Feminist Friday: Fatal Attraction versus Serendipity

‘One night I was drinking in a bar and flirting with the bartender. I asked for her number. She said “I don’t give out my phone number because guys rarely call when they say they’re going to. My name is Lindsey Adams, and if you want to call me, find my phone number.’ Which I did – the very next day. Do you know how many Lindsey Adamses there are in the phone book of a major city? Let’s just say I talked to about eight or nine before I found mine.’

He’s Just Not That Into You, Chapter One

So I’ve been thinking…
If I met someone I liked and searched for him on the Internet to find out more about him am I like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?

Or am I being a romantic like John Cusak in Serendipity?

According to He’s Just Not That Into You, if a guy likes you but doesn’t have your number, he’ll find a way to get in touch with you.

Notionally it sounds romantic – the idea that a man will go to any lengths to love you. This stuff is the subject matter of hundreds of soppy chick flicks – the woman so consumes the mind of the man she drives him crazy, he pursues and eventually she gives in and they all live happily ever after.

But what happens if you reverse the roles? Then it’s not a chick flick but a horror movie. If a woman decides she can’t live without a particular man and tracks him down, she is a potential psychopath.

More than ever we have the tools to find people – Google and facebook being the main ones – and I reckon that lots of people routinely check out the people they meet in real life online to try and find out more about them. (I’ve written about the dangers of this before.)

Is this romantic or just scary? And does it matter whether it’s a man or a woman doing the research as to what you decide? I suppose what I’m trying to work out is – are we playing by one set of rules, or two?

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8 responses to “Feminist Friday: Fatal Attraction versus Serendipity

  1. I don’t think DOING it is scary – it’s the way in which you use that information. As you say, we all check people out (be it potentials or exes) from time to time (hell, i even check myself out sometimes to see what other people see!) – that’s the joy of the internet and occasional boredom!

    Once you have the info though, it’s a case of getting to them – and there are so many ways to do it. My best friend is now married to a guy who some would think (and DID think) cyber-stalked her! I thought that what he did, the way that he did it, and the reasons for it were actually really sweet – and he IS perfect for her – as he knew he was, LOL

  2. I think there’s a difference between checking up on someone and stalking them. It is wise to check up on a stranger you are planning to meet, i.e.
    on a blind date and even doing that it can be dangerous. Cases recently in the news are enough to terrify anyone.
    I met my late husband on a blind date and neither checked up on the other, hey but that was years ago and there was no internet anyway.
    It worked out all right but it could have been a disaster now I come to think back on it.

  3. There is nothing wrong with a bit of cyber snooping. It does bring up this question of stalkerness though. I’ve been there many a time. I agree with you that it is so hard to be romantic and serendipitous in this modern age when information is so easily accessable. I’ve bitten the bullet a few times and attempted to make communication with potentials, but nothing has ever come of it.

    Quite crushing, but maybe it’s just me. You’ve already had many chats on buses! And you are FOXY.

    In the words of our Graham,” The decision is yours… “

  4. I’ve met tonnes of people off the internet – but 99% were before facebook etc existed. I met my ex-hubby the night I first started talking to him, without even seeing a photo.

    i still swear by going by instinct (as long as you feel you are good at judging people) – I have NEVER ever been let down. Everyone has always been exactly how I thought they would be.

    Facebook etc makes it SO much easier to ‘check them out’ a little more now though 😀

    • Normal in London – sounds like you’re a bit of an expert at the whole online thing. I totally agree going with your gut is way better than trying to overthink!
      Margaret – your blind date is the classic example of the fact that most people are perfectly lovely. And of how not overthinking a risk led to something good.
      PJ – Foxy? You’re too kind!

  5. I accidentally gave a guy the wrong phone number once (I was drunk… mixed up a couple numbers when I typed it into his phone!) The next day he friended me on facebook and wrote me a message saying it was the wrong number… which was fine because I DID want to go out with him, but what if I had given him the wrong number on purpose? Ugh, damn you facebook.

    If someone wanted to cyber stalk me, it would be really, really easy, because I am ALL over the internet and there are only a couple other people with the same name. I wonder if I ought to be concerned about that.

    I do agree about the double standard, though, I think a girl going through excessive efforts to find a guy’s contact information might be misconstrued. But it’s