Tag Archives: fake boyfriends

Bad Ass Babes: Jillian Conley Dishes on Sex, Love & Timing

c177f2_450bf14e27824953995ec731a4e3cc27.jpg_srz_234_352_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz“My career is where it is because of the lessons I’ve learned. I failed English and that inspired me to become a writer. I failed a relationship and that inspired me to write about love, dating, timing and sex,” said author Jillian Conley as we sat at Rise Sushi, sipping on pinot grigio, shaking off the fall chill.

And write about those things she did. In her latest book, Loving Mr. Wright, Conley wraps up the novella series of Audrey Buchanan, a spunky woman who’s on the search for love.

Failing high school freshman English was a true turning point in Conley’s life. When she returned sophomore year, Conley had determination that turned into passion. “We had to read The Great Gatsby, and I decided I was going to actually read it–not just use the Cliffs Notes,” Conley said. She wore her signature black beanie cap over her long, chestnut hair. Her eyes smiled as she talked. “I absolutely fell in love with the book. There’s something about Fitzgerald’s writing and that twisted love story. And that’s when I thought, ‘I want to write something like that.'”

Conley’s Love, Sex, & Timing series could be described as twisted, but it’s more the journey of Audrey Buchanan–and her racey details–that have created such a loyal fan base.

“Audrey represents a lot of me. And so I didn’t want the series to end, which made me a hot mess finishing the book,” she says, laughing. “But I’m very confident in the ending I chose. Some fans weren’t thrilled with it. But I wanted to really let go. And give a happy ending…with a twist.”

Such a literary decision makes sense, as it reflects Conley’s own journey–one of twists and turns but ultimately leading to a life she’s carved out on her own. After working at a nine-to-five job right from college, Conley chose to make a go as a writer and published her first book, Maid of Honor. Shortly thereafter, she got into a serious relationship, which took away from her focus on writing, as she put all of her energy into building her boyfriend’s company.

“I realized I was getting depressed because all I was doing was living his dream,” she said. “Our relationship ended, and I wrote Dating Chase Walker in just over a month.”

She paused, clearly deep in memories from a lifetime ago. “I allowed myself to get lost in his world. And I think women do that a lot and they don’t realize it’s going to be the demise of the relationship.”

It’s lessons like these that Conley credits to her success. In addition to her success as an author, Conley is also the co-host of Social Chicago, a show that features the restaurants, fashion and culture of Chicago. After a solid run this past year, the show was picked up by the FAD Channel, with a scheduled December debut and national launch in early 2015.

“Our goal is to show those true Midwestern values and really bring that sweet home Chicago feel to the show,” Conley said. Between Conley and co-host Jeff Conway, the show is certain to capture that. The two have a reputation for being some of the nicest people in Chicago media.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t working with Jeff. He’s so incredible. Such a professional and the most patient man you’ll ever meet,” Conley said.

But Conley’s endeavors don’t stop there. In November, she and fellow writer Ana Fernatt launched HerMonthly, a radio show dedicated to talking about “all things women.” Conley makes it very clear that the atmosphere is casual and the topics are random. “We want it to be a girl sitting at home in her bathtub, having a glass of wine and laughing with us.”

So what’s next for the multi-talented Jillian Conley?

“Everything I do is because of writing. It all comes back to that,” Conley said. She took a deep breath, “So that’s what will lead me.”


For a chance to win an autographed Jillian Conley series, click on the following link: Autographed Set of Sex, Love & Timing by Jillian Conely

Loving Mr. Wright can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Be sure to check out HerMonthly radio show, which airs every third Monday of the month from 8:00-10:00 P.M.

Fake Boyfriends and Offensive Online Dating

Every girl should be so lucky to have a guy friend that steps in, just at the right moment, to fill that gap where the boyfriend used to be. It’s like eating Skinny Cow ice cream. All the flavor, none of the baggage.

I guess my buddy and I were lucky enough to have our monumental break-ups coincide so we could each use each other much like low-calorie desserts. So now we go through too many bottles of wine on my couch, text each other funny jokes throughout the day, hang by the pool, drink beers at Cubs games….all the things we once enjoyed in our relationships have seamlessly transferred into our platonic realm. It must’ve been what Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s marriage was like. But we laugh more.  

Yet it was when we attended May Fest in Roscoe Village, specifically to see This Must Be the Band, that it dawned on me how much of a replacement boyfriend he had become. My ex and I used to see all their shows, and since I couldn’t corral any of my girls to go, I called upon the one guy I knew I could count on. My Fake Boyfriend.

There’s never been any confusion about where we stand, which is part of the beauty of our hang out sessions. We can joke, and laugh, and dance, and discuss the complexities of our relationships’ failures.  And then, as the night wanes on, alcohol nudges us to disclose that maybe our last relationships have messed us up for good this time.

And it’s not that these aren’t healthy discourses. It’s just that we both have so clearly placed each other in the hole that our significant others used to fill. Kinda like America’s obsession from Lohan to Bynes.  

I realized that the reason I continue to call upon my Fake Boyfriend is the same reason I’ll talk to guys wearing Hawaiin shirts at the bar. There’s no chance it’s going anywhere. (And sometimes I can pawn a drink or two from Mr. Tiki.) 

So at the behest of my friends (who’ve become very tired of saving me at the bar from the creepy guy with the backwards Papa Smurf hat), I’ve decided to try online dating. It has not, however, done much to sway me from making movie plans with my Fake Boyfriend this weekend. 

Here’s a recap of the messages I’ve received so far: 

First Dude:”Hey beautiful, do you like younger men?” 
He was 18. For moral and legal reasons, I did not respond.

Second Dude: “Ur gorgeous & why aren’t u my girlfriend?” 
Me: “Because of pick up lines like that. And u is missing a few letters.”

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Dudes: All offended by opening profile line of: “I’m kind of a big deal. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells like rich mahogany.” (Hey, if they haven’t seen Anchorman, then I’m certainly not interested.)

Sixth Dude: Was so taken aback by my biting sarcasm that I ended up giving him advice on how to approach women because I felt so bad for hurting his feelings. 

That was Day One.

Rest assured, I will continue to give this a shot, much to the chagrin of the online dating community. I’m also receiving pressure to go on a Grouper date, which seems to be the new rage in this city. Let’s just hope one of the guys knows who Ron Burgandy is. My Fake Boyfriend certainly does.  

Follow me on Twitter @chloecline