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Girlfriend in Canada
aka: Imaginary Wife

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I wish you could meet my girlfriend,
But you can't because she is in Canada.
I love her, I miss her, I can't wait to kiss her,
So soon I'll be off to Alberta!
...I mean Vancouver!
(Shit, her
name is Alberta, she lives in Vancouver...)
Rod, Avenue Q
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A convenient way for a character to disabuse the idea that they're gay or otherwise too socially inept for a relationship is to claim that they indeed have a girlfriend — but the other characters have never met her because she lives in Canada. She doesn't visit very often, but when she does they just spend all day in bed. Look, here's her entry in his phone's contact list. No, you can't see a picture.

The idea is that since "she" lives in a different country, and presumably would have to get a passport and go through all that hassle in order to visit her "boyfriend", it's particularly tempting to make her Canadian as a way of discouraging others from asking too many questions. But if they do ask questions, it's almost de rigueur that any discussion of her living situation more detailed than "in Canada" will be comically inconsistent with any real Canadian geography or culture. It's also convenient for writers, who can make use of The Beard without having to write an actual character or cast someone to play her.

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It's a very American trope by nature, not only because America makes so much pop culture but also because Canada's relationship with the U.S. means it can only really work there. Canada and the U.S. are separated by a border but are close by and share a common language; anything farther away would raise questions as to the girlfriend's exotic nationality and linguistic capacity. You won't see this in anime, for instance, because for a Japanese guy to pretend to have a foreign girlfriend would raise questions as to which of them is bilingual. In Britain, a "girlfriend in Ireland" doesn't need a passport to visit the UK, and a "girlfriend on the Continent" would probably speak a different language (although certain places in Continental Europe would make the prospect quite tempting for the hapless guy). A "Girlfriend in Australia" is a possibility, and it adds the wrinkle of time zones to the equation; Australia and New Zealand don't do it to each other, though, because such a relationship is already implausible. If the show is set in Canada, you can do a "Girlfriend in the States", but for safety's sake better put her far from the border and far from states that tend to have a lot of Canadian visitors like Arizona or Florida.

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There are variants that don't require a different country at all. Schoolchildren can do it, claiming to their classmates that they totally have a girlfriend, but you haven't met her because she goes to a different school. Sci-fi or fantasy series with their own settings also have more possible options; you could put her on a different planet or dimension as long, as it's not too difficult to get there. A setting with a Fictional Country may choose to use that country for the fictitious girlfriend.

If the character's friends are a little too forceful in calling him out on the girlfriend's non-existence, you can expect the most common subversion of this trope; the girlfriend will turn out to be real after all before the episode ends. If the character himself is from Canada, no one will question him having a girlfriend back home and it's not this trope at all.

This trope is closely related to The Beard, Operation: Jealousy, and Boyfriend Bluff. Could become an Invented Individual. See also Wedding Ring Defense and False Widow.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • In Champions, the others make fun of Miles Morales for claiming that he has a girlfriend in an alternate universe.
  • Destra of The Intimates claims to have a boyfriend in Niagara Falls when Dead Kid Fred approaches her. Destra is incredibly sexy and could easily get a real boyfriend at the drop of a hat, but none of the boys at her boarding school interest her, hence the lie.
  • In one issue of The Simpsons comics, Milhouse's dad claims to have a girlfriend onboard the cruise ship everyone is on, and he always uses some excuse whenever anyone asks where she is. Subverted in that he actually does, and she really was just in the bathroom or tired every time he wasn't with her. Used later in a Romeo and Juliet parody, where Romeo (Nelson) claims that Tybalt (Jimbo) is just jealous because he has a real girlfriend. Jimbo replies with the trope.
  • In one Teen Titans comic, Kid Flash tells Robin that he has his own Rogues Gallery in Canada.
  • In the Uncanny X-Men: The Heroic Age one-shot, Beast gets stood up on a date. When he mentions this to Molly Hayes of the Runaways, she assumes that this trope is in effect, but Beast is quick to correct that his girlfriend is actually from space, which doesn't help his credibility in Molly's eyes. (She's real.)

    Comic Strips 
  • In one arc in the Alex comic strip, Alex and Clive end up in Narnia where they meet all kinds of creatures that only exist in "make-believe". This includes the "girlfriend in London" Clive claimed to have had while at university.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table:
    • Brian Van Hoose claimed to have a girlfriend named Alexis Marie. He sometimes pretended to call her or even booked motel rooms. He even once claimed they were engaged and sent out wedding invitations.
    • Bob once claimed to have been caught in a Fatal Attraction situation with a co-worker at the Harness & Hoe Insurance company. Dave found this claim hilarious.

