Playing With: The Beard

Basic Trope: A character, usually a single character, fakes having a spouse or significant other, usually to avoid embarrassment.
  • Straight:
    • Alice, who was formerly the most popular girl at Troperville High School, doesn't want to admit that she's still single. Because of this, she takes her cousin Bob with her to her class reunion, telling everyone he's her husband.
    • Alice is an illegal immigrant, and fakes being married to Bob in order to become a citizen.
    • Alice's former classmate Charles is gay. He leaves his partner David at home and instead brings his sister Emily to the reunion, in order to appear straight.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice and Bob (or Charles and Emily) present a forged marriage license at the reunion.
    • Alice and Bob show their friends a staged wedding video.
    • Alice adopts a baby resembling her (or borrows one from a friend), and in order to appear married, she takes both Bob and the baby with her to a friend's house.
  • Downplayed: Alice does not take Bob or another man with her. However, she wears a fake or borrowed wedding ring, gives a fake married name at the reception, and makes up an explanation for why her (non-existent) husband isn't with her.
  • Justified:
    • Alice doesn't want the other women losing respect for her because she's single.
    • Alice doesn't want the men that she didn't like then (and doesn't like now) hitting on her.
    • Alice is in a relationship, but is ashamed of her significant other.
    • Alice wants to get overbearing parents or other family members off her back about her love life.
    • Alice is a lesbian, but still in the closet because of what others might think.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice really is Bob's wife, but he treats her as though she were merely his friend or sister, for one reason or another.
    • Alice is in a relationship, but goes to the reunion alone and tells everyone that she's still single.
    • Charles and Diane are a straight couple, but Charles tells everyone that he is gay and that Diane is his sister.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice tries to kiss Bob, but he recoils, saying "Ew, gross! I'm your cousin!"
    • Alice tells a friend on the phone that she is "ashamed of her status". Then she goes to the reunion alone.
  • Double Subverted:
    • When everyone looks at them in shock, Alice tries to cover it up by telling them Bob's just kidding.
    • ...But she tells everyone all about her attractive, rich, smart, kind, and all-around wonderful husband home with the flu (or boyfriend fighting in a war overseas). (Who does not exist.)
  • Parodied: Alice brings an Imaginary Friend to the reunion, and tells everyone he's her husband. Everyone except Charles believes her.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice goes alone to the reunion and tells everyone about her husband who is home with the flu. Everyone thinks she's making him up, but he turns out to be real.
  • Averted: No one lies about their relationship status or sexuality.
  • Enforced: "We need some drama at Alice's class reunion." "She's still single, right? Let's have her fake being in a relationship to avoid embarrassment."
  • Lampshaded: "Did you say 'husband' or 'cousin'?"
  • Invoked: Alice is concerned about her image, so she decides to start traveling around with an attractive male friend or relative and claiming that he's her husband.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied:
    • Alice confesses the truth that Bob is really her cousin. She expects people to lose respect for her, either because she's single or because she lied, but no one does. Her friend Frank, who is also single, tells her that, while she didn't have a reason to be ashamed, her initial lie was understandable.
    • Alice goes to the reunion alone, and is honest about her single status from the start.
    • Alice is truly in a relationship, and goes to the reunion with her real partner.
    • Alice doesn't go to the reunion.
  • Discussed: "I'm thinking about faking being married, so I won't be ashamed at the class reunion. How exactly do you explain to someone that you need them to fake being your husband?"
  • Conversed: "How'd Alice get a boyfriend on such short notice? I think something's up." "He's really her cousin. Didn't you see the last episode?"
  • Implied: Alice tells everyone at the reunion that she and Bob are married, though it is stated in a later episode that Alice has never been married and lives with only her sister Giselle.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: The writer is trying to show Alice's insecurities as a Christmas Cake, a closeted lesbian, someone who's ashamed of her real husband, or whatever else the plot demands.
  • Deconstructed: Someone is bound to be hurt or embarrassed (or both) by all this deception.
  • Reconstructed: Fortunately for Alice, the lie is never found out - because Bob lives far away, and Alice loses touch with her former classmates (either on purpose or by accident) after the reunion.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • Alice is married, but ashamed of her husband, and takes her attractive and wealthy cousin along to the reunion in an attempt to impress her former classmates. Her real husband shows up, but because of Alice's status, no one believes he's really her husband.
    • The man that Alice chose to pose as her husband happens to be the boyfriend of someone there, which (understandably) pisses that person off. She and Alice have a fist fight.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Alice's secret comes out in a most humiliating way, causing everyone to lose more respect for her than they would have lost if she'd just been honest from the start. She loses touch with them as a result.
    • One of Alice's former classmates murders her for lying.

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