Myspace used to be my favorite place to meet people. Of course I knew that I would never meet any of them in real life, but it was the best place to practice first of all my English and second of all my ability to flirt. It was the perfect tool to put daydreaming on another level. But then Facebook ruined it all for me…
At the tender age of sixteen I had never kissed a boy before. I had never been on a real date and I was unable to actually talk to the guy I liked in school (we did write an excessive amount of text messages though). I would stare at guys when I liked them and laugh hysterically when they would talk to me or I would insult my friends because I ran out of things to say. Not necessarily the go-to moves if you want to appear intelligent and interesting and want to make people fall in love with you. Needless to say that the guys I was wooing over during most of my teenage life would make out with my friends in the end while I started contemplating if that were the situations where it would be perfectly acceptable to do shots (never did that though, not before it was legal).
While my girlfriends would go on dates and charm all the boys into making out with them, I would spend my spare time on Myspace befriending guys from other parts of the world and charm them into putting me into their top friend lists. The internet certainly is the perfect place for a chubby teenage girl with low self-esteem and a love for indie music but I am sure that is no news for any of you. Myspace was my safe haven where people liked the same kind of music I liked, they liked movies I liked, they were from other parts of the world and I loved that they thought I was at least eighteen or even older because. At sixteen that is probably the best compliment s (of course “You look so skinny!” would have been awesome as well, but let’s be honest that was not going to happen).
The best thing about Myspace was that I didn’t know any of the people I was talking to in real life (or so I think) which allowed for the occasional lie (“I LOVE BOB DYLAN”) and a certain degree of dishonesty in general. Of course self-fashioning is what you do online but for me personally it was always only restricted to Myspace because as Facebook came along everyone I knew suddenly joined in on social media and suddenly lying to people online that would find out the truth in real life was no longer an option.
I could not pretend to like Bob Dylan because I cannot stand Bob Dylan and if someone would put on Subterranenan Homesick Blues at a Party I had to let everybody know (“JESUS THIS IS A PARTY!”). There was no point in pretending. Admittedly I pretend at times I am just a human being, sometimes quite insecure and I want people to like me so yes, I will act very interested in your passion for vintage clothing or soccer scores from the 70ies if it means you might remember my face.
But at least in my online appearance there is no more misrepresentation. I am only friends with people on Facebook that I have at least met once in real life and with whom I have friends in common (who also must have met you in real life). It would also be incredibly exhausting to try to keep a certain image of myself on Facebook as I know there are pictures with me in the background spilling a cocktail all over my own cleavage. Luckily my friends usually have the decency not to tag me in those pictures. Still I know they are somewhere and they could appear on your timeline pretty much any time. Also it might happen that one of my friends posts a Beyonce Gif with a nice dedication on my wall and while I highly appreciate any Beyonce reference it might not shine the most sophisticated light on me when I hope one the guy I fancy takes a look on my Facebook page.
I suppose a Beyonce .GIF could be the internet equivalent to hysterical laughter, right?
So how to Facebook flirt? At 24 I now build some kind of a routine of how I flirt in real life (get slightly drunk and then do whatever feels natural, works unbelievably good for me) but I have no idea how to do that in the spheres of social media. I tried it with sending links to songs I liked/ that have some meaning but I still have a slightly different taste in music than most people I know and while Taylor Swift songs would often be quite fitting I don’t think “You belong to me” is going to fool anyone into thinking you are classy and mature.
Casual chatting also isn’t for me because I can’t be charming and funny within seconds. That’s why it is possible that my answer to “Whats up?” can always be “Not much, just had a panic attack and had to walk half an hour to the next pharmacy to get a tranquilizer. Turns out being out on the street when having a severe panic is not very helpful hence the 30 minute walk to the pharmacy around the corner.” If that’s what was going on. I can’t lie under pressure. Back on Myspace there were at least hours maybe even days between sending a message and receiving an answer. I (as most other people) am able to check my messages on my smartphone any time and even worse I can see when you saw what I send you, so I know when you read it and decided not to write back and vice versa. That’s extra pressure. Not long and you will know how often I looked at your profile and clicked through your pictures. But even if everything goes well and we end up having a nice chat, my dyslexia and inability to type on my smartphone will reduce my thoughtful responses to just a bunch of misspellings.
And then there is the unfortunate thing when there is just nothing to say. On Myspace I picked the good looking guys with the interesting taste in music and just wrote them a little message that I loved their profile and taste in music and that was usually enough to get them talking. Now I occasionally get stuck when I met people, who seem nice and interesting (and look good as well) but then there is just nothing to say because there is no indicator to anything we have in common of their profile. But how do you get flirty when you basically have no idea what that person might be interested? Do you rule those guys automatically!? But they might be super nice!? Do I have to check with which of my friends he is friends and then call this friend and ask? Well, if that’s the point why use the internet in the first place. Also I am not just going to ask, god that person might think I like him!
Am I acting like a sixteen year old? Probably. Don’t judge I know you listen to Taylor Swift as well.
Yeez, I guess I should have just gone for it when we were drunkenly dancing to that very bad cover band at that party but then I was way too shy to do anything because that was clearly alcohol free beer and I thought I could casual chat him up on Facebook. How am I to know that chatting wouldn’t work? Maybe he is not a big chatter as well; maybe he doesn’t know what to say. Oh my. Maybe he is just not into me.
I have no idea how to flirt on Facebook and maybe that is a good thing. At 24, I am old enough to get drunk and be in bars all night long so why would I spend my days online when I could be making out in real life instead?