Monday, 25 October 2010

In which I ponder the wisdom of dating and Facebook

I have recently taken what I consider to be a very large leap in my dalliance with The Northerner: I’ve accepted his friendship request on Facebook (ah, 21st century dating: it’s all romance, innit?). It’s a move unprecedented for me with previous romantic dalliances and one that, I believe, is fraught with dangers.

Facebook is one of those portals where people feel inclined to overshare the minutiae of their everyday lives (follow me on Twitter here, folks) – and let’s face it: most of us (if you’re doing it right) don’t have lives that live up to the exacting standards we’d wish to be seen by prospective partners.

The immediate and obvious panic is that they can see not only the pictures you’ve chosen to share, but also the ones your friends have insisted on tagging, whether it’s the carefully chosen profile pic where you’re looking sober and semi-presentable, or the ill-advised, unflattering close-up from the Hogmanay party where you appear to have drunk rather more than is attractive.

That, of course, works both ways. In a rare, snatched moment of peace whilst one sits at the desk munching on a sandwich, a wander through the photographs of a man with whom one is dallying can be an alarming thing. Pictures of Christmases and festivals, dinner parties and birthdays, proof of his prowess in the kitchen and a large social circle are all very well until you stumble across the picture of said chap in a dress with no apparent explanation, and suddenly you’ve snorted Diet Coke all over the keyboard and are considering one’s dating position whilst trying to avoid probing questions from one’s colleagues.

Another possible case of peril is that they’re able to snoop through the communications you have with other friends. If you’re like me (which, frankly, I wouldn’t wish on anyone), it probably wouldn’t take Chap in Question too long to work out that the ‘good friend’ who’s already cropped up in passing conversation has actually, at some point, been rather more than that, because there’s something not quite right about the tone of the messages he leaves on your wall, and those photos with him probably evoke just a whispered sense of we’ve seen each other naked. Of course, the less said about his brother, the better.

And as if that weren’t all bad enough, there’s the fact that having easy immediate access to so much information is frankly sucking what romance there is out of dating. Part of the joy of the early stages of seeing someone is discovering things about them, learning what makes them tick and the things you’ve got in common. But knowing before you’ve asked what they read at which university; that they like the XX and recently lost the house hamster to old age somehow detracts from the excitement of the dating process.

Of course, the jury’s still out on whether all of that is better or worse than his being able to see that, however many embarrassing photos or otherwise there are of you and your friends, there are at least three times as many of your cat.


Cher Ping said...

I've a quick solution for this: have 2 profiles - one for your normal friends. the other one filled with drop-dead gorgeous (or Photoshopped) pics of you taken with some flattering lighting. (This needs to be taken by someone who knows what they are doing, obviously).

Cher Ping
p.s. are you going to let us have your facebook account link too? ;)

Brennig said...

Blonde, FB is the Devil's sperm. I'm seriously considering deleting my profile and dropping it. Just my views...

The Pedant said...

It's amazing how many times in life it's better not knowing too much about someone else. Do you admit that you've been looking through his photos and that you found the one of him in a dress or do you try to push it from your mind and have a little worry-time-bomb ticking away there?

Facebook et al aren't real life and what you find out when you don't know the other person that well in real life can stop you forming your own views on based on who they really are.

Thankfully I'm past the stage where I have to worry about this kind of stuff (unless Mrs Pedant decides to waltz off with the postman, that is) but I can imagine finding it very difficult to get the balance right.

Blonde said...

Cher Ping: I'm not convinced I shouldn't be horribly offended by that comment...

Bren: Nice image there, Bren. But yes, I do know what you mean. Useful for stalking others though (go on - admit you do it too!).

TP: Thankfully he has since explained said dress photo. I still think I'd rather not have seen it, but such is life. The internet is evil. Fact.

nuttycow said...

Being friends on facebook isn't a bad thing. Of course I would say that - I live for facebook stalking. How else would I know that MIQ has rather nice legs and, sadly, looks hot as hell in a load of photos he's just put up? Well quite.

This step forward with TN is not something to be scared about - he likes you for you, remember. No matter what horrible photos/status updates etc may be lurking (and knowing you, there aren't any) it's all part of who you are.

Enjoy it woman, stop worrying.

Hc said...

He's befriended you? I had no idea it was so serious, i don't even have my wife as a friend. We're just not "there" yet

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Me and the boyfriend aren't friends on facebook. We agreed on date number 2 that it would never happen. Ever.

Can you imagine the paranoia of being thousands of miles apart while I was travelling, and then seeing a female writing "Great to see you last night!x" on his wall or something? Fuck. That.

theperpetualspiral said...

Facebook is a useful tool to keep in touch with people, but I cannot fathom why some people seem to live their whole lives through it.

In my experience, Facebook stalking never ends well and as such should be avoided!

Blonde said...

NC: Then you clearly have far less you don't wish people to know!

HC: Yes, yes. All right.

PDEWYMP: THERE! Someone else gets it. Phew. I know... But of course - now I can't go back...

TPS: You make it sound like there's a story there!

P said...

Argh, I'm jealous! I wish I had access to my Work Crush's facebook profile, but sadly he appears to not be friends with anyone from work on Facebook and therefore I don't really feel like I can request him. Oh and his profile is pretty much totally private. Sigh . . . online stalking is my mecca and I'm totally restricted because of his utter selfishness... :(

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