Editor's Note: When you really love an experience, you seek it again and again. That's why reruns are so popular! What I'm trying to say is: Love Notes writer Stephanie K. Hopkins is on a break this week, but who wants to go a whole week without reading her meditations on love? Not me! So we agreed to share, for a second time, one of her most popular Love Notes columns ever--this piece about Facebook. Enjoy it all over again (or for the first time, if you missed the original run).
By Stephanie K. Hopkins
Remember that application that threatened to reveal whose Facebook page you look at and how many times you do? Well now that we know that it’s a scam (right?!), we can all go back to indulging ourselves freely. So in the spirit of unabashed Facebook stalking, here are six things you should definitely do:
1. Pour through old photographs
What’s the harm in looking at a few old photos? Look, there’s a lovely close-up of a tulip. (How sensitive she is!) There’s a sepia-toned Brooklyn brownstone. (How artistic!) A dog curled up on a couch (Aw…she’s an animal lover.) There she is. She’s at a party. It’s summer. She’s wearing a white tank top and sitting at a picnic table, drinking Amstel Light. She’s smiling that angelic yet mischievous smile of hers.
Wait, back up. Amstel Light? But she drinks vodka; she doesn’t even like beer. What else is she hiding from you? And all these people at this party know she likes beer. You think you know her, their smug smiles say, but clearly you know nothing about her. And why weren’t you invited to the party? She could be at a party right now, the vixen. You can’t trust women, just as you always suspected. It’s over. You should text her and break it off just after this next batch of photos. No matter that this photo was taken three years ago and you only met her last January. Humiliation knows no temporal boundaries. We can’t believe she didn’t tell you she likes beer.
2. Collect useful data
Even though you can’t stop thinking about what other dark secrets she has and what kind of sadistic monster she turned out to be, you can’t help it, there’s something else you feel as well. It’s similar to the feeling you got when she told you she used to build forts out of boxes when she was a kid. Yes, that’s definitely the feeling of getting to know her.
You may not have known before, but now you know she likes beer—Amstel Light in particular. So pick up your achey-breaky heart and make a mental note to fill your fridge with Amstel Light the next time she comes over. Though why wait? Why not start now and cultivate the Amstel Light habit yourself? You need a new beer in your life anyway, Miller High Life has gotten too cool. But since you don’t have any, might as well start with whiskey. Go ahead, pour yourself a stiff one. You can break up with her right after your next date. Then she can see all those pictures you’ll post of yourself drinking an Ammy with 540 of your closest Facebook friends.
3. Go ahead, just “like” it
Ok, don’t panic. So you “liked” his status update. It happens. As with any compulsion, you’re not to blame. And you were trying so hard, reading his wall (eyes boring into the words, searching searching searching for hidden messages), thinking, Don’t hit the “like” button, Don’t hit the “like” button, Don’t hit the “like” button. How could you not hit the “like” button under such goddamn pressure?
But woopsie daisy, one whiskey has turned into two, so proceed with caution. Whatever you do, DO NOT… Whoa. Now you’ve done it. You’ve hit a string of “likes” with the speed of an accelerating car. You could take them back, hit the “unlikes” and pretend it never happened. How much time has gone by? If you’re lucky, only 163 people have seen those “likes,” and he isn’t one of them. But what if he has seen them? “Liking” then “unliking” would seem crazy. Much better to own the “likes”—Yeah, those “likes” are mine, man, what gives? And besides, whatevskies, they’re just “likes”; it’s not like you’ve written “Love you ‘till the day I die” all down his wall, right? (Don’t even think about it, boozy).
And look, at least three other people have “liked” the same posts you have. You’re just engaging in normal Facebook communication, nothing weird here. Actually, it’s generous of you, really, to “like” his stupid posts, without wanting anything in return. You’re just spreading the love is all. Geez, can’t a peep get any recognition for being selfless around here?
And while you’re at it, who are those other people who “liked” his status update too? No harm in just checking them out… That one looks crazy, not at all like you—cool and artsy with your retro Instagram profile pic. And that one, well, impossible to tell with the profile picture of an ocean. What’s up with the pretentious photo? How is anybody supposed to know how to feel about this person “liking” the same post that you’ve “liked?” How can you compete with a freaking ocean? Forget it, that ocean is going down…
4. Sideways stalk
Whee! There you go down the rabbit hole, sideways stalking a person you’ve never met, and who you don’t know if he has met. Don’t worry, we’re right behind you. There’s the friggin’ ocean in high school when it was a cheerleader (Why didn’t you try out? Why did you have to be so above it all?), though you aren’t 100 percent sure yet if the ocean is one of the cheerleaders or the football player behind them. With a name like “Chris” it’s hard to tell.
Need. More. Pictures.
Ok, there’s a fourth grade photo, still can’t tell, what with the hair and all. Finally, the money shot. Chris is a girl. You knew it, you just knew it. Look at her laughing with her friends; look how fun she is! She probably has one of those witty and biting sense of humors everyone loves. He probably can’t get enough of her toothy smile. Everyone seems to love Chris. Chris Chris Chris Chris. Why hasn’t he ever mentioned Chris before? He’s probably got her holed up in an expensive apartment in the city, visiting her every week, buying her shiny jewelry, feeding her Foie gras with his fingers, wiping her chin clean with his tongue. The little whore.
5. Read the wall
He’s posted a video of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” It’s for you, of course. But what does it mean? Is he telling you it’s never going to happen, that you should dream on? Or is he telling you that he’s dreaming about you? Play it again. Listen.
He’s telling you to sing with him. That’s a good sign! Maybe the good Lord will take you away…. Carpe Diem! It’s a message to call him right now. Life is short! And the Tupac video he posted yesterday—“If My Homie Calls?” And if you need, need anything at all/I drop it all for y'all, if my homies call… How sweet is that? Calling you his homie. He would drop it all for you. If you need anything, anything at all. It’s not his fault you haven’t let him know what you need. You never were any good at asking for help. If you were just a little better at articulating your own emotions, he would never have let two weeks go by without a single phone call or text.
6. Carpe Diem!
3 whiskeys downed
78 photos inspected
24 Facebook friends scrutinized
18 of their Facebook friends scrutinized
12 “likes” under your belt
It’s time to stop. You’ve reached that point in the night where Facebook stalking has nothing left to give. Time to make contact. Take out your phone and construct that text while you have the courage. There is no better time than now to say everything you’ve wanted to say, preferably sprinkling in Aerosmith and Tupac lyrics as you do to show how attentive you are. Go ahead, seize the night. All of your very close Facebook friends are here for you—all 743 of us—100 percent of the way.
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