    Fan Works 
  • Beauty Will Tear Us Apart: After Ditzy claims to be dating Time Turner, Trixie immediately insists that she, too, has a girlfriend. “But you can’t meet her now, because she’s getting a degree in Vanhoofer.”
  • Namechecked and turned inside out in Biology Homework (Very NSFW). Aurora Dormir does have a boyfriend and he is in Canada, but the only person that thinks Aurora's straight is Aurora.
  • In Harry Potter and the Breeding Darkness, Draco assumes that Harry doesn't really have a boyfriend because this mysterious boyfriend doesn't attend Hogwarts. He assumes wrong.
  • In Integration it is revealed that Apple Bloom once lied that she had a coltfriend from the Crystal Empire. Applejack and Rainbow Dash also note that this might be the case with Princess Twilight's relationship with Human Flash Sentry because they have never actually met him. Averted, however, as Twilight and Flash actually are in a relationship.
  • In The Journey Begins, Dominick Burke claims that he's bi and that his steady girlfriend is in Greece with her dying grandmother.
  • Inverted in The Padawan and the Smuggler; Phineas's friends at Tosche Station don't believe his stories about his girlfriend and ask if she's from Kan'daraan.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. Snow Flower and the Secret Hall Pass, Shizuo wishes he had a girlfriend in Canada so he could get out of being in an arranged marriage.
  • In Son of the Sannin, Shikamaru cites the trope when he's asked by Sai out of the blue why he and Choji don't have dates for the wedding of Asuma and Kurenai, explaining that his girlfriend (Temari) lives in Sunagakure. All the boys in Sunagakure also think that Temari made up Shikamaru to keep them off her back because he considers crossing the desert to visit her to be too much of a pain.

    Films — Animation 
  • Inside Out: In Imagination Land, Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong meet Riley's imaginary boyfriend. When Bing Bong, confused, mentions that he's never heard of him before, the boyfriend tells them that he lives in Canada.
  • Played with and inverted in The Simpsons Movie:
    Lisa: Oh wait, I didn't tell you the best part: he loves the environment. Ooh wait, I still didn't tell you the best part: he's got an Irish brogue! No no, wait wait, I still didn't tell you the best part: he's not imaginary!
  • Storks: Toady claims to have a girlfriend who's migrating and produces a photograph of a bird he introduces as her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Berlin Syndrome: Or rather ex-girlfriend back in Canada. Nathalie did actually exist, but it's pretty apparent that she didn't really go home to Canada.
  • Anthony Michael Hall's character in The Breakfast Club claims to have a girlfriend living up in Niagara Falls, in addition to having had sex with several other girls. When pressed, he admits he made the whole thing up because he's embarrassed to admit he's a virgin. His character also has a distant girlfriend in Weird Science from later in the same year, 1985.
  • Leslie Cheung's character in The Chinese Feast hopes to get enough money to visit his girlfriend in Canada.
  • The Mayor in Chocolat uses this to attempt to cover up the fact that his wife has left him by claiming that she's on an extended holiday and will come home soon.
  • Played with in Donnie Brasco. Donnie is an undercover agent is infiltrating The Mafia in New York. He tells them he has a girlfriend "back in California" (because he actually has a wife, and doesn't want to cheat on her). The mobsters buy it hook, line, and sinker, despite never seeing him call, speak of, or show around photos of his alleged girlfriend.
  • Gil in Going Greek claims not only a foreign traveling girlfriend but that she travels because she is a model. He is not believed, even by his cousin and all his frat buddies assume that he simply is an Armored Closet Gay. The final frat party reveals that he is not only telling the truth but that she is so devoted she got a "Property of Gil" tattoo on her neck.
  • In Napoleon Dynamite, Napoleon uses a sample modeling picture Deb gave him to convince Pedro that he has a girlfriend who lives in Oklahoma.
  • A prospector in Paint Your Wagon admits that his girlfriend back home, Lisa, was entirely made up.
  • In the movie Prom, mega-dork Rolo claims to have a Greek-Canadian girlfriend named Athena who looks like a model and who he's taking to prom. Everyone is certain she's fake until Rolo arrives with the lovely Athena on his arm.
  • In Snakes on a Plane, every time the highly effeminate male steward mentions his "girlfriend", the people listening roll their eyes and assume her to be this. Until the end, where she shows up and they immediately start making out.
  • Double Subverted in Three Wise Men. Rauno claims to be in a relationship, which his friends don't believe. It turns out he does have a lover, but it's a man.
  • In a deleted scene in Trick 'r Treat, Laurie claims she is not a virgin; citing an incident with Dave, an attorney at the law firm in Toronto where she interned. The other girls don't believe it for a moment. Of course, 'virgin' has a different meaning in these circumstances.
  • In A Very Brady Sequel, Jan, trying to make Marcia jealous, invents a boyfriend named George Glass using Line-of-Sight Alias. Subverted when she tracks down an actual George Glass by movie's end. This was a storyline on the original TV Series.
  • Possibly director Corky St. Clair's wife Bonnie in Waiting for Guffman, though she supposedly lives in town with him, not in some distant locale. Nobody ever seems to have met Bonnie, and there are hints ("I buy most of her clothes") that "Bonnie" may be a cover story for crossdressing or some more peculiar activity.

