- She can see photos of you fucked up (that’s a given.)
- She can’t remember her password and will get drunk at Christmas lunch and bang on about what a stupid website it is and how she’s going to ring them on Monday and tell them to “let her back in”.
- She takes ambiguous status updates literally and will complain that your cousin’s status simply said “sigh.” (“Just sigh. Nothing else. Why is she sighing? What does it mean?”)
- She calls you and asks you how to delete things from her feed once she’s read them. (“What, you mean other people’ s posts?” “Yes, how do I get rid of them?”)
- She is giddy at suddenly being privy to so much of your personal life and comments on every single fucking thing you do.
- Your creeper flatmate tries to add her as a friend.
- She emails you asking you to explain what is a creeper?
- She posts horrific anecdotes that refer to your father and her “doing it”.
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some moronic updates floating through your feed lately about people going to various countries for various periods of time even though they’re not. The conversation usually goes something like this…
Idiot: I’m going to Spain for 4 months!
Curious friend: Omg really?
Idiot: Nah it’s for breast cancer lol!
Curious friend: wat.
Idiot: You choose the country that matches your bday month and then your bday date is how long you’re going for and then you change your status
Curious friend: (deletes you from Facebook because you’re a fucking idiot)
This kind of genius has been around for a while now. It usually starts with a message people forward around to their female friends that goes something like this:
Hey ladies! It’s that time of year again when we annoy the shit out of our friends and contribute absolutely nothing towards raising awareness about breast cancer!!!
This is how it works. First, choose the number that matches your IQ:
1 – blue
2 – pink
3 – black
4 – yellow
5 – red
Next, how many people would admit to being your friend?
1 – syphilis
2 – chlamydia
3 – gonorrhea
4 – the clap
5 – herpes
Then update your Facebook status with the colour and STD that match your answers! For example, “Omg my bf’s balls are red, think I have the clap?!!”
Now remember, don’t tell any of the boys what your statuses mean because we need to maximise the awareness!!! Keep them guessing so more people learn about it. Also pass this on to everyone you know so they can raise a awareness too!!!
Ugh. Just ugh.
1. Do we really need to be raising awareness about breast cancer?
If you can show me three people over the age of 12 who are not aware of breast cancer, I will start watching Glee, because neither of those things are ever going to fucking happen.
Where are these people? How often is this conversation happening?
Judy: Excuse me sir, but I’m going to need some time off work because… well, I have breast cancer.
Boss: What’s that? Never heard of it. Should we all get tested? I really don’t understand.
We’re all aware. Breast cancer gets more publicity than Kate Middleton holding her hand over her stomach in a few photos like she’s totally pregnant. Why not try and raise awareness about something that people don’t generally know a lot about, like melanoma or how to clear your cache. Or if you still want to keep the focus on breast cancer, why not aim to raise awareness about its symptoms, detection methods, treatment options or other ways to help. Or fuck, why not just really go for it and try to raise something actually useful, LIKE MONEY?
2. How does not mentioning something raise awareness about it?
Here is the other way these status updates are often received…
Moron: I’m a champagne flute so tuck it back.
Innocent friend: What are you talking about?
Moron: I can’t tell you lol.
Innocent friend: Don’t call me anymore.
The dumb bridge club president who comes up with these brainwaves and composed the original message urges people not to disclose the reason behind their mysterious status update. Now I’m no genius, and I only just found out that reindeer are real so who am I to judge, but I do have one question: how are people supposed to know what cause you’re supporting, if you don’t fucking say it?
I really want to know how the conversation went when this was decided.
Shirley: So then we get everyone to update their status to raise lots of awareness….but it’s a secret.
Tonia: Wow, I think it’s a great idea, I mean it’s definitely got legs. But how will people know that the whole concept is about breast cancer if it’s a secret?
Shirley: Because that’s the whole purpose.
Tonia: Yes but shouldn’t we mention the cause or maybe include a link to a site with information on breast cancer, maybe even a site where people could donate money?
Shirley: Nah, nah, nah. Trust me, it’s better this way.
3. Doing lame crap like this gives people a false sense of action
Telling people that they can help raise awareness about breast cancer by posting something inane on Facebook is counter-productive, because some of those people who wanted to help might have ACTUALLY supported the cause through donating things like time/money/ideas/labour/goods/etc. But instead, they will now sit back on the couch and tune in to Oprah, satisfied in the knowledge that they’ve done their bit for breast cancer.
