platonic, romantic or casual relationship – and how are our intentions and expectations? Here are many layers between which we move, switch and define – all the time.
Why not have a knitted boyfriend then in this collection of different relationships? Someone to cuddle, watch movies with, warm you at night, just be home with you and share ordinary moments of life in which you otherwise might feel rather lonely?!
De Keijzer explains that her project, using a huge portion of humor to reflect on the dark subject of loneliness was a step to make it less of a taboo:
“I hope my project brings a bit of recognition, and awareness that everybody feels lonely from time to time. That it is totally fine to talk about it or even laugh about it! I tried to make a very humorous project about this serious subject. I believe that laughing about a negative feeling is already the beginning of a more positive and happy feeling. And when you feel positive and happy with yourself, the right person will come along!”
Her art projected of the knitted boyfriend received little criticism and negative reactions, but most of all overwhelming support.
“I guess this project was a way for me to transfer my own emotions and experiences into something that I could laugh about. It was a bit of a therapeutic project for me. The fact that I reached so many people is just a nice extra.”
Of course, a knitted boyfriend in our bed won’t take away the feeling of loneliness on a Sunday morning when you wake up alone or replace the feeling that hunts for love – and lets you return to Tinder every now and then when you feel low. But the knitted boyfriend nevertheless takes some bits of the annoying loneliness away, being a kind, sweet and life-sized reminder of the fact that we all look for the same, hope for the same, go through the same emotions and therefore are really not alone.
The aesthetic way in which De Keijzer visualized her project gives it artistic value and has a world-conciliatory touch.
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- Blue lipped sitting in row 3 of Iceland's opening show as if she just escaped from a circus company. She bedazzled us. Now we have her. Loving velvet sausages she can get high on Couture. Bow tie + tinned food!