One false click


Frankie - - SOMETHING TO SAY -

I have crushes on sev­eral peo­ple right now – but I’ve barely spent any time with them in re­al­ity. No, they aren’t Ryan Reynolds or other celebs that I’m sure would find me en­chant­ing if we hap­pened to meet on hol­i­day. They’re peo­ple in my so­cial cir­cle. But these days, when you have a crush on some­one, you don’t ask for their num­ber – you add them on so­cial me­dia; scru­ti­nise ev­ery photo they’ve up­loaded and been tagged in; then, even­tu­ally, when the mo­ment is just right, you like some­thing they post. A lis­ti­cle about every­thing they’re grate­ful for; a photo of them eat­ing pie. That is fine, that is nor­mal, that is sane. What is ter­ri­ble, how­ever – what is ex­cru­ci­at­ing, and will lead to me de­stroy­ing all signs of life around me – is if I ac­ci­den­tally like a photo they posted in 2005. Be­cause then they will know that I like them.

Now, I reckon at least half of these crushes like me back. And when I’ve ac­cepted their friend­ship re­quest, or they’ve ac­cepted mine, or we’ve fol­lowed each other via what­ever, I fully ex­pect them to stalk me back in time. Be­cause, why wouldn’t you? I’m lit­er­ally an open book. And I posted that shit for peo­ple to see. (Es­pe­cially peo­ple who might want to sleep with me in the fu­ture.) That is stuff TO BE LIKED. That is its func­tion, as per the de­sign of so­cial me­dia. If I didn’t want peo­ple to see some­thing in par­tic­u­lar, I could delete it. I’ve deleted stuff I don’t want to be con­nected with any­more. I trashed an en­tire Face­book ac­count be­cause it was rid­dled with posts about my ex (and, side note, I’m very glad that I did).

So, if some­one I have a crush on were to like my pro­file photo from years ago, I would be flat­tered – thrilled, even – that they had gone to the ef­fort of fos­sick­ing through my on­line trail. It would also be a very ef­fec­tive way of say­ing, “Hello, I like you. Let’s have a phys­i­cal, IRL re­la­tion­ship, if we can pos­si­bly get over our col­lec­tive emo­tional bull­shit.” (Which gets harder as you get older, sadly.) Per­haps it’s be­cause of this very emo­tional bull­shit that I feel so afraid to ex­pose the fact I fancy some­one with one false click, hit­ting ‘like’ rather than the cross to exit Face­book’s photo-view­ing the­atre mode. Tech­ni­cally, I don’t have any­thing to lose, but re­veal­ing the fact I’m into some­one ‘like that’ feels like putting my­self in a po­si­tion of ir­re­versible vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Be­cause, what if they don’t like me back? What if they think I’m a lame stalker who needs to stop ob­sess­ing over them? What if they don’t like my hair?

Look, it’s un­likely. Firstly, ev­ery­one likes my hair – it’s a talk­ing point and it brings peo­ple to­gether. Sec­ondly, even if they don’t want to fuck me from here to eter­nity, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be flat­tered by my at­ten­tion – be­cause it’s al­ways flat­ter­ing when some­one’s into you, even if you’re not into them. And as for be­ing a stalker, well, it’s just so com­mon now to pe­ruse peo­ple’s su­per-old posts (even when you don’t want to bed them), that surely it can’t be con­strued as stalker-ish. The goal posts have moved, and I, an­cient one that I am, need to move with them. In fact, fuck it – the next per­son I crush on will get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion that I’ve liked their very first pro­file photo (wait, no – LOVE RE­ACT!), and added a com­ment: “Amaz­ing feed. I’ve read/seen every­thing now. I ac­cept you. The fu­ture is ours. Let’s mate im­me­di­ately. Sin­cerely, your ul­ti­mate part­ner.” Yes. That’s much bet­ter.

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