Facebook Dating

January 2, 2010

Jessie Neal and Nate Bearss are my two best friends. I’ve dated Jessie. Facebook currently says I’m “In a Relationship” with Nate. This has occasioned a rather unpleasant discovery in my psyche.

About a month ago Nate decided to bomb my wall– completely took it over; nothing but Bearss. And then he sent a relationship request. I assume he did it because it would be funny. I accepted it because I thought it was funny. Plus, I don’t have a problem with gay people, so no big deal, right?

Well, my mom was kind of freaked out about it. Freaked out’s probably not the right term. Maybe a better one is bemused. Or something, I don’t know. My mom really wants me to date and have a girlfriend and get married and be happy. I’m glad my mom wants these things for me; I don’t particularly want them right now, though. When she saw that Nate and I were “In a Relationship” she just thought it was strange.

But this is about where my head has gone with this lately. It’s made me aware of just how many people are facebook friends with me who really don’t know me at all. Or maybe they knew me well back in high school or something, but I haven’t really spoken to them in a while. I’ve also got a boatload of new friends over here in Belfast who can look at my profile any time they want. These are great people, but come on, I’ve only known them for a few months now. Knowing that all these very tangentially acquainted people can come and look at my profile any time they want and see my new relationship status made me… uncomfortable.

Look, I went to a Christian school for college, and my high school was full of homophobic people who made anyone who they perceived to be gay feel like the scum of the earth, whether their suspicions were correct or not. I have witnessed gay people experiencing the worst kind of judgement made upon them simply because of sexual orientation. Shamefully, I’ve been guilty of it as well. I didn’t want that judgement heaped upon me, which is why, I think, this whole thing has made me so uncomfortable lately.

How pathetic.

There’s absolutely no indication that anyone who has stumbled across my page has formed any sort of judgement as to my character because of my “relationship,” and even if they have, so what? I certainly have yet to experience the blowback of that judgement so it may as well be non-existent. Despite my fear of prejudice, I have yet to experience ANY of the harassment that many gay folks have to experience every. single. day.

So I’m struggling with this. Is my discomfort a signal that I’m not nearly as enlightened as I thought? Symptom of the eternally connected facebook world? The beginnings of a revelation? I’ll get back to you when I figure it out.

Also, Nate: I love you buddy, you’re awesome, and you had best stick around the Orange City/Sioux City area this summer so we can hang out while I’m finishing my dissertation.

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2 Responses to “Facebook Dating”

  1. Jessie said

    wow. this was really honest.

    and i don’t know what to tell you, or how to guess what your discomfort really means.

    i do know, however, that i eliminated my relationship status from my profile for reasons like this. it’s weird that i find myself caring about it because other people care about it even though i don’t want to care about it at all, so i just avoid putting it out there. it’s frustrating how many perceptions can be made from one aspect of who you are; not even who you are, just whom you’re dating.

  2. Mom said

    Freaked out is definitely an overstatement of my reaction. I thought I just was bringing it to your attention that I noticed the status.

    Bemused is not really a good word to use to describe my reaction either … that means I was puzzled, confused, or bewildered by that statement. It didn’t really confuse or bewilder me, because I know your sexual orientation.

    I would have to say that I was more a little bit concerned about what someone ELSE who didn’t know you and Bearss might think. And I know what putting something out on the internet can do to a person in the long run, whether you like it or not. It’s out there for good … to haunt or to help.

    I like to think that whatever my children come to me with, I will always be accepting and unconditionally loving. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be concerned for their well-being and best interests. Funny how this stirred something up within you, of all people. That’s one thing I love about you – you’re always thinking, always challenging yourself to live up to your own expectations. I just love you.

    Now, just so you and Bearss know, I think he’s a fine man and I consider him my “adopted son” of your friends. He is welcome here anytime and can always call me for help, advice, and/or support. It’s always good to have friends like Bearss and Jessie with whom you can really relate and share things. I’m glad that you have people like that in your life.

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