Thanks to Facebook, four of us collectively crowded around an iPhone at the Snug last night staring at a photo of my friend’s new boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend: an unfortunately attractive Asian woman curled up on a surfboard being all around adorable. Usually when Facebook is employed in a full stalking session, you can say comforting things like, “She has teeth like Mr. Ed” or “Why is she wearing flannel?” but, this particular individual appears to be upholding the international Asian credo of being ridiculously attractive with the uncomfortable but desirable proportions of a teenage girl.
There’s only one thing to say at this point, “I bet she’s stupid.”
“She’s a doctor.”
“Mmmm.” For whatever reason, my friend’s predecessor is no longer just an attractive doctor anymore in my mind either, but a pediatrician that solves juvenile cancer cases with her bag of magic and lollipops. I do what I can to make my friend feel better, which is why I volunteer, “You’re very good at camping.”
What is Facebook if not a Pandora’s box of too much information? Cyber stalking is the ultimate vice in that your brain is sated momentarily before the greed of curiosity compels you to gamble further with your feelings until you feel sick to your stomach. Suddenly aware that you’ve taken it too far, learned too much and can’t go back.
A couple of summers ago, a distressed friend of mine called to report that even though she was valedictorian of her college class, had a masters and read the NY Times on the weekend, the guy that broke her heart was ENGAGED to a woman who had posted an animated Precious Moments figurine that burped “I LOVE YOU” on his Facebook page.
As a person that takes some pride in knowledge of current events, I can’t imagine anything more disappointing than being second best to Precious Moments.
But, what does that even mean? Facebook fosters conjecture. We know that one friend’s ex looks good in a bathing suit and has an advanced degree which leads to a range of overly generous assumptions, and at the same time another woman’s preference for sad, lame, pastel cartoons suddenly marks her as the world’s stupidest human being. Neither are really fair, but we all do it.
Given that my job requires exactly four brain cells per day, I have ample energy and time to learn about people I’d do better to forget. For example, this week I learned my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend has weird choices in hats… and by “weird” I mean she was sporting one of those fleece, court jester, ski hats in her profile photo which had the impact of making me think she wasn’t that cool, which is stupid because it’s a hat.
More importantly, most people don’t fall in or out of love with someone because they are good-looking or a doctor or have bad tastes in winter head-gear.
Feelings are more nuanced than that. Case in point: my boyfriend loves the movie August Rush. I’ve never seen it but I know it’s about an orphan with a musical gift and it might involve Robin Williams. Everything about that last sentence sounds like a stupid, Hallmark nightmare for me. I don’t even need to see it to know that it ends with his being reunited with his parents and exceeding at the flute or drums or whatever orphans excel at. Nevertheless, what I love is that my boyfriend knows it is dumb and cheesy, but he owns it. I can berate him all day long about his fondness for musically gifted, parent-less kids and he doesn’t backtrack or apologize or blush. He’s just like, “It seriously made me want to cry.”
Point being, these things don’t translate in Facebook. If you looked at my friend’s Facebook page, you would quickly see that while she’s cute and smart, she isn’t an Asian doctor, and you also wouldn’t see that she’s very good at talking about Tosh.0 and ironically wearing t-shirts with wolverines airbrushed on the front and trashing Republicans and driving far too aggressively… all of which, it goes without saying, are very, very important and can’t be derived from a social media page.