Good old Robert.
It might surprise you, but Robert isn’t a recent character build. He’s actually been with me since I was a preteen.
I didn’t have many friends growing up, mainly because I didn’t attend school, was in very small churches most of my childhood and also was not involved in any extracurricular activities.
As this was the case, my over-active and very vivid imagination was looking to fill that gap in my life. And I did. But Robert wasn’t the first.
First came the Backbrooks. They were your standard large homeschool family with…25 kids. (LOL!) And while I don’t remember ALL of their names, I still know quite a few of them, including Steve, Lydia, Erica….Timothy, Thomas, Titus…”
eehhhhh. Yeah, that’s probably all I can remember.
ANYWAY. They came first. But then they needed friends, so I invented the Kyles. The Kyles had three sons: John, David and Joseph. They played Christian rock music. And legit I would pretend they were the ones I was listening to when I played anything by Sonic Flood, Newsboys or Jars of Clay.
Embarrassingly enough, I absolutely did crush on my own characters back then, I just also had a knack for marrying them off. And upon further reflection, I now wonder if I did this because I wanted to avoid my family getting suspicious that I had crushes on my characters. (Oh yeah, and crushes were evil where I come from. ;))
So, yes, anyway. They were the beginning. I invented the Backbrooks before the age of 10/11 while we were living in our mobile home.
Robert came to mind in my dreams first. And slowly I would piece him together more fully. Throughout the years he became a sort of “role model” for me because in my head he was everything I wanted to be: firm in his beliefs with a very strong sense of justice, unapologetic and didn’t care who was in charge–he would do the right things no matter what that meant.
As a serial people-pleaser, I was in awe of the way my brain could create this type of character, to be honest. So, yes, there were times I would wish to God that Robert was real and would rescue me immediately. But also, sometimes I would play the insane person and pretend I was talking to him and asking for his advice because, well. You know. He wasn’t real. lol. And I didn’t feel like I had anyone else.
The older I’ve gotten, the further Robert faded into my memory. I still knew his full name and his birthday and his favorite colors and those silly things, but it occurred to me earlier this year that I really wanted to expand on him and create stories from it, if possible. He would be the beginning and then of course, I would branch out to other members of his family and his neighbors and so on and so forth.
I ended up realizing just how much fun it could be, too, to have AI generate an image of something that had only previously been in your head.
So anyway, this is Robert Eric Erenstein: according to AI. And it’s almost accurate, tbh.
Robert, or “Rob” as he came to be known by me and my younger siblings, as well as my best friend (who also would help brainstorm the stories behind him and his brother Will’s shenanigans at the church we were attending at the time) has chocolate brown eyes, dirty blond-brown hair, just a hint of stubble and is about 5′ 10 1/2″
Yet another AI interpretation of Robert. It’s giving Property Brothers, but also: I approve.
This is Rob’s cat, according to AI. He named it Fruitcake as a joke and it stuck.
About three months ago, when my friend and I suddenly got re-interested in the Erenstein story and started brainstorming, I made this graphic on Canva as a way to represent what his dating profile would have on it. I’m still low key crying with laughter.
If you know anything about the Enneagram, you’ll know 8s are power-hungry and controlling at their worst. (Lol.) I didn’t realize until I was trying to determine WHAT Rob’s enneagram type was that he was 100% an eight.
ANYYWAYYYY…LONG BACK STORY OVER. lmao. Here is the initial write-up I created a couple of months ago:
Robert Eric Erenstein
Sexual (his enneagram subtype) and an 8w7
Stacking/tritype: 8 (his dominant type) followed by 7 and then 3.
Brownish/blonde hair – chocolate brown eyes – 5′ 10 1/2″
Has a cat named Fruitcake (was a joke but became the name. Original name was Franklin)
Hates Taylor Swift (seemingly because his sister Josa was obsessed for so long and only listened to T Swift)
Is generally not good at budgeting or being frugal.
