You’re Welcome, Men.
We’ve created a monster. By “we” I mean men, of course. Men created this beast of suspicion and manipulative thinking with too much free time and ready access to the internet. Which is far more dangerous than anyone realizes, unless you’re like me and devote pathetic amounts of time to thinking about obscure things like this. I hope, for you’re sake, you’re not like me.
Anywho. I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s a regular topic amongst my girlfriends and I, but I just googled myself (I do this quite regularly, actually) and was not very excited about the results. I have a fairly unique name which makes it pretty easy to know if google or facebook or twitter is actually referencing me or someone else masquerading as me. Because I regularly use the internet as a weapon against men I date, I like to make sure that whatever someone could find on me via some creeping isn’t too unsavory.
I was quite disappointed to find that the internet (and probably the world at large) does me NO favors in the realm of cyber-espionage. I don’t seem all that interesting, the pictures are horrendous, and it’s a lot of dated stuff that would lead someone to believe I have no life and just loiter around sorority houses. It doesn’t even have any cool “maybe she’s a bad-ass” or “wait, is that illegal?” references. Google image-searching me does however, result in a shit ton of pictures of fur coats, which is so totally relevant considering I can’t even afford a fur coat and even if I could, I’d have to be rufied to wear it. Damn you, misleading search engines.
Before I get too wrapped up in my own results, it should be mentioned that facebook/google/twitter/linkedin/myspace and a few other social sites have been invaluable in my dating successes (cough fails cough). Since I’m absolutely maniacal if I get a purpose and a keyboard in front of me, I’ve been able to dig up criminal histories (lots of DUI’s in 20-something men these days) relationship statuses, and uncovered various “deal-breakers” before even walking into the first date. Never go in un-armed, is the lesson I suppose I’m trying to relay. And of course, never become un-armed because men are stupid and not to be trusted and will sooner or later fuck up without having he brains to cover it up correctly on the internet. At which point you
go all Lorana Bobbit on his ass adddress it like an adult and explain that the sheer number of facebook friends you have means there is no such thing as a secret anymore in his world. In a totally non-you-may-want-to-get-a-restraining-order kind of way, of course.
Our generation is the first one to traverse this territory that stupidly combines internet and romance. We were the kids in chat rooms in the 90’s and the ones giggling at mentions of “cybering.” Our peers pioneered friendster and myspace and then watched the phenomenon of facebook take over basic human interaction in all developed countries. And then, a few broken-hearted women managed to turn all those things into yet another weapon against the men that pissed them off, all before men even knew what the fuck hit them. And still, as women trade log-ins to see what they are barred from otherwise viewing and googling into page 44, men underestimate the levels of
crazy dedication we can reach when we have enough wine and time. The point is: we’re making up the rules as we go, and the rules, as I understand them are quite simple. To summarize- if it’s on the internet and at all accessible without a security clearance from the Department of Homeland Security, it’s fair game. Men will have to learn to defend themselves a little better, and they no doubt will find a way to do that and continue on with their tendency to act first, think later without the ramifications of some crazy exes blowing up his statuses on facebook and tagging him in all kinds of things never meant for the public to see. But in the meantime, men would be smart to remember that the internet, despite its attractive fantasy-sports leagues and plethora of porn is not their friend. Not even kind of.
I asked someone recently what the difference was between generic curiosity and actual “creeping.” The answer? When it has the capacity to hurt your feelings.