Distracted Boyfriend

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The “Distracted Boyfriend” meme is well past “Peak Virality” at this point, but I thought it would be fun to transplant Jason and Jay into it, and give the “triangle” a different dynamic based on their relationship.

The original image is about monogamy, and how some people aren’t very committed to it… at least not as much as their partners want them to be. But you know, not everybody expects that. My boyfriend and I were never in the situation of the original image… not because we were both 100% faithful and our eyes never strayed, but because neither of us was bothered if that happened. if someone attractive caught my eye, he’d usually either join me in looking at them (if he shared my opinion), or (if not) sarcastically bring me down to earth… like this. Or vice versa.

I melded photographs with illustration before this one… it’s a technique that allows me to create a more rich and real environment for a story than I could accomplish by drawing the whole thing. I coined the term mezzo-fumetti to describe this method of mixing drawings into photocomix, and I’ve done it several times. This was a different challenge, though. Ordinarily I take original photos of empty environments and add the figures, but in this case the cast was already (mostly) present.

I decided to leave “the Other Woman” as she originally appears, because she’s already cute, and perfect just as she is for this microdrama. But I had to redraw “Boyfriend’s” face, for the obvious reason of it being the wrong face, and because the original expression wasn’t right. I used the original head as a framework, and digitally painted over it. “Girlfriend”, however, needed to be replaced entirely: wrong character, wrong pose. Rather than painting Jay entirely, which would be inconsistent and look out of place, I scoured the gallery of the meme’s original photographer to find a suitable second figure. I pasted that figure over “Girlfriend”, but erased its original head, which was posed all wrong. Then I painted Jay’s head from scratch. I am definitely not a painter (not even digitally), and it kinda falls into the Uncanny Valley of Not-Quite-Real… but it’ll do.

(Apologies to Antonion Guillem – the original photographer – for re-appropriating his photo. My admittedly feeble “fair use” justification is that 1) the cat is out of the bag and wandering the internet, which renders the economic value of the image nil, 2) I’ve altered it substantially, and 3) my use of it here gives me an opportunity to discuss the image and the cultural context and meaning of it.)