    Literature 
  • Gender-inverted in Dork Diaries. MacKenzie didn't manage to get a date to go to the prom with, so she tells everyone that her date is playing in the band.
  • In The Extinction Gambit, the first novel of The Extraordinaires, Evadne claims to have a fiancé named Clarence and shows Kingsley a picture of him she keeps in a locket. At the end of the book, Evadne admits that Clarence does not exist and the picture is one she cut out of a postcard.
  • In The Great Gatsby, protagonist Nick has a romance with Jordan, but it ends somewhat badly. During their last conversation, she claims that she's now engaged to someone else, but Nick privately suspects that she may be lying.
  • I Am J: J tells a girl he likes that he has a girlfriend in Philadelphia, but they're on the verge of breakup. This comes back to bite him several times later on.
  • Older Than Print: In Mary de France's 12th-century poem, Lanval, Sir Lanval responds to Queen Guinevere's insinuation that "women are not what you prefer, but that there are very many pretty boys with whom you prefer to take your joys" by saying that he does have a girlfriend... she's just... a mystical being... who Guinevere doesn't know... and whom Guinevere can never meet... yeah, that makes sense. Made all the more amusing by the fact that it's true.
  • The Overstory: Neelay lies to his mother about having a girlfriend after years of her expressing her worry about him never having one.
  • In Marco Denevi's noirish novel Rosaura at 10 O'Clock, a young man whose nosy neighbors get on his case about not having a girlfriend tells them he's having a secret affair with a married woman named "Rosaura" and sends himself perfumed letters. (Therefore, he's very surprised when one day his landlady tells him, "Rosaura was here this morning asking for you"...)
  • In Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning anthology short story "The Thing About Cassandra", the fifteen-year-old British protagonist makes up the titular girlfriend, pretending to have met her on a skiing holiday. After three trips to London for imaginary dates (claiming he lost his virginity after the second one), he laments to his mother and friends that she "moved to Canada," which in his mind sounded more realistic than America. About twenty years later he is surprised to learn Cassandra has somehow contacted his childhood friend on Facebook, later appearing in the flesh and talking with his mum at the grocery store. As it turns out, he was her imaginary boyfriend.
  • In the Georgette Heyer novel The Unknown Ajax, Hugo invents a fiancée back in Yorkshire as a way of gracefully getting out of an Arranged Marriage to Anthea. She's already told him that she doesn't want to marry him, but apparently he feels that he must be more tactful. They change their minds.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick wants to invite Nina and her boyfriend to dinner, but Mary suspects that Nina's boyfriend doesn't actually exist. The quickness with which Nina turns down the invitation to a double date does not assuage that suspicion.
  • On 30 Rock:
    • Liz Lemon's man-bashing comedy book causes serious damage to her male friends' relationships, including Lutz, who complains that his girlfriend is very upset, in Canada. Lutz's girlfriend in Canada also has a website specifically dedicated to proving she exists.
    • Lampshaded with Liz's real boyfriend:
      Liz: I'm actually seeing someone right now. And he's never around because he's a pilot. His name is Carol.
      Ritchie: That sounds really fake.
      Liz: I know how it sounds!
    • And again with her next boyfriend with a throwaway line about having a "boyfriend in Canada" when Frank claims to have a girlfriend, conveniently explaining why he didn't show up in that week's episode.
      Liz: Seriously, Criss is in Canada this week.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard tells the others this when he actually does get a girlfriend. She's out of town when Leonard's mom comes over... which is unfortunate since Leonard's mom is convinced he and Raj are in the closet.
      Howard: She had to go out of town, her grandmother died.
      Mrs Hofstadter: I see. [to Sheldon, eyebrows raised] Her grandmother died.
      Howard: Honest to God — Leonard, tell her I have a girlfriend.
      Leonard: I don't know what you're talking about.
    • And Amy Farrah Fowler admits she once told her family she had a boyfriend who was a miniature horse breeder. The lie unravelled when she was asked where they met. She panicked and said "Woodstock".
  • In Blindspot, Patterson points out that Rich Dot Com values his work at the FBI more for friendship than redemption because has no real friends. Rich retorts that he does have friends, but they live in Canada.
  • In an episode of The Brady Bunch, Jan pretends to have a boyfriend named George Glass. She also does the same thing in A Very Brady Sequel, and at the end of the movie, ends up finding a real boyfriend with the same name.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a now-vampiric Harmony says that her boyfriend will get revenge for the Scoobies defeating her. Willow is skeptical, as she apparently made claims like this in high school: "Oh, he goes to a different school, you wouldn't know him." This is immediately subverted as we cut to Harmony meeting with said boyfriend, Spike.
  • On Burnistoun, The Doberman, an awkward, nerdy superhero who's very sensitive about still being a virgin, repeatedly claims without prompting to have a girlfriend, who happens to be up at his Gran's.
  • Cheers: In one episode, Cliff claims he fooled around with a woman in Florida; in reality, the letter belonging to "her" was the hotel threatening to sue him for stealing almost everything from his room. In a subversion, Maggie is a real girlfriend of Cliff's — and she moves to Canada.
  • On Chef!, after Savannah develops a crush on Gareth, she invents an imaginary boyfriend who is constantly buying her flowers in the hope of making Gareth jealous of the competition. It doesn't work.
  • Chuck: Emmett Milbarge claims to have a girlfriend named Henrietta in Ontario. Until it became the real thing, Chuck's relationship with Sarah was a variation of the trope in that Sarah existed, was not only in on the lie but came up with it, and everybody actually believed it.
  • According to Stephen Colbert, this is what North Dakota is to South Dakota. It's a long story.
  • In Community, Pierce, during his accidental phone call, tells his mother that he has one.