4. It’s really annoying
Stop it. Not only is it annoying, but you might find that it actually achieves the opposite of what you were dumb enough to think you were doing. Most of the time, when people discover that a particular brand is behind an ad or campaign that they find super irritating, they feel less sympathetic towards that brand. I’m not saying I am pro-breast cancer, but I’d probably chuck my dollars into another cancer charity that wasn’t being endlessly touted by a bunch of idiots.
Of course, having said all that, there is a silver lining. If you are keen to cull your Facebook friends, little initiatives like these will help you sort the wheat from the chaff. (Checking which of your friends have liked the Two and a Half Men page is also a good method.)
“You should date somebody from Twitter,” my flattie JC told me one night at the pub. This was a couple of years back, when meeting people from t’internet was still something of a novelty and you didn’t tell your mother when you were doing it.
“Don’t be an idiot,” I said and waved my beer dismissively. The truth was I had already considered this and had reasonable-sized crushes on more than a few of my followers. Plus my Twitter network was relatively small, highly interactive and privy to a lot of details regarding my personal life. It’d save a lot of the legwork involved in getting to know somebody on a first date.
“No, seriously,” JC continued, “I bet that if you tweeted on a Saturday night and said you wanted somebody to take you out, you’d have at least 5 offers in the first hour.”
I didn’t know whether he was right or wrong, but the likelihood of me actually doing this was roughly equal to using my beer money to sponsor an African child. I had met enough people online to know that some of them were fun and could become your new BFFs, but others were fun and then later proved to have a very tenuous grip on reality. In the beginning, it’s almost impossible to tell which category the stranger sitting on your couch chopping weed will fall into.
So I put aside the idea of Twitter dating for the meantime, but then after a depressingly dry season, I began to consider it more seriously. I mean, if I was on Twitter and I wasn’t a freak, then surely most of the other people who were on Twitter weren’t freaks either? Maybe I should be more open minded?
Later that week, I was on the bus after 6 or 7 cocktails and recklessly decided to ask out someone from Twitter. I looked through my list of followers and finally settled on a guy who had flirted with me a little in the past.
“Want to grab a beer sometime?” I DMed him.
“Sure!” he replied.
I arranged to meet him for drinks after work the following Wednesday. Then I texted my friend Keira and said, “I just asked out a guy from Twitter.”
Keira wrote back, “Two words: Mister Burns.”
Mister Burns was a philosophy student I had met a couple of years earlier through RSVP.com and, after seeing his reasonably attractive profile picture, agreed to meet in real life for coffee. But when he showed up on the day, he looked a bit like Gollum and was wearing a matching block coloured tracksuit. He smelled vaguely of urine. “I have to go,” I said, not even bothering to formulate an excuse, then climbed straight back into my car and drove away.
I wasn’t so worried about meeting this Twitter guy though. I’d seen a few photos of him and he looked okay. I was confident about the date, but when Wednesday arrived, I found myself feeling nervous. “What if he’s ugly?” I asked the girls at work. “Or what if he’s fat? Oh my god, what have I done?”
Fortunately, he wasn’t fat. In fact, he was pretty cute. We smashed some beers and had great conversations and I thought, yes, this is going so well, snaps for me.
I agreed to meet him for a coffee the following weekend, and I was genuinely looking forward to it. But in the harsh light of day, he was nowhere near as attractive. In fact, he kind of looked a bit like my brother, which was cause for immediate disqualification. It was too late to back out though, so I sat down, ordered a coffee and began mentally scraping together a list of possible excuses to leave early. He seemed nervous in a sober setting and spoke at great length about his cats.
This date was very borderline: bad enough that I knew I wouldn’t see him again, but not quite bad enough to leave after only half an hour. But then he solved my dilemma by shifting the balance.
We were discussing his vegetarianism, and I inquired about his iron levels. “Do you get sick a lot?” I asked. “I went off red meat for a while last year and just seemed to come down with cold after cold.”
“Well it’s different for women,” he said, “As they have a tendency to….you know…”
Here he made a violent flowing gesture with both hands and whispered, “Bleed.”
I picked up my bag and left him with the bill.
After I ignored him for a few days, he messaged me.
Him: “Was that initial drink supposed to be a date or a networking thing?”
Me: “A networking thing. Why do you ask?”