Enjoys: canoeing, hiking, cooking.
Is an avid runner.
IG handle is: mommys_lucky_charm because he’s bitter that she’s following him.
The bio on IG would be like:
This page is my mother’s perspective of how my life is going. Spam if you’re a real one. ✌🏻
Favorite color is maroon.
Favorite foods are bbq meatballs, mashed potatoes, hotdogs, but like the kind you get at a baseball game, mama Mia dip (this was a recipe I invented for them), dirt cake and pickle chips.
Fave restaurant is Steak and Shake
Hates Dunkin, drinks only Starbucks.
Shops exclusively at Whole Foods, Target and Meijer.
He drives a maroon Subaru SUV
He’s one of those people who gets the custom credit cards and it’s gonna be a photo of his dog in full Easter gear. Bunny ears, eggs, etc.
He plays drums.
Hates sandals but is almost always in flip-flops. Like. Exclusively except when forced to wear something else. Even when he’s running. The soles of his feet hate him.
Even when he goes to bed early even when he’s on vacation like literally no matter what. At 11:32 pm on Tuesday nights he gets up and makes six White Castle burgers in the microwave and listens to the overwerk while shoving them down. Brushes his teeth, and goes back to bed.
He did mushrooms once and swears he’ll never do drugs but Jed (his bro) has a vape pen that Rob is convinced is just CBD and it’s actually THC and Rob borrows it more than anyone.
His car is named The President.
He refuses to use Facebook but willingly uses other Meta products and tries to convince everyone it’s different. (It’s literally not)
He exclusively watches movies in VR headsets. He would prefer buying a friend a new VR headset than having to sit through a movie in a normal way.
He likes going on cruises to the Bahamas but he spends the whole time in the stateroom sleeping or playing candy crush on his phone
He refuses to let anyone bring their phones when hiking with him
His celebrity crush is Reese Witherspoon
His fave cartoon as a child was Johnny Test. 100% had a crush on the two older sisters in the show
Has a thing for redheads and blondes
Now lives with Jed and Justin.
He has 8,427 photos in his gallery rn, half of them are screenshots of the ridiculous conversations with his mother that he then sends to the group chat with himself, Will, Jed and Justin.
The rest are photos of his daily Starbucks, random elevators that he thinks look cool, funny license plates and cat memes.
He’s a Calibration and Instrumentation Technician
Rob always has to say “and for the record…” every single conversation
He’s gotten out of 3.5 speeding tickets, don’t ask and also one parking ticket
His favorite bird is a Pelican
His Vice is skittles
He wears baseball caps a lot but backwards only and with the sunglasses on top because it makes him feel cooler.
He is regularly fighting his younger bro about the fact that he, Rob, is a half inch shorter than Will (his bro).
He likes snow cones. A lot. He will always stop if he sees a snow cone vendor.
He swears by crest teeth whitening strips
He secretly listens to Disney sing-alongs and is embarrassed about it so his Spotify is private.
He knows the Tango from learning it in a Middle School homeschool
Co-op. Brags to this day.
Is very rambunctious in nature, a little obnoxious, but loving and caring. Doesn’t like rules and likes showing up people periodically when he thinks they’re “getting a little too big for their britches”
Still likes to play capture the flag and tag.
Is hoping sometime someone will give him free tickets to Disney so he doesn’t have to buy but he still gets to go and have fun.
Likes surprise parties.
And yeah! That’s it. For now. There’s actually so much depth already built in, for example: he lives with his brothers and his older brother Jed ends up buying a rug for their front door that says “The Place Where Love Comes to Grow” and Rob and Will don’t notice it, but Justin, (his younger brother) does and is generally very embarrassed about it.
I’ve already done write-ups for their neighbors, how they met their neighbors, why Robert was pissed when they moved, how he got his Maroon car and why it’s named The President and so on and so forth. If you found this interesting, I definitely hope you’ll come back at some point to continue the adventure!