In weeks recent I farewelled my GL at the awful LAX and headed for the Australian hills.
He, at that point friendship bracelet and Inca-knit jumper free, boarded a flight for Mexico.
He was away for enough time to grow an unattractive beard and for me to lose holiday kilos. The pleasure of the latter was balanced rather neatly by the distaste of the former.
While he was away we engaged in a number of Skype dates, sent emails, text messages and had the odd and brief phone conversation. This last contributed to a rather hefty phone bill which greeted him on his return.
Of course, being the generation we are, there was plenty of activity monitoring – perhaps more one-sided than not – via Facebook.
We sent private messages back and forth and I daily enjoyed the picture tagging thanks to a female companion he’d fallen in step with.
We did refrain from one form of communication and it was on this aspect of our conversing that I had the most trouble: the public Facebook post.
I wanted to. I really did.
Had I, it would have been something casual; then not so casual in line with possible confidence-by-intoxication.
I would have started out with a Hey Scoot, how’re kicks in Mexico?
Four gins in I’d tell him I miss you and can’t wait to see you and if I could be bothered typing at another four, it’d be straight to the point with a I need a cuddle.
No such posts occurred, thankfully. Not once did I slip. We kept conversing one-on-one and quite honestly, I found it rather difficult.
I am a Facebook user, in a sense. I don’t tend to post pictures and rarely have a profile picture in which I feature. My one night stand occurred the night of The Royal Wedding and if you were to look at a graph of my usage, there it would peak and from there it would fall. I’m more of a voyeur on Facebook. Less of a sharer.
Our time apart, did however, challenge my Facebook status quo. I felt a rather strong urge to type out a message on his Wall. To show our friends – mutual, known and unknown – that… well I’m not sure what it is that I would have been trying to show, just we exist, we are in a relationship; he was missed.
It’s weird. Why did I feel desire to post a public message when I was keeping in touch privately? I didn’t speak with him more frequently to make up the slack – I would have had nothing more to say.
Night after night I read posts which over-share and/or are just unnecessary. Facebook has though, become such a common forum, that it’s now the norm to organise an occasion (I’m not referring to events here) via a Facebook wall. I actually did it myself earlier this week. (Mel: I’m very much looking forward to it).
But, here’s the but, how, when and why did we get to this point?
Why do I even care? Well, because I feel my hesitancy to throw up a casual question to my GL on Facebook flies in the face of typical communications these days.
We live in a world where even the most private comments, pictures and emotions are shared publicly. We put up our baby bumps, our disappointment, our relationship status, our casual conversations between friends.
Because others put it up, people like me, sititng at home and GL-less, feel a desire to share something of our own life. To fit in, to be engaged, to keep people aware.
Over Valentine’s Day it was evident in the worst kind of way. Who’s a lucky girl appeared beneath a bunch of red roses; best date ever with a picture of a tasty-looking dinner.
While this is rather inane sharing, the extension of such posts is the emotionally-clad post which appears all too often, but might not have been shared had the conversation occurred face-to-face.
It’s certainly an odd thing – using a public forum as a private message board – but perhaps it’s easier for some people to proclaim their emotion from the solitary privacy of their computer, as opposed to looking into the eyes of their recipient, and staring into potential pity, or even judgment.
I’ve noticed as much with my very own GL and his ability to communicate. He finds it easier to share emotion or sensitivity via message as opposed to phone call; with the lights out as opposed to light of day (or electricity).
And yes, here I am giving away plenty of opinion from the safety of my computer, of my housemate’s lounge room. Yes, I stand by what I’ve said, but I’m not doing so while looking you (all seven of you) in the eye. It really is much easier this way.
I get the irony of my public exploration of what has been a private consideration.
While I succeeded in Facebook restraint, I’ve failed dismally here.
The craziness of it all.