Provocative opinions aired on the clothes line of life.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Virtual public affection

Couples, and their unnecessarily sickening displays of public affection. These double threats are lurking around every social corner.

Sitting in front of you in cinema auditoriums, successfully blocking Christian Bales intent stare with their endless attempts to fit their heads in to the other one's shoulder 'nook'.

Sitting behind you in coffee shops, even when not in your line of vision they still offend with their revolting lip smacking noises, a result of mixing their saliva together, which only hideous cretins such as them could stomach at 7.30 am.

Sitting adjacent to you in restaurants, holding on to each other for dear life across the table, lest the villainous object should win one over on them and provide a convenient function, (such as letting the waitor/tress place their plates swiftly and efficiently in front of them).

Sitting literally on top of you in cocktail bars, using the busyness of the venue as an excuse to unashamedly act out sexual positions on each other whilst blatantly elbowing you in the ribs/boob/head.

They have successfully accosted every social haunt, even non-coupley places like the library, the supermarket and the dentist haven't managed to escaped unscathed. Paying library fines, purchasing toilet paper/bin bags/washing
powder, having cavities checked
- mundane tasks to you and me, but not to Romeo and Juliet, oh no, these people just have to do everything together. And now the inevitable has happened. Not content with shredding every aspect of their independence in the real world, they've taken on a dual identity in the virtual world.

Behold, Facebook. A popular social networking site, (or so I'm told), where people can reunite with old classmates and work colleagues, share photographs, engage in a bit of flirty poking, occasionally throw sheep at each other and assert their individuality through declaring to the world their interests in cultural pursuits such as films/books/music and general day-to-day activities. Of course there is a section where you can broadcast your relationship status also, with your significant others name available for fellow friends/stalkers to survey/ analyse at their own discretion. But that's not good enough for some of the hardened couples amongst us. Oh no, Robin Hood and Maid Marion don't want to be lumped in with the rest of us, every aspect of their lives must be used as a tool to profess to the world that they are not alone; they share beds, bank accounts, toothbrushes, (they won't admit it but you know its true), and now freedom of expression. I give you: Facebook for couples.

A fan page I stumbled upon when conducting some personal research. (I recently cemented a facebook friendship with a young man who shares a facebook profile with his girlfriend. On closer inspection of the profile I concluded that it was originally his, she had just added her own interests next to his answers and his wall of comments was suddenly filled with messages depicting the sort of girl to girl vernacular which isn't aimed at a male. But what was really spooky was how they chose to infuse their names, I won't use their real ones for legal reasons, however I'll use this example, Hans 'Leia Organa' Solo. Creepy huh?). Having been an avid facebook user for almost four years now, I had seen my fair share of bizarreness, (you never truly know someone's oddities until you've added them on facebook), but I was utterly appalled and equally enthralled by this idea, and immediately turned to my pipeline to logic, (Google), to see if it was just an isolated incident.

To my dismay it seemed not. The fan page, (although not flourishing, it had only a mere 30 members and clearly in the minority), was alarming to say the least, with comments such as, “for the couples who have nothing to hide and everything to share”, and, “it's about sharing how much you love each other with the family and friends that matter most to you”. I think someone has taken the 'no man is an island' concept just a little too far. I mean, does being part of a committed relationship not grant you any privacy? Do you have to forfeit every pursuit you once did perfectly well unassisted?

And, what happens to your friends? At least in the good old fashioned days you could reserve the right to withhold facebook friendship from your mate's significant other. I mean, who ever believed the whole, “your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends” bullshit deserves to be shot. That's not a rule. Some people are just not meant to get on and if anything are doomed only to be friends-in-law. But now Kathy and Heathcliffe are a sole entity. And in becoming so they have culminated their interests as if they were pooling cash for the weekly shop. They now love all the same films, have exactly the same taste in music, and have married their interests so they now both enjoy 5 a side footie and playing poker equally as much as shoe shopping and fake tanning. Its like a bad wedding poem, “two hearts, one soul”, there's just no escaping the incestuousness.

Of course, I'm being completely selfish now and only analysing the adverse affect this monstrosity will have on everyone else forced to play along. But, what about the couples themselves? Surely this act is going to make their relationship just as disposable as their independence? Trust is a tricky business, and giving your loved one a means to act as sole communicator for the two of you isn't going to be as smooth a ride as everyone intends it. Everyone is guilty of reading too much in to things when it comes to your nearest and dearest and the opposite sex, which albeit isn't always a bad thing, (maybe if Jennifer Aniston had read a bit more into what was going on behind the scenes of Mr. And Mrs. Smith, filming would have abruptly halted, subsequently cancelled and things would have been a lot different).

But when you're given an electronic portal into the world of ex-flames, flirty work colleagues and conveniently good looking new single acquaintances from your boyfriends point of view, you just know things are going to get ugly.
Because lets face it, people are people, they're devious, they're flirtatious, they're human. And don't tell me that when receiving inbox messages from the aforementioned intended for your boyfriend, you're not going to intercept it, pondering over what constitutes as a sufficient number of kisses, cut and paste it in a group email to your friends whilst on the phone to your mother hysterical with grief that you've uncovered evidence of an affair? (And I'm not advocating that men are exempt from bunny boiler behaviour, of course they're perfectly capable of such tendencies, it's just more plausible when describing it as a woman. You can blame Glen Close for that, I'm not taking personal responsibility). And if it doesn't completely decimate the relationship, even the most patient and understanding couple will suffer niggling doubts as to what that facebook poke from that girl he smiled at and brushed past in the pub the other week when he thought you weren't looking could mean.

Just take Lancelot and Guinevere, all that sneaking around the castle, be
h ind Arthur's back, now if they had had facebook..Well lets just say it would have become apparent a lot sooner. Picture the scene, King Arthur sits down after a long day at the round table to address his Kingdom via ye olde facebooke and is shocked to discover that “Lancelot and Guinevere/himself have become fans of sex in the middle of the night”. Well no shit Sherlock!

So, a word of advice to any couple who embarks on a dual dependence via facebook: keep one eye open and one hand refreshing that joint facebook page, but beware, curiosity killed the cat.

You heard it here first!