Sunday, 11 December 2011

The rise of the Facebook 'relationship' police

Picture the scene, if you will. Not dissimilar from what I imagine a low-rent version of Sex and The City to be like (albeit with less sex and set in a crumbling town in the South East of England.) There are five girls drinking pretentiously-priced cocktails and droning on about reality television, diet regimes and their favourite subject: men. This is of course, entirely stereotypical. They probably buy their tan in bottles and their meals from Pret A Manger. For those of you unfamiliar with this situation, this is a chance for these women to either slate their partner to high heaven: “He wears WHITE shoes For God’s sake! Who wears WHITE shoes?” or indeed, brag about just how fantastic they are. It involves a lot of patience and waiting your turn, usually a copious amount of alcohol and cake and the excessive use of those four words: “You can do better.”
This session is like no other. It is filled with gushes of “Oh but he is so gorgeous!” and “Tom bought me a DINOSAUR for my birthday!” When the metaphorical relationship baton is passed around the table to my friend Amy, she remains casual and tells us that yes, she has finally found someone, and no, this one doesn’t share similar facial features to Frodo Baggins. There are knowing smiles and a mixture of girlish excitement until one announces:
“But it’s not Facebook official!”
Of course. Facebook. The all-seeing and all-knowing virtual God of the web. The very reason we are alive.  Apparently, everyone knows it isn’t a real relationship until it has been spread across a web page for your 1,127 ‘friends’ to see (including your mum’s best friend and that girl from work’s hamster.) Surely this is added pressure upon a new couple? Surely someone should be penning a book on Facebook etiquette. Do you rush home and load up your PC as soon as she’s dropped her knickers? (“sorry love, just got to change my status…”) Must you wait until you’ve met her parents, held her hair back whilst she is sick and discussed the 12 children you’re having?
As with any affair, not all last forever. This fallout must be considered in the virtual world. Nothing makes me more depressed than logging on my page to be faced with an acquaintance as ‘no longer in a relationship.’ How subtle that they choose to adorn this announcement with a broken heart, a visual indication of the poor bastard is feeling. Beneath the message of sorrow are endless comments of mourning and condolence lacking sentiment: ‘Hope ur ok babez’, that whilst making them regret the initial decision to even change their status, gives them all the comfort of wanting to stab themselves in the eye with a rusty nail.
Equally as annoying are the attention seekers. Everyone has one on their news feed. That couple that decide that ‘it’s complicated’ is a necessary status after every petty argument. Let’s be honest, now. It isn’t complicated. It’s quite simple, really. Either go your separate ways or refrain from displaying your life on a social networking site. Now, please stop clogging up my news-feed, or I’ll have to be using those three highly unromantic little words: ‘Remove. As. Friend.’