Long before there was Facebook, there was simple Google-stalking. Come on, everyone has done it, especially the ladies out there. Bored, something triggers a thought about someone from your past. It could be the predictable old song trigger, or the unusual, like the sight of Cool Ranch Doritos in the supermarket that makes you remember someone’s bad kissing breath. Past romantic interests rate high on the “let’s just type his name into Google” list. Women like to engage in this type of snooping work in small groups, so we can all comment on how past partners look and if their wives are ugly, pretty, or so-so. So-so seems to be the most satisfying outcome.
I recall a friend staring, mouth agape, at the image of her high school crush.
“I swear—he used to be cute!”
I tend to be less interested in the old boyfriends I knew well. JohnBoy is married and has a nice family. I figured that. JimBob never married-- figured that too. And Lance, well, he won the Tour de France, again.
The aha moments come when we type in the name of a crush, like that guy who worked in the cube next to yours who always had a girlfriend, and you wished hadn’t. You throw in his name and his finishing time in a half-marathon might pop up. Damn, he still is in good shape. I bet he’s still cute. I wonder if he ended up marrying that girlfriend who always sounded whiney on his extension. Her voice was like Betty Rubble’s on the Flintstones when she called Wilma.
Young moms are susceptible to Google-stalking behavior. They have experienced a sudden, entire, change from the people they were before children. Thinking about that guy in the cube next to yours is really thinking about your old self and the independence you had, and didn’t even know it. You don’t want to go back to that place, but it is nice to check in with that girl once in a while. You’ve come a long way, baby. And when your girlfriend is showing you her past beaus, it facilitates interesting stories about life’s journey: funny, sad, reflective. You learn something new about your friend and what tidbits contributed to the way she is now.
So, it was cold and dreary and the kids were busy dumping bins of Legos all over the basement. My friend keyed in the name of an old high school boyfriend and told me a funny story about the time she caught him kissing another girl in a concert parking lot, and gave him a swift karate kick to the back of the knees. We don’t find much about him in cyberspace. I type in a name, the next-cubicle-guy’s name. Nothing interesting pops up. One more name. Nada.
Later that evening, Marty comes to me after using our home computer to research something like “tankless hot water heater systems” that he is considering installing in the basement with all of those Legos.
“So, Tracy, when you and your girlfriends are busy obsessively looking up old boyfriends’ names…could you remember to delete the search history? It’s only polite.”
“How would you feel if I spent my time looking up past girlfriends?”
Hmmm. My answer is not the one he expects. “I’d want to see what they look like!” An idea. I can Google-investigate his past flames.
“How do you spell that that one girl’s long Polish lastname with all those weird consonants?” I asked, looking for a piece of scribble paper.