Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where do you draw the line?

Do you ever think about what life was like back before the internet, when people went on dates, sometimes even "blind" ones, and only got to know each other over numerious dates and hours long phone calls?

Yeah, neither do I. But it sounds boring as hell, right?

Right. Luckily these days we have dating websites, e-mail, twitter, and the always reliable Facebook. Because of our digitized selves, we have pretty much eliminated all of the anonymity and mystery to dating. No longer do you find out that your partner loves dogs three months into the relationship; it's in their "About Me." It's all laid out right there, on Facebook.

The Facebook Stalk, as I call it, is sort of like farting: everyone does it, and few people talk about it.We may mention it in passing, but always in a way so as not for our listeners to judge us for our obvious stalkeresque ways.

But what do you do when presented with something private? You know what I mean: you're parusing their place, they leave to take a potty, and you find a letter someone write to them. Do you read it? How about looking in someone's medicine cabinet? Or, my favorite, looking through their texts? After all, not everything is on Facebook.

Why do you think I lock my phone? Because If I were you, and I had the opportunity to read my texts to my friends, I'm ashamed to say that my curiosity would take over any sense of ethics I may have, and damnit I would look. And I have.

Once, after a sleepover with a guy I used to date, he was sleeping in my bed after I got up (it's very hard for me to sleep past 10 AM). I sat at my computer, perusing the internet, when I saw it: his cell phone, sitting right on the desk in front of me, goading me to pick it up, just to take a quick harmless peek. It was an iPhone, I reasoned, and I know my way around them well enough that I could look without him even knowing. But it is a blatant invasion of his privacy. But he has the option to lock it and he doesn't, so there can't be anything that bad right? And anyway, I have a rule that if I find something out about someone without them knowing I'm not allowed to bring it up. So why not? You know, aside from what's the decent thing to do.

My problem is that I like to know as much about people as I can, so obviously I looked. The worst part? I couldn't put it down. It was information porn. I spent a good 10 minutes looking through his phone. It was actually fairly clean. Except that apparently he is a drug dealer.

You read correctly; a drug dealer.

Talk about random, eh?

No judgement here though (I honestly just thought it was funny), but I ultimately broke it off for other, more boring reasons. But it raises an important question: how far are you willing to step onto ethically questionable grounds in order to satisfy your curiosity? Does Facebook stalking make you uncomfortable? Maybe you have no limits, hoping to catch when they forget to sign off of Facebook so you can look at the darkest of the dark, the Facebook Inbox? How would you handle the craziest, darkest, weirdest parts of people's lives? Or maybe you were confronted about that drunk Facebook message you sent your ex?

Tell me your stories.

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