“As I held her hand and saw mortal life drain from her fingers, I confess I was overcome. Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams, to use the words of a song then popular. She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the lord – really, my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.” – President Gordon B. Hinckley about his wife, Marjorie.
Before we get in to this, let’s get one thing straight… This is not a feature about online dating, if you want to know about finding “The One “online then sign yourself up to match.com, or e-harmony (or PlentyofFish if you just want a fuck). No, this is about dating online; I’m talking about going through your friend’s profile and picking out future husbands, I’m talking about instant messaging some boy you met three years ago and building up a relationship, I’m talking about living out your life on-line so your ex-man feels shitty that he dumped you and stomped on your heart (the utter bastard).
It’s a totally different world to the one our ‘rents grew up in. Gone are the days of meeting your prospective partner at a dance, and him walking you home with only the possibility of a hand-hold. Gone are the long walks, love letters and months of whispering sweet nothings to each other until you finally give in to a kiss. Now, it seems that if we want to meet a guy without picking up a weirdo at a bar, we’ve got to get ourselves online and promote, promote, promote! Think of it like job-hunting; searching for hours, uploading flattering images on Facebook and making sure your tweets are witty, flirty, but not desperate.
A couple Saturday nights ago I was sat in my pyjama’s with a BFF of mine, Amy. We were doing what most 20-something girls do when there’s not much on telly; searching though each other’s friends on Facebook and stating who we’d do, wouldn’t do, and who we’d have to get paid to do…
One of Amy’s friends (let’s call him Brummie Boy) caught my eye straight away and I declared “Yes, yes, OH HELL YES!” when we stumbled on a photo of him, which of course led Amy to tell me his whole sexual history (he’s single but still fucking his ex in case you’re interested). This got me thinking, how many times have I been sat with friends doing this, and they’ve asked about cute boys in my friend list? Too many, that’s how many… If you’re not loved up, or playing the field then perhaps the best way of meeting a prospective is to trawl through your friend’s friends and suggest a cupid-like hook-up.
In recent months I’ve not been using Facebook much in general, one because it seems that everyone on there is simply promoting a load of shit I don’t care about, and two because I’m a self-confessed Instgram junkie. But something happened a couple of weeks ago that has made me now check Facebook every third second of my day…
It was a cold, lonely Tuesday night and I was sat at home watching my cat chew on her tail. Suddenly, I received a notification on my phone saying I had a friend request from some
boy I didn’t know. Convinced it was a random spam account I left it, until boredom and curiosity got the better of me… As soon as I clicked on his profile I realised not only did I know him, but I’ve also done him. Over summer I was in New York and got inebriated with a friend of mine in a local Brooklyn bar. That night ended back in Manhattan, in an apartment, in a bed with a boy. I left early without remembering his name (I was sure it was Adam), and headed back in to Brooklyn to crack on with my day. I must admit that I liked this boy a lot; he was hot, and funny and nice, but seen as I was leaving a few days later I thought there was not much point in going for breakfast with the kid. Now, here I was almost 5 months later, on the other side of the world and the one-night-stand had found me online and wanted to be my friend (surely a marriage proposal is next right?!). What has ensued has been daily messages, ranging from sex talk to genuine kindness and eager to get to know one another. Suddenly I’ve become one of those girls that checks Facebook religiously and never, ever closes the tab on her browser just incase on-night-stand boy has sent me something.
There is something to be said for the wonderful accessibility that the Internet brings us. It used to be that a one-night-stand was just that – one night. Now, if you do try to be that mysterious woman who leaves a man begging for more, he can just go online and direct message you (while simultaneously whacking one out to your photos). But is that a good thing? What about if you don’t want to ever hear from that freak who made you do weird things to him?
Last year I started dating (and by dating I mean having regular sex) with a guy I met in a bar. The sex was great, he wasn’t. Quickly I had an odd-ball obsessive on my hands who would not leave me alone. All was fine and well for the first month, until I realized that even if I wanted to get him out of my life, he would make damn sure that he’d be staying in it… Although I deleted and blocked him on Facebook, there were regular ‘likes’ on my Instagram photos, and replies to any tweet I dare send. He could see everything I was doing on a day-to-day basis and began acting like he was part of my life. Scary.
The amount of personal stuff I disclose on social media means that anyone can learn everything about me, and visa-versa. If I want to see what (or who) my ex-man is doing, all I need to do is type his name in Google and get on to his twitter. I have made a conscious effort to never look at ex’s profiles, after a four year relationship ended horrifically and the boy I loved began posting photos of him and his (many) girls on Facebook. Nights were spent trawling through his feed learning that some of the girls overlapped in to our relationship. Years of love went down like a sack of shit as I learnt more and more of his infidelities. Friends of mine thought this was a good thing (“See, it shows you that he’s an arsehole!”) and perhaps it was, however I can’t help that feel ignorance is bliss. It used to
be that you would break up and not contact each other than perhaps a phone call now and again. You could live a peaceful existence pretending that your ex was spending his time crying alone, regretting ever leaving you. Now, you scroll through photos on Instagram to try to get your mind of the break-up, only to be confronted with images of your boy at strip clubs, on dates and generally looking like he’s never even known you.
When thinking about writing this piece, it seemed obvious that the best place to start was on Facebook its self. I posted a status asking people to get in touch with any experiences they’ve had with such matters. I was inundated with girls (and boys) messaging me about their dating experiences on the World Wide Web. The main thing that seems to be occurring is people being dumped on-line (excuse me?!) and finding out about affairs through twitter or tumblr. Friends, friends of friends and even strangers have told me stories of how their ex-partners have sent them online messages explaining that it’s not working out. One girl even mentioned that her man tweeted at her saying “I’m sorry. It’s over. #breakup”. Come on now! What kind of world is it that people think that’s acceptable??
Oh, and let’s not forget the poor souls that think everything is fine and dandy in their lives until they receive an e-mail, or direct message from someone who’s been shagging their man. Unfortunately, I’ve been a shoulder to cry on for far too many friends who have found out about affairs when the mistress has decided to take matters online.
There is no denying that with the way social media is going, it is so much easier to find out about extracurricular activity, and in turn, for said adulterer to not face up to the consequences and having a face-to face chat. But there seem to be plus sides too, many of my friends have got to know their partners (and hence fall for them more) by stalking them. If you have an interest, you can join Facebook groups or search hash tags and find a ton of men who share some common ground. Plus, if you do like guy you can always check him out online and if he’s single then you’ve got the green light! So maybe social media is the new speed-dating for people that are too busy to actually go out and meet anyone? Maybe the future consists of “Roses are Red…” tweets and marriage proposals though instant messaging? And maybe that’s ok? I, for one am happy for any romantic gesture, be it on or off-line. So, when my future baby daddy asks for my hand in marriage via Twitter, I’ll be sure to re-tweet it for you all to see…
“One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time. And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. I said, ‘Well, you’re the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?’ And she said, ‘Jolene.’ And I said, ‘Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene.’ I said, ‘That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I’m going to write a song about that.’ ” – Dolly Parton