If you're like me, you're a stalker.
Now, I don't mean like hovering outside of Cameron Diaz's house with a doll made of the hair she tossed in her garbage cans and a series of photoshopped pictures of your face on her body.
I mean, I enjoy looking at Facebook pictures, maybe for extended periods of time. And maybe with a fervor that defies standards of normalcy.
But you do it too, at least I'll admit it.
So you've got a date. (Maybe a JDate, maybe a friend of a friend, maybe a total blind date.) It's important that you stalk appropriately before. I know you're not supposed to judge your new find by his cover, but you might want to get an idea if he's more of a Vinny Chase or more of a Turtle. Although Turtle has gotten so thin and cute he doesn't really look like Turtle anymore. And given Vinny's new Paris Hilton problem maybe Turtle is the better choice anyway.
Also, healthy stalking might even give you a sneak peek of what's inside the book, or at least what's written on the inside cover (really running with this metaphor here). Meaning, you can usually find more than just pictures. You might uncover his hobbies, interests, family, etc. aka information that isn't completely superficial and might give you a general idea of the kind of person he is from a very very high up birds eye point of view. An international space station astronaut's point of view. A view from the cockpit of Creepy Airlines.
Two disclaimers before continue with the rest of this post.
#1- If you don't have stalking tendencies, don't do it at all. Stop reading now. You are a rare breed with a good heart. Kudos.
#2- Never over-stalk. I know it's a fine line, but listen up. I'd venture to say the average stalk sesh should not be in excess of 15 minutes. This is because you never want your date to know for sure that you googled the shit out of him.
There is a real danger posed by stalking. What if you accidentally slip and ask him how his sister likes Michigan before he actually tells you his sister goes to Michigan? Or, on the other hand, what if you're reactions seem fake? "MICHIGAN?!?! YA DON'T SAY!! I LOVE MICHIGAN!!" In short, stalk at your own risk ladiez.
Please ask yourself the following:
Do you know his name?
Google first. You know you Google yourself all day long anyway, so you may as well Google him, and check out the picture of him from his college Water Polo team where you are hoping the water was just cold. Or maybe that he donated money to B'Nai Israel Jewish learning center. Which is really cute because that's where you had your bat-mitzvah and you wore that adorable Kate Spade bag that was shaped like a box but it was the CHICEST THING EVER.
Facebook. Type his name in. Do you have any mutual friends? Can you ask Rebecca Stein if he's the type of guy to drop a little roofie into your vodka-cran and pretend it didn't happen? Let's hope not. Or maybe you do want to hear that he used to date Emily Silver and apparently she like looooved him but then decided that she wasn't going to marry him and dumped him for someone else in ZBT. Can you click on his profile picture, even though his photos are hidden? Ah yes, 12 pictures of him obscured in the distance while hiking. Red flag on two levels, unless you like hiking. I like hiking, to Saks. Lots of hills. Far away: ugly alert.
Twitter search his name, if you're desperate. Maybe you want to know if he likes Honey Bunches of Oats in the morning (@JaredStein dude, I love these little bunches so freaking much! GO JETS #ffjd) or if he follows Megan Fox and her murderer thumbs. At least that girl has some imperfection on her body. Also, for you die-hard MK & A fans Yes, that is Megan Fox in Holiday In the Sun.
Do you know his first name? I hope you do. Please don't go out with anyone whose first name you don't know. He will have a lot more than murderer's thumbs. I think I might have these thumbs, sort of. I wonder what that says about me.
Does he have a myspace?
Yes: Cancel the date. Unless you're into emo self-taken pictures and loTs Of UpDoWnS and Linkin Park. In which case I won't judge, but I will wonder how on earth one can type in AlTeRnAtInG letters and not have a brain hemorrhage.
No: I can't believe you went onto MySpace and searched for him.
Follow Meredith Fineman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/50firstjdates