I have always enjoyed research, even more so of the non-academic type. My friends have marvelled at how easily and quickly I can discover information about any given subject, especially when it comes to people. With little more than a first name and location, I can usually uncover more about a person in a few hours than most people can in a year. The internet makes it incredibly easy to find anything you’re looking for and even what you’re not.
That’s how I found out that Ares was cheating on me.
During one lonely night in college, I was browsing though the photos of a club I knew that he went to. Never having been to a club since I wasn’t 21 at the time, I was curious to see what they were like. To my surprise and complete horror, I found a familiar face with a very unfamiliar face—and body—wrapped all around him. My heart raced, my breath quickened, and my palms began to sweat. I tried to ignore what was right in front of me and I did until a friend finally decided to be honest with me. I eventually confronted him and our relationship was never the same.
Needless to say, my unfortunate stumble has resulted in private investigator-like levels of information gathering. It’s complete second nature to me to scope out any and all information and as the years go by, my skills are only getting better. Or the internet is making things that much easier to find.
Like many others, I have exhibited my fair share of stalker-esque behavior—no, I’m not physically following people and scoping out where they live and hang out because that would be weird, even for me—that usually results in a humorous story. Eventually, that is.
With the advent of internet dating and crazies like the Craigslist Killer, it has made it imperative to know who you are meeting up with and to do so in a well-lit, public place. With a limited amount of superficial data, I have discovered
- last names,
- workplace locations,
- ex-girlfriends/current girlfriends,
- family information, and
- many more trivial details that one usually learns within the first few dates long before I meet them in person.
And then comes the fun of having to pretend you don’t know that your date has two brothers and a sister, went on a great vacation to Costa Rica last summer, just bought a house, lied on their profile, or just broke up with someone. Do not under any circumstances act like you know anything that they haven’t already told you. If you are bad at separating what has been discussed from what you have learned in your research, I suggest you halt Googling until you can differentiate between the two. There is a reason why dating experts will tell you not to research your date beforehand, but I prefer to get as many cards out on the table as I can before I get my heart involved.
One of the keys to being a successful “investigator,” is to not allow your subject to know what you’ve been up to. Unfortunately, that’s getting harder and harder.
There is this one guy on Match that has literally looked at my profile at least once a day for the last month (as a paid subscriber, you can see who’s checking out your profile). He has never once made contact with me and I have stopped myself from sending him a “Why the hell do you keep looking at my profile if you’re not going to email me?” message. I am so curious to know what keeps him coming to my profile and not making strides to meet me, but since I’m not interested in him, it’s really not worth the effort to pursue an answer.
Then there is the friendly creeper. I received a text from Fez yesterday telling me that he saw me in my spinning class on Monday and that I was doing really well. I called him out immediately. If we’re “friends” like he and I try miserably to be, why not come up and say “hi” or at least message me that night. What is the point of waiting five days to inform me that I was being watched at the gym? The last thing I need is to think that I’m being monitored while I’m working up a sweat. It would have been much better if he hadn’t said anything. Now, I’m going to be self-conscious when I should be focused on the building up the nerve to talk to the cute new guy in the class. And boy is he cute!
Yes, I know I sound like a lunatic, but the point to remember is this: do not tell your subject what you have been up to. It will make you look like a complete freak/weirdo/crazy person/psycho.
Say it with me now, “I will not confess to internet stalking. I will not confess to internet stalking. I will not confess to internet stalking.”