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September 16

Beer Googles

Filed under: Advice,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:10 am

Once upon a time, BG had a perfectly magical date with a then-obscure movie star who, as it turned out, was apparently on a different date at the time. One of the fun parts of the story (and its two-years-later coda) is this: the friends who set us up had told me way too much about him. I knew his hobbies, his college major, his newborn niece’s infelicitous name. The challenge for me, then, was to react to his biographical information as if it were news (“Econ, huh? So then how’d you get into acting?”) and to not ask questions about things I wasn’t supposed to know yet (“How’s your niece? I mean — how’s Nice? In the summer? Ever been?”) I met this challenge, thankyouverymuch, but it required a mighty effort. And nohedidn’tcallwhateverthat’snotthepoint.

The point is: that was before Google.

This past Sunday’s Modern Love column in the New York Times (tell me YOU finish the entire paper on Sunday!) is a cautionary tale about finding oneself in a similar pickle, just a more wired one: finding way too much information about your date, before the date, on the Interwebs.

“He then told me some complicated story involving his brother,” writes contributor Joanna Pearson. “I was having trouble paying attention. When he finished, I said, ‘So, it’s you, your brother, and your sister?’

‘Did I tell you about her?’

‘No, no. Do you have a sister?’

‘The night unraveled from there. My memory and confidence were both officially shot. Did he tell me his undergraduate G.P.A., or did Google? Was his sailing trip part of our conversation or detailed in one of the business columns by him I had read? Everything swirled together. It was impossible to tell.”

Pearson’s takeaway:

Nowadays, my advice to friends is: never Google a date. No Facebook, MySpace or Technorati, either. There’s something to be said for the spontaneity and authentic facial expressions of utter ignorance.

(Another risk Pearson doesn’t mention: Sitting down to do your own personal background check, and finding out that your intended DOES NOT SHOW UP ON GOOGLE AT ALL. No matter what spelling you use. No Amazon reviews, no recreational road races, no nothing! What does that mean?! Does he/she have a computer? Does he/she EVEN EXIST?)

Anyway. What are your thoughts, recommendations, or hilarious anecdotes about this particular aspect of dating in the too-much-information age?


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