Motherhood, Anonymous

Like most people these days, I’m a voracious googler. If I’m curious about something, I look it up. All day long, everything, all the time. If I see a movie, I like to read all about the director and actors. If I am suddenly struck by an Olympic swimmer’s striking good looks, (ahem), I read about them. If I need a new diaper bag, I google, google google.

(It feels very nerdy and obvious to be writing this. I cringed terribly a million years ago when Charlotte gushed “I googled him!” about Aleksander Petrovsky on “Sex and the City” because it was such a lame attempt to be topical. I remember thinking “Wow, Charlotte, you googled someone! You’re such a techno-nerd, how can Harry even stand it?”)*

But I’m also maybe a bit too nosy curious about people. One of the most maddening things to me about this new world of suburban motherhood is that there’s an unspoken rule of First Names Only. It’s like every “Mommy and Me” class or mommy get-together is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Even when I exchange phone numbers with a new person, I often have to push for last names. I pointed this out one time I was with a bunch of ladies all exchanging numbers. Of course, they all laughed awkwardly and looked at me like I had farted. One lady said something like “WELL, my last name is “Blah blah blah” if you’re DYING to know.”

This, I really don’t understand. I want to know more about people! I want to google you! And just because I want to google you, doesn’t mean I’m going to stalk you, or try to steal your identity. Don’t flatter yourself. If you give me your last name, I promise you aren’t in any danger. I’m really just a bit nosy. I want to make sure you’re not a member of Focus on the Family and I want to know if we actually have anything in common other than the fact that we both recently made babies in our uteruses.

I always thought that this was something everyone did; google each other. A new rite of passage for the ages. You google someone new and the next time you see them, you try to hide the fact that you know more about them than they actually revealed to you. But you almost never find anything scary! And when you get to know them better, you just admit it and you have a good laugh. Sometimes you even share stories about all the different things you’ve found when googling yourself and others. Right? “That woman in Arizona looks nothing like me!” “I can’t believe that class project I did is still online!”

In this paranoid world we live in, I would think that most people’s desire to know more about their prospective new acquaintances or friends would be greater than their desire to be cautious. Plus, I’m meeting these people at places specifically for people who want to meet new people, so I have extra trouble understanding this closed-off vibe.

I was fortunate to have hooked up with my husband pretty early in my 20’s, so I never experienced the nightmarish hell of “looking for a husband.” Is it like this in the dating world? When you go to speed dating events (like in the movies! People do that, right?), is it all first names only all the time? When does the googling start?

*I know, I know: Oh, so I’m making “Sex and the City” references. How TOPICAL. How totally on the hot button of pop culture RIGHT NOW.

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