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love out loud: a slap in the facebook

Typically, telling your girlfriend that you accidentally went on a date with someone who wasn’t her can only be a funny story if the news is quickly followed by ‘and then I told her I had a girlfriend.’ So I was surprised when Bon Jovi instead rattled off the reasons why he’d spent several hours on a pseudo-date with someone who still had no idea I existed.

‘Couldn’t you just drop my name into conversation?’
‘No it’s not like that. It would have been rude because I’ve known she’s liked me for a while.’
‘Um, why were you having dinner with her again?’
‘Oh I’m not interested like that, but she’s such a nice girl and that’s a big part of why I couldn’t tell her.’
‘What?’
‘I couldn’t just jump on the table in the middle of dinner and start yelling that I’m with someone.’
‘Is that how you usually bring it up?’
‘She’s also my dealer so I can’t piss her off.’
‘Right.’
‘But luckily I had a cold sore.’
‘What?’
‘Well, it was a good excuse not to kiss her.’
‘Isn’t having a girlfriend perhaps a good excuse not to kiss her?’

I can only assume that it was some combination of shock and sheer confusion that rendered me unable to respond appropriately to this conversation (ie. with some level of impassioned frustration), because I instead took a more jovial and pragmatic approach.

‘Is this your way of wrangling a facebook relationship request out of me?’
‘Hell no. Absolutely not. No way. Nope, not a chance,’ he declared, before realising I might perceive this reaction as rude. ‘No offense.’

At first I took this to be similar to my own disdain for facebook relationship statuses. Like most people who think they are above social networking sites, I thought that publicly announcing your coupledom online was a juvenile statement made by those who felt insecure in their relationships, or who otherwise wanted to advertise their paired-off bliss to make everyone else feel inadequate.

This was why defining the parameters of my relationship with Bon Jovi some weeks earlier as indeed being those of a relationship did not prompt me to immediately run to a computer and flood my friends’ newsfeeds with the update. But the inadvertent date with another girl, and his reluctance to explicitly share that he was now unavailable made me reconsider my stance.

Using sites like facebook and myspace to publicise a relationship status with a five hundred strong audience can indeed seem rather trite, but what I realised after discussing the matter with Bon Jovi for ten minutes was that it really wasn’t worth the trouble either way. As ridiculous as it is to feel that a facebook status is an important supplement to a relationship, it is equally ridiculous to strongly oppose the idea.

The only people who are likely to pay attention to your online relationship announcements are those who might be interested in pursuing you. As most people will be deterred by an existing relationship, it’s a quick way to let anyone who might be lusting from afar know that you’re off the shelf, without making them go through the old avenues of calling someone who knows someone who used to hang out with your best friend’s sister.

The other advantage that is likewise often overlooked is not having to spend the next seven months relaying that you’ve actually broken up when acquaintances ask how your significant other is. Although it’s a similarly trivial point, it also means that a few button-clicks can help avoid a great deal of awkwardness, not to mention boring and/or painful scrutiny about your relationship’s demise.

Facebook relationship statuses are not important, nor are they reflective of the partnership itself. But when you have spent more than two sentences discussing it with your partner, then it’s become a bigger issue than it ever should be.

Like everything else, how we share information is changing with the times. Where previously we would have had to shout it from the rooftops (or perhaps a couch), we can now let everyone in our social sphere know our relationship status through mediums such as facebook. Or, alternatively, an online column…

Bon Jovi and I are no longer together.

Image credits : 1.

5 thoughts on “love out loud: a slap in the facebook

  1. If you were really dating Bon Jovi, everyone would already know, because the paparazo would be like “wizened old rocker dates hot young thing”. But I digress.

    I’ve had similar issues with FB before. The level of information semi-strangers can see kind of irks me. But, on the other hand, as you say “the way we share information is changing”. And fighting against it seems both futile, and a little petty. My compromise is that my profile says ‘in a relationship’ but doesn’t say with who.

    As for boyfriends who go on semi-dates with other girls – yeah, he’d have to have a pretty good explanation, or I wouldn’t be in that relationship much longer.

  2. You go girl!

    But in less clichéd commentary…

    Totally agree with all this, if I meet someone I’m interested in and become friends with them on facebook, inevitably the first thing I do is rush to their relationship status to see if I should waste my time with them or not (even if they’re single, I’m still usually wasting my time, but you get the idea).

    I personally think it should be taken further. Facebook is basically just a massive global dating site anyway, why not make it official. That way you can just send a ‘date request’ rather than fumbling around for clumsy euphemisms like ‘Do you want to come in for coffee?’ or ‘I just bought the first two Radiohead albums at a 2 for $20 sale at The Muses, would you like to come and listen to them in my bed?’ If they reply ‘Accept’ then it’s all good, if they reply ‘Ignore’ then it’s just a simple pop-up so you can skip the heartbreak and get on with your life.

    If anyone from facebook is reading this, I want a cut when it eventually happens.

  3. Pingback: love out loud: better love next time

  4. Pingback: Better Love Next Time : It's Not Me, It's You

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