Him: “Oh I’m embarrassed… Not that I had assumed one way or the other, but yeah… Shit, I’m an ass.”
Me: “It’s okay, everybody makes mistakes.”
He unfollowed me on Twitter not long after.
I was reading my friend Helen’s Live Journal when I came across the following paragraphs:
We grabbed a beer and headed for the front bar. I accidentally caught the eye of someone sitting next to the door… As I walked past he ducked his head and gave this long, breathy snort, before bursting into laughter and going, ‘FAT chance.’
What I never understand about these situations is that your attacker doesn’t ever tell you anything you don’t already KNOW. Unattractive people are more than aware of their unattractiveness, always. We carry it with us daily, and the weight of it makes us grunt. Every time we look in the mirror – hello, horror. Every time we get caught unawares on camera – god forbid, put that red-herring-cross-Appaloosa face away. So yeah, we know about it. Why the need to verbally reinforce? Who is born with such cruelty in their genes?
I’ve never actually met Helen, but I can tell from my Facebook stalking that she is one of those beautifully quirky, colourful, witty, clever people you rarely come across. To imagine somebody pissing on her birthday cake over something so stupid as how she looks really hacks me off. And it breaks my heart a little too, because I know that no matter how brazen and confident you are, a dumb passing comment from some random douchebag can reduce the toughest of us to a self-loathing mess.
For me, it’s less about my face and more about the size of my arse. As an adult, I’ve weighed 70kg and I’ve weighed 45kg at different points in time (I’m 5’6″.) I wasn’t particularly well in either of those situations, but I’ve never gotten more (positive) attention in my life than when I resembled a broomstick. Hell, even at 60kg, I was rarely given a second glance. I was referred to as “the fat one.” Guys would approach my friends in bars and say, “Hey, gorgeous,” then turn to me and say, “Hey not-so-gorgeous.” And when I had the guts to wear a singlet that said “UGLY” one night, a girl pointed me out to her friends and shouted “Yeah, she is ugly!” All of these incidents were unprovoked, unless you count the shape of my body or the arrangement of my facial features as an invitation for rebuke. Apparently, I was so hideous on those occasions that complete strangers felt the need to comment. And not in private either – they commented right to my ugly face.
Despite all this, I think I’ve managed to come out the other side with a pretty healthy self esteem. I’m no supermodel, but I’m not bad looking either. As long as I stay below a size 10 (the upper limit of the “acceptable weight range” of most guys I date) I think I look reasonable. If I tell this to people though, there is guffawing and rolling of eyes. Girls are not supposed to think they’re pretty. We are supposed to be insecure to the point of obsession. Pout in front of the mirror and squeeze at the fat on our arms and bellies. Shove our fingers down our throats and lose sleep over the wrinkles around our eyes. When somebody compliments you on your appearance, deny it! Don’t say thank you or actually agree with them. Good god, the scandal.
Sometimes little pokes and prods have the desired effect. An overweight person might use their unflattering nicknames to fuel their fire at the gym. Another person wearing tights as pants might need to catch a few disapproving glances before they figure out what they’re doing wrong. But simply telling somebody they’re ugly isn’t exactly constructive. What reaction do these people expect? “Oh really? Shit, thanks for letting me know. I’ll get a new face asap.”
So are people randomly insulting girls in order to make sure we don’t get too sure of ourselves? Modesty is becoming in a woman, so make sure she damn well knows she’s not hot enough? Or is it the old “I make fun of the other kids to make myself feel better” syndrome? Cutting down everyone around you to make yourself taller?
Is consumerism to blame? Entire industries are built on our insecurities: weight loss products, cosmetics, plastic surgery, fake tanning, etc. Every day, the TV and magazines tell us that we’re ugly and overweight, so what’s wrong with telling each other the same thing? Have we been desensitised to our own cruelties?
Personally, I blame fairy tales. The good guys were always hot, and the bad guys were butt ugly. Snow White was a babe, while Rumpelstiltskin was a hideous dwarf. From the day we’re born, there’s a very strong reinforcement that people who look nice are usually nice, and people who look dodgy are usually dodgy. In some cases, this is true, but not always.
Maybe when we tell our kids not to discriminate against people who are black or homosexual or female, we should also tell them not to discriminate against those who have been dealt a dose of acne or a bad nose.
And maybe next time you see someone who you think could use some improvement, you should shut the fuck up.