  • The Facts of Life: Everyone assumed Natalie's boyfriend, a motorcycle-riding bad boy named "Snake", was made up. He does eventually show up in the flesh, but not before an episode-ending Un Reveal gag where Natalie promises they'll actually show Snake next time.
  • Frasier:
    • Gil's wife, "Deb" — an Army reservist, owner of her own auto repair shop, and graduate of Sarah Lawrence. In one episode Gil mentions wanting to bring her to an office function. When the other characters express surprise at her existence, Gil complains he has often spoken about going home to her. The others, assuming he was gay, thought he was talking about his cat.
    • In another episode, Frasier is actually dating an ex-Victoria's Secret model who previously dated an NFL player, and is going to the Galapagos Islands to research for her PhD. Through a string of unlucky circumstances, no one meets her, so they assume Frasier is making her up.
  • In the pilot episode of Glee, Sandy Ryerson claims that the scandal that got him sacked almost cost him his long-distance girlfriend in another city. Will does not look convinced.
  • The Goodwin Games: Henry's fiancée, Kate exists but since she has yet to be seen by anyone in Granby (and the audience), they assume he is making her up.
    Keith: Henry, is Kate, by any chance, Canadian?
    Henry: Are we really debating the existence of my fiancée?
  • Subverted in the Grounded for Life episode "Space Camp Oddity", where Brad says that he had a girlfriend at Space Camp, and brings up several lame excuses when people want to meet her. Eventually, she appears, played by Mila Kunis.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Ted regrets that he didn't know the Canadian Robin in high school. "You could've been the Canadian girlfriend I told everyone I had!"
  • In The Inbetweeners, Jay claims to have had tons of sex with the girls at Caravan Club. When his friends call his bluff and agree to accompany him to Caravan Club, their suspicions that he has been lying are quickly confirmed.
  • In The IT Crowd episode "Jen The Fredo", Moss talks about a girlfriend he had "on holiday", causing Roy to snap "They're always on holiday, aren't they Moss?".
  • Bohort's wife in Kaamelott is an interesting example in that she's mentioned by Bohort as getting very sick whenever she goes anywhere, and is thus never seen. Everyone goes "Sick. Riiiiiiiight.", but at the end of the episode, we do see his wife. It should be mentioned that she shows up to enforce the character's heterosexuality, as Bohort's very... refined nature ended up putting the actor on the cover of a gay magazine.
  • The Middle has the (allegedly) Camp Straight Brad, ex-boyfriend and close friend of Sue, references his own Canadian girlfriend when scolding her for talking about herself.
  • According to Misfits, France is England's Canada:
    Simon: Then what's her name?
    Nathan: Errrr... Mon... Eiiiik... Ka. Moneeka. She's French.
    Simon: Well, you should invite her to the party.
    Nathan: Oh well, she's in France, on account of being French.
  • Mock the Week: During a round of "If this is the answer, what is the question?", the answer was "A million a week". One of Rhys James' questions was:
    "As a teenager, how many girls who went to a different school did I claim to have got off with over the summer holidays?"
  • In the Modern Family episode "The Day We Almost Died", Alex’s best choice for prom apparently finds a girlfriend in Canada after a photo of her in the middle of a mustache waxing is posted.
    • Manny dates a Canadian girl he met at camp and can't convince anyone that she's real. He ends up arranging a Face Time call with her so his family can see she exists. She ruefully admits that this isn't the first time she's had to do one of these calls.
  • Subverted in "Mr. Monk and the Employee of the Month". Randy's girlfriend appears to be one of these: the picture he shows Sharona is the one that came with his wallet ("She's a wallet model!") and he gives what appears to be a Line-of-Sight Alias... except that at the end of the episode, she's actually shown waving to him from a taxi (and shouting that she loves him). Unfortunately for Randy, none of the others get to see her before she leaves, leaving her existence in Cassandra Truth territory.
  • NewsRadio S03E01, Matthew (Andy Dick) insists that some women like his moustache, when challenges to provide examples he claims Jill... she lives in Canada, you wouldn't know her.
  • The O.C. did this twice. In Season One, Oliver Trask mentioned his girlfriend Natalie Bishop who "went to Pacific". Natalie Bishop was a middle-aged woman who worked in the hotel Oliver lived in. She says she'd "known him since he was a little guy", which adds to the creepiness. In Season Two, The less crazy Zach Stephens mentioned a girlfriend he met in Italy named "Francesca".
  • In The Office (US), when Dwight is calling various people out for having had sex in the eponymous office:
    Dwight: As has Angela, as has Ryan, as has Kelly, as has Meredith...
    Kevin: As has Kevin!
    Angela: With who?
    Kevin: She goes to another school!'
  • Red Dwarf: In "Can of Worms", Cat claims that he is not a virgin because he knows these two lady cats that live on Z deck. And who the others have never met.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Love Taps", the Victim of the Week works for a company that provides imaginary online boyfriends for women.
  • In So Random! on the "Learning Spanish" sketch, the Spanish "teacher" (Nico) remarks that Peter (Chad) is ugly, to which Peter replies, "I have a girlfriend.", then Nico says that his girlfriend is fake, to which Peter replies, "She lives in Canada." Then Nico remarks, "Canada is a country where fake girlfriends live."
  • Stranger Things: At the start of Season 3, Dustin returns from some time away at summer camp, claiming to have met a girl named Suzie while he was there, who lives in Utah. Everyone else in the Party is understandably skeptical that she actually exists. The season finale reveals that she actually is, and she ends up being plot-important.
  • In Victorious, it's subverted in the episode "Prom Wrecker". Cat tells Robbie she can't go to the prom with him because she already has another date, who's from a different school. When Robbie accuses her twice of lying during the prom, she gives him an excuse as to why her date's not with her at the moment. But the second time, we learn her date actually is real and her stories were true after all.

