I met my boyfriend on Facebook. Here are a few of my friends’ choice quotes about this:
“It doesn’t actually count if it wasn’t in person.”
Honestly, a part of me agrees with them. What kind of relationship can have its origins in a site that reveals all too easily the embarrassing pictures of my ninth grade scene phase? How do I mix gushy feelings with the fact that my last status update documented how quickly boogers freeze when it’s -10 degrees outside?
Rather than delve into the story of how things worked out for me, I find it more important to emphasize how much of a life-saver Facebook, and the Internet in general, can be—and not just for the socially awkward or the anxious. Why is there a social stigma attached to preferring written words over spoken ones? Why do confessions of using online dating sites have to be announced as a “last resort?”
The Internet provides a forum on which people can upload personal information: interests, favorite music, traits they do or do not prefer. The Internet makes it easier and more efficient for me to find out that Boy A likes Coldplay (which is watered-down Radiohead and nothing more) and that he prefers blonde girls. The Internet makes it less nerve-wracking to start talking to Boy B about his favorite piano pieces and why he finds girls with chewed-down fingernails attractive.
Furthermore, the Internet shows what people can only tell. It presents pictures and status updates and friends’ comments to make Boy C, who says he likes animals and going on medium-to-long walks on the beach, the Boy C who, with evidence, loves his four dogs and loves collecting and uploading pictures of especially shiny seashells. It reveals that Boy D, who says he’s, like, super into poetry, hasn’t read anything since sixth grade’s How to Kill a Mockingbird.
Of course, the Internet is not just for those who want to stalk potential soul mates. As somebody who thinks that small talk feels like pulling teeth, but also cannot open up to strangers, social media has made it much easier to express myself in ways that I am comfortable with. This, at least, gives off the illusion that I can be kinda-sorta-sometimes cool.
A year and three months later, my boyfriend and I are still together and happily chatting away on both the Internet and ~real life.~ The best part is: He accepts that I sometimes still listen to the music I listened to during my scene phase.
Jenny Lee is the blogger behind Road to Joy. She is a second-year in the College majoring in political science.