I SHOULD really take my own advice on this one.
The Internet can completely sabotage your life and make you look like a horrible crazy person. For example — the first page of my Google search results is a total f*cking nightmare. Being a female writer with an opinion and a controversial ex-boyfriend never results in pleasant search results. Living your life on the Internet has its ups and downs. I’ve experienced both first hand, and most of the time I want to crawl into a cave in the middle of nowhere and break my iPhone in half. Too bad that guy from Into The Wild isn’t around anymore, he really had a good thing going for him.
I met a guy IN REAL LIFE (crazy, right?) and we became Facebook friends, casually chatting about Radiohead and British Comedies. His band was playing at the Yosemite Music Festival, which I planned to attend with my sister and her boyfriend who live right outside of Yosemite, and we made plans to say hello and have a drink. I mentioned that I was a writer and he could Google me if he wanted to read my stuff. I warned him beforehand that my search results might scare him away.
The next time I saw him, he said he read some of my articles, but stopped himself from going too far down the Melissa rabbit-hole because he wanted to get to know the real me. He saw a thread full of people talking sh*t and didn’t want his opinion skewed based on anonymous comments from people who have never met me. Thankfully, he was open enough to get to know me in person and was pleasantly surprised to find out I wasn’t the horrible demon he read about. In fact, I’ve met multiple people who were shocked that I wasn’t as horrible as the comments on my articles depicted me to be.
His statement really resonated with me, “I wanted to know the real you.” Having a person’s life accessible isn’t necessarily a good thing. Although, if I were to Google this guy and see photos from his wedding, finding out that he’s a cheating a**hole, then I would’ve saved myself some time. Luckily there’s not much about him on the Internet, and I’m a little jealous. On the contrary, not knowing much about this guy possibly made me less interested. I didn’t know his style of humor because he’s not on Twitter. I’m so used to already having things in common with people before I meet them based on our social profiles. It’s almost like going on a blind date, even if you’ve already met the person in real life.
The Internet has a tendency to falsely amplify strangers. Meeting my last boyfriend, who was a writer, had me intimidated for our first date because he wrote a huge movie and I was afraid of him being smug or having an ego. Luckily he was just a normal, nice guy. I find that’s the case in most instances: reading about someone and assuming they’re amazing, then meeting them and seeing their anxiety or other non-perfect trait you thought they were free of. Reading about someone’s life online before you meet is almost impossible not do because, as much as we all say that we find mystery to be appealing, the truth is that we’d much rather have all the cards laid out in front of us before we get to the poker game. Especially if they’re interesting cards. Unfortunately, though, most of the time my high expectations were always lowered to “oh, he’s just a normal dude.” I’m assuming that’s exactly what happens when people meet me, well, except for the “dude” part.
Organically finding out that your date is just as obsessed with Seinfeld as you are is far more fun and exciting than reading their blog post called “I’m Just As Obsessed With Seinfeld As You Are.” Being a part of the last generation that remembers dating before Googling was a thing makes me appreciate it all the more when relationships form naturally. I wish I could stop stalking potential mates, but I would have to literally throw away my wireless modem for that to happen.