    Music 
  • "Jesse" by Ivri Lider mentions that the singer's crush supposedly has a girlfriend (or at least a crush) elsewhere. Whether he actually does or is just saying so is hard to tell.
    I love a boy named Jesse, but Jesse doesn't love me back
    He says he has a girl in Chelsea he wants so much
  • In the They Might Be Giants song "Withered Hope", it's mentioned "Withered Hope says she has a soul-mate / Living in a city in another state". Wait a minute...

    Podcasts 
  • According to Plumbing the Death Star, the one problem with dating Freddy Kruegar is that everyone would assume you're just making him up to puff your ego since he only exists in the dreamworld. Zammit is very put off by this, not wanting to be "that guy."

    Radio 
  • In Warhorses of Letters. the surreal BBC Radio 4 series about the relationship between Wellington's horse Copenhagen and Napoleon's horse Marengo, Marengo's Stalker with a Crush, Marcie, claims he's got a girlfriend that no-one's ever met. Then she dies, and he goes through the Four Stages of Grief: Denial, Following Marengo Around, Sexual Promiscuity and Acceptance. Copenhagen isn't convinced.

    Theatre 
  • Avenue Q: Possibly the most famous example, Rod sings "My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada", which provides the page quote.
  • Dear Evan Hansen's Jared Kleinman mentions that he got to second base under-the-bra with a girl who is going to be in the army while he was at summer camp.
  • In The Sorcerer, J. W. Wells invents a fiancee in the South Pacific to try (unsuccessfully) to deter Lady Sangazure from pursuing him. He admits in an audience aside that it's all a lie.

