The conversation was pretty good. The vibe was light, relaxed. She smiled alot. The small group assembled for a friend's birthday was getting ready to walk to the dance club. I don't oontz oontz/duff duff, so I wasn't coming along. Using a simple and direct line, I said "I'm going to leave soon, but I'd like to continue this conversation. Why don't you give me your phone number?"* She wrote it down without hestitation, I thanked her, and soon we went our separate ways. Is she interested? I can honestly say I have no idea. A phone number is just a way to contact someone, not an indicator of compatibility.
Shut up, brain, shut up!
Despite having plenty of more productive things to do, after our meeting I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about this person I barely know. Pondering. Speculating. Analyzing our interactions. Shut up, brain, shut up! Brain won't listen. Sometimes I don't follow my own advice. Eventually, I moved on to other things, until the next day, when the round of Facebook posts started up. "Oh, thanks for coming to my party, @Aaron, @Bob, @Yen, @Christina, @Ruth, @Amber, @Timothy," etc. And there her name was, among the list. Just...have...to...hover the mouse...
The Facebook Borg wants you
Before social networking sites made us all just a bit more useless, if you wanted to gather background intelligence on someone, you probably had to talk to a human being. You'd ask mutual friends, maybe snoop around a bit. It took work and persistence, and you might not want to make the effort. But Facebook shows us a lot with a click. I know it's tempting, but:
Who we are online consists of a carefully cultivated set of stats, images, posts and other information about us we choose to show to the public. It says something about us, but it is not us.
All the Facebook stalking and bluffing in the world won't change the fact that while new relationships can be discovered online, trust and loyalty are established IRL (In Real Life), based not on how well or poorly someone manipulates text and images on a screen, but on how he or she behaves offline.
- Love in the time of algorithms
Of course you're curious. And it would be so easy to look. I don't have any hard statistics on this, but I'll bet at least half the people who meet a potential date will screen him or her on Facebook or other sites. Resist. Just because the information is there to view does not mean it is useful. It may thrill or depress you, but either way, it gets you telling stories about the person, and you + the person, before you've spent any time together.
I did not peek
I didn't look at the woman's profile. I don't want to know. Well, that's not true. I want to know, but I'm not going to look. Maybe I would find something that's a dealbreaker (dedicated Mormon**, smoker, volatile Zumba fanatic), or perhaps I'd find things to improve my impression (charitable work, good taste in books, clever wit). Either way, I'm not going to look. I prefer to learn what someone is like in person. Relationships are not built on the stories we tell about ourselves online, but on the time we spend together, connecting as human beings.
* I must credit Neil Strauss' The Game for the orgin of this one.
** I love all my readers, but...gold tablets in the woods, no caffeine, special underwear? Can't deal.