Being a long-time Oz and Law and Order fan, I have assembled quite an impressive roster of TV Boyfriends. In fact, I kind of prefer TV Boyfriends to the real kind.

Real boyfriends have annoying little quirks and disturbing physical imperfections that inevitably leave me disgruntled and disillusioned, wondering what I ever saw in them in the first place. TV Boyfriends, on the other hand, are consistently appealing. They're invariably good looking, even the worst villains don't make any serious demands, and when you get bored with one of them you can just change the channel and find another to suit your particular mood: Feeling a little devious? It must be a Ryan O'Reily day! Picked on at work? No problem – Detective Elliot Stabler is waiting in the wings to mete out a well-deserved perp-smack or two to the offending party.

Yep, when push comes to shove, the TV Boyfriend has it all over the real one.

Of course, there are fictional TV boyfriends and non-fictional TV boyfriends, and, up until about a week ago I always came down firmly on the side of the fictional ones. It's a lot less messy. You know what they're all about, they never have bad hair days, and if you ever have the misfortune of seeing photos of their real-life alter egos committing some horrific fashion faux pas (see Detective Elliot Stabler, above) you can just shrug it off with a sigh and a nod of the head to an actor's eccentricity.

So, although I'll admit to getting a bit wobbly-kneed over Anderson Cooper's choked-up Katrina reporting, I really don't have that much use for the living.  Besides, I like my TV Boyfriends to have a little edge to them. I mean, really - if you're already living on the other side of reality, you might as well go for broke, right? 

But last week all that changed when my dark and mysterious fictional felons were swept aside by the blazing glory of the Ultimate Good Guy TV Boyfriend: Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

I'd heard about this mysterious judicial zealot for months as he ran roughshod over the staid Washington establishment – jailing reporters, doling out subpoenas like Hershey's Kisses on Valentine's Day, and pursuing the crooked Bush administration with a single-minded relentless fervor. But few had ever actually seen him until last Friday, when he strode from the shadows into his press conference and promptly assumed center stage in my heart.

Clean-cut, articulate, and unabashedly principled, "Fitz," as he is referred to on progressive blogs, laid out his case against Scooter Libby with devastating precision while I hurriedly ticked off china patterns in my Williams-Sonoma catalogue. By the time he got to the reporters' questions, I was already filling out a registration form at, even as the corroded gears of my rusted-out biological clock slowly began creaking to life.

This was some serious shit.

What was it about Fitz, I pondered, glued to my television set throughout the evening, flipping from one 24-hour news channel to the next, desperate to catch every last replay of his press conference. Was it his razor-sharp intellect? His thoughtful demeanor? The dorkily charming baseball metaphors? That disarming  head-bob signaling a polite-yet-firm non-response to yet another intrusive reportorial demand? What?

No. It was the anger, I decided. The simmering outrage of the righteous, coupled with the cool assurance of the committed, made for a devastating combination. How could I not be drawn to such an alluring flame? That rage! That passion! That…jawline!

I swooned.

I cursed myself for failing to have had the foresight to TiVo the news. By the time I went to bed that night I had decided, for posterity and for the sake of our future grandchildren, I should find some means of documenting this dramatic paradigm shift in my attitude toward love, marriage, and multiple babies. So I dug out my diary and dusted off my pen and proceeded to chart my metamorphosis:

Saturday, October 29, 2005
Still in haze from Friday's events. Sleep in; awake to full color photo of Future Husband (FH) front page of Boston Globe. Clip and attach to refrigerator with colorful magnet. Gaze in rapt wonder as coffee perks merrily on counter.

Sunday, October 30, 2005
Morning talk shows abuzz with praise for FH. Swell with pride when even notoriously obtuse right-wing Russert panelists unanimously laud integrity of investigation. Words like "straight shooter" bandied about. Call parents and announce moving to Washington, D.C.  Mom, already up on news, reminds gently FH originally from Chicago but otherwise enthusiastically endorses plan.

Monday, October 31, 2005
Female talk radio DJ on Sirius Satellite radio publicly proclaims love for FH. Nearly drive off road in jealous rage shouting, "Hands off, bitch, he's MINE!" Spend remaining day on arranging contrived business trip to nation's capital to head off competition.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Ignorant troll on progressive blog remarks on mysterious wart-like protuberance on FH's forehead. Speculation ensues on comment thread. Group determines it is stress zit. Pore over refrigerator photo with magnifying glass, dismayed, but can't tell for sure what blotch is. Fail to confirm Expedia itinerary and forfeit reservation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Article on FH in Time Magazine with quote from childhood friend stating, "If he weren't a prosecutor he'd be a priest." Great. Future Husband gay.

Thursday, November 3, 2005
FH not gay after all. According to newspaper, has had dating relationships with women. Wonder how former girlfriends felt about thinning hair and tendency toward stress zits. FH later mocked on Daily Show rerun. Embarrassed on FH's behalf and mad at Jon Stewart. Begin wondering why Karl Rove not indicted along with Libby. Is FH too wimpy????

Friday, November 4, 2005
Watch CNN replay of entire press conference. Again. Notice for first time FH's eyes very close together and voice extremely quavery. Also not crazy about choice of tie. Scan TV Guide, spot SVU rerun on USA. Hesitate briefly, then change channel.

Pat Peeved