    Video Games 
  • Invoked in a dialogue option in Dragon Age: Origins.
    Jowan: A few months ago, I told you that I... met a girl. This is Lily.
    Mage Player Character: Ah. I was beginning to doubt her existence.
  • In Hypnospace Outlaw, Corey and Zane, two members of the Teentopia community that go to the same school, claim to have long-distance girlfriends, and these girlfriends do have their own pages. Metadata the player, as an Enforcer, can access indicates they were made with the same headbands as their "boyfriends". Zane's is pretty obvious since it's entirely her gushing about him. Corey puts a bit more effort into creating an One of the Boys dorky persona for his fictitious girlfriend, but it's still blatant.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude:
    "Are you a virgin?"
    "No, she lives in Canada."
  • In the Mass Effect series, Conrad Verner occasionally makes reference to an unseen wife who puts up with his obsession with Shepard. The third game reveals that he just made her up. Andromeda has a different spin on this, where his sister Cassandra thinks this was going on with Conrad's encounters with Shepard (thanks to Conrad having exaggerated his encounters with the Commander just a teeny bit).
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, after Qara questions the size of "Ironfist manhood":
    Khelgar: Wh-what?! I'll have you know plenty of women know about Ironfist manhood! Plenty! They just all live up... around Waterdeep... or they'd tell you!
  • In Sonic Chronicles, Amy will go on and on about her boyfriend Dexter, who's smart and funny and kind and resourceful and heroic and basically everything she ever wanted Sonic to be, minus the habit of telling her to buzz off when she's trying to be affectionate. Yet we never get to actually meet Dexter, because Sonic happens to have rolled into town when Dexter's away on business. If you choose enough "nice" dialog choices over the course of the game, she'll eventually own up that she made up Dexter in an attempt to get Sonic jealous so that he'd acknowledge that she is, in fact, "his woman".
  • In the mobile phone game Surviving High School 11, in the episode "The New Girl", one of the male cheerleaders, Keith, tells your character (the titular new girl) that he has a girlfriend who lives in Canada. Since the character is also portrayed as being interested in musicals, with "immaculately gelled hair" and wearing designer jeans, this could be seen as a way of letting the player know Keith is gay.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Strong Bad claims to have many, many girlfriends... who we never see because they're supposedly visiting other planets, such as the "very special lady" from the Strong Bad Email "autobiography" or Delilelia from "senior prom".
      Strong Bad: And she was a very, very special lady. And she loved me so much and had skinny blonde hair and was always hanging out at the beach, gazing at a photo of me... Too bad when she had to go to another planet for reasons too complex to elaborate on. I'll probably never see her again. And neither will any of you.
    • A more literal example occurred in episode 6 of Marzipan's Answering Machine, in which he says his girlfriend "lives up in the other country" and stresses that "she's really real".
    • Teen Girl Squad has So-And-So's imaginary boyfriend Brett Bretterson. In a weird twist, she actually speaks to "him", much to the concern of the other girls. In a later episode, she claims that she broke up with him.

    Web Comics 
  • Referenced in 8-Bit Theater, after Drizz'l claims to have summoned the Four Fiends.
    Black Mage: I mean, where'd he get them? From his girlfriend, she's from Leflein, we don't know her?
    Drizz'l: We were pen pals.
  • Ash in Misfile doesn't want to deal with the awkwardness of a boyfriend while being a girl or having to explain who Rumisiel is, so she claims that he's her boyfriend from Canada who is visiting through a foreign exchange program. And so is his visiting brother. Who both live with her.
  • In Shaenon's X-Files parody webcomic Monster of the Week, Pheobe Green from the episode "Fire" is introduced by Mulder saying "Hey, Scully. Remember how I told you I did so have a girlfriend but she lives in England and you wouldn't know her?"
  • A non-relationship variant/parody in a Narbonic "Continuity Repairs With Rob and Andy" strip. How did Dave get a 1984 action figure in 1983? From his cousin in Canada, of course! "You wouldn't know him, since he's from Canada."
  • Questionable Content:
    • Dora mentions that Sven actually had a Canadian girlfriend and that his resulting screaming fight with the enraged Quebecoise was "the best Thanksgiving ever".
    • Deathbot 9000, on the other hand, apparently plays this trope entirely straight.
    • In addition, Raven briefly has a boyfriend in Canada. He eventually appears in person... and turns out to be a hobo.
    • Sven's claim to own a "’65 Les Paul" guitar is treated as such, as Gibson didn't build any Les Pauls in 1965. Turns out he thought he owned one. He got swindled and his guitar was built in 1983, not 1965—although it is a genuine Les Paul, so he was only partially swindled.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal gives St. Anselm a Canadian girlfriend.
  • In Skin Horse when Nick discovers that Aimee, the girl he's been talking to, "doesn't exactly exist", the obnoxious animatronic unicorn Baron Mistycorn finds this hilarious. Nick retorts that Phoebe, the Canadian model who's into unicorns, doesn't exist either.
  • Sleepless Domain: Most of the cast goes to Future’s Promise, the only school in town to accommodate the Magical Girl Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World schedule. One of the exceptions in Rue, due to being a Conspiracy Theorist about everything that the town has put in place to make Magical Girl life easier. However, Rue still does the monster fighting part and ends up partnering with Zoe, one of the newer students from Future’s Promise. Because of a plot development, Zoe and some of her classmates decide that none of them should go monster-fighting alone. Zoe declines an offer to join two of her classmates because she'll be with Rue and mentions she goes to another school. Zoe soon has to correct a classmate's assumption that she invented her teammate.
    Alt Text: She lives in Canada and her dad works at Nintendo.

    Web Original 
  • Al Bruno III's Binder of Shame, a series of satirical stories about a tabletop gaming group. One character claims to have a girlfriend in Canada. No one believes him, of course. He leaves for a year or so. In the meantime, a second fellow gets a girlfriend who actually shows up to gaming sessions. When the first fellow returns, he is very upset that the girl (yes, his girlfriend) has been cheating on him, and the second fellow gets upset that the girl failed to tell him she was Canadian.
    "I told you I was from Shadowed Innsmouth because I was afraid there would be a stigma."
  • Punk Rock fake newspaper The Hard Times has this article: "They Closed the Canadian Border? Now You Guys May Never Meet My Girlfriend!". The guy in the article doesn't seem to be gay, but is full of obviously inflated details about how cool, attractive, and accomplished his girlfriend is. The article deliberately brushes off how social media ought to make this kind of lie even more transparent.
  • The Onion has played with this trope:
  • Urban Dictionary entry here.

    Web Videos 
  • Dragonball Z Abridged takes Zarbon's camp-ness from canon and ups it oh so much... and then he reveals he has a girlfriend and had no idea everyone thought he was gay. Though Zarbon is implied to have been telling the truth, said girlfriend is never seen, and Freeza is convinced she's named Chuck.
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Mr. Collins claims to have a fiancée in Canada, which Lizzie is distinctly skeptical about. Charlotte refuses to confirm or deny the existence of said fiancée and implies that Mr. Collins has made her sign non-disclosure agreements about it. Subverted by the novelization, which confirms that she's real and does in fact live in Canada — Mr. Collins met her online.
  • This LoadingReadyRun skit, complete with highlighting the issues of this problem if you live in Canada.
  • Todd in the Shadows:
    • After To Boldly Flee, Todd and Lupa have one awkward date before she winds up going out with someone else. Todd tries to reassure himself that the new guy probably isn't even real since he "lives in Canada" or something. (The joke, of course, being that he actually does.)
    • Todd had earlier joked about this trope in his review of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" when he suggested that the Jerkass ex-boyfriend she was singing about wasn't real.
      Todd: Spends a lot of time in Canada, does he?
  • One Vampire Reviews episode opens with Maven/Elisa wearing a shirt that says "My Boyfriend is a Vampire."
    Maven: What? He is! So what if he lives in Canada? Our love is pure!

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • In the episode "Finances With Wolves", after Hayley joins a group of eco-warriors, their leader Arborious, a man who believes he is a tree trapped in a human body, reminds her that she needs to pass an initiation test to join his group. Hayley asks if it involves having sex with a tree or him, but Arborious tells her he's in a relationship with a "redwood in Canada".
    • The later episode "The 42-Year-Old Virgin" plays with a lot of classic sex tropes by applying them to killing instead of sex. Stan is outed as a "virgin" when he can't name the first person he killed, instead claiming it was a Soviet agent, "but you wouldn't know him, he was from Canada."
  • In Disenchantment, Elfo gets embarrassed about trying to kiss Bean and claims that he actually has a girlfriend in a faraway land, who's really tall, has red hair and only one eye. This ultimately leads to him getting into a Fake Relationship with a giantess.
  • Played with in DuckTales (2017). Fenton does have a girlfriend, but due to her being an agent of F.O.W.L., neither one is ready to come forward about the relationship yet. When his mother starts getting suspicious, Huey is forced to lie about the girlfriend's identity. He comes up with a French-speaking seamstress from Alberta named Melissa Beth Ellen. For some reason, the fact that a Canadian speaks French is considered the unrealistic part.
  • Family Guy: Meg Griffin occasionally pretends to be in a relationship, although none of her family members ever believe her.
    Meg: Don't mind me, guys, I'm just writing a letter to my boyfriend. (reading aloud as she types on a laptop) "Dear My Boyfriend, thank you for making out with me, recently, on purpose. That was cool. Those flowers that you totally sent me were really pretty, just like you say I am."
    Chris: You're so full of shit, Meg.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Impostor's Home for Make-'Em-Up Pals": Frankie spent most of an episode trying to expose a new imaginary friend as a real human pretending to be imaginary. The friend claimed his maker lived in Canada. Then it was revealed he really was imaginary and his maker really did live in Canada. In Frankie's defense, he could neither remember the name "Canada" nor pronounce it correctly once he did remember. Not only that but were it not for the faux clown nose he constantly wore (concealing his actual, very imaginary-looking nose), nothing about him would indicate he was anything but an ordinary human guy.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo, Quack Quack, Mr. Cat and Pretty do not believe that Stumpy's girlfriend Ursula, who he claims to have met online, exists, since nobody has seen her. The trope is subverted when Episode 116 reveals, to everyone's shock, that she's a real girl.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Connie is upset that Bobby put off getting tickets to the school dance until it was sold out. Apparently, all those nerds who claim to have girlfriends in other schools were actually telling the truth.
  • Mission Hill: Played straight with both Kevin and George. When told by Toby that George had a girlfriend in Singapore, Kevin mentions that he claimed to have a girlfriend in Canada ("because it's so far away, no one could ever check"). When he asks George if he's also lying, George responds "It's a more believable ethnic variation." Toby then asks them to stop bragging about their girlfriends.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: King Julien claims he has girlfriends in Canada, but you can trust him that they are made up... with lipstick and mascara, he means, but tastefully.
  • The Simpsons:
    • At an ice-skating event, Moe insists that all figure skaters are gay. Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko points out that this is a common misconception as he has a girlfriend in Vancouver, to which Moe retorts, "Made up girlfriend, made up city."
    • Subverted in the Treehouse of Horror XI segment "Scary Tales Can Come True" which parodies the story of Hansel and Gretel. Captured in the witch's gingerbread cottage, Lisa mocks her for not having a social life. The witch claims to have a boyfriend named George Cauldron (a riff on The Brady Bunch episode mentioned above) but Lisa and Bart are less than convinced. At the end of the segment, after Homer cooks the witch in her own oven, a handsome and real George Cauldron arrives and asks for her.
    • One episode had Lisa bemoan being unable to find a date to a dance, even among the nerds. Turns out their claims of having girlfriends at other schools were true.
    • In the episode "Barthood," Milhouse says he'll make up a girlfriend from Alberta named Alberta so that he doesn't have to remember two lies.
    • Subverted in an episode in which Bart tells Groundskeeper Willie that he has a new girlfriend, who awkwardly replies that he also has a girlfriend who happens to be a bikini model from Sweden. As soon as Bart walks away, said model comes out of his shack asking him to come back to bed.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Cupid's Errant Arrow", Mariner thinks Boimler's girlfriend Barbara is this, but she turns out to be real. For bonus points, she serves on a ship called the Vancouver.
  • Steven Universe: In "Restaurant Wars", Steven comes up with a plan to stop the feud between Mr. Fryman and Kofi Pizza that involves Kiki and Ronaldo pretending to be dating. Ronaldo protests, claiming he has an actual girlfriend. No one believes him. He's not kidding, though. She shows up at the wrong time, Ronaldo is Mistaken for Cheating and she breaks up with him, leaving him miserable for the rest of the episode.
  • The Super Hero Squad Show: After falling victim to a love potion that makes her fall head-over-heels for M.O.D.O.K., Miss Marvel says the worst part is that it made her cheat on her boyfriend. He's totally real. And great. And on a mission. In space. That's why no one else has heard of him. Of course, it eventually turns out that she does have a boyfriend in space: Captain Marvel.
  • Total Drama has Beth claim to have acquired a hot boyfriend at the start of Action, and her constant prattling about him drives everyone crazy until they finally chew her out about it... then comes the aftershow after she's booted off, where it turns out she really does have an incredibly hot and talented boyfriend, to the utter shock of everyone else.

    Real Life 
  • A non-gay version was done by undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone AKA Donnie Brasco. Pistone was married but was posing as an unattached jewel thief, and so needed a plausible reason for the other mobsters why he didn't put the moves on other women or was away to see his real family. So he'd pretend to have an out-of-state girlfriend.
  • Played with, in the 2018 Justin Trudeau "My Canadian Boyfriend" calendar.
  • Proving this trope Older Than Feudalism, one record claims that Sappho (yes, that one) had a husband named Kerkylas of Andros. Most people are pretty sure that this was Sappho (or a later poet) either joking or telling a very inept lie, given that "Kerkylas" is derived from "kerkos", meaning "penis," and "Andros" means "man." The Other Wiki, in a truly wonderful sentence, notes that this is comparable to claiming you're married to Dick Allcock from the Island of Man.

Alternative Title(s): Imaginary Wife, Girlfriend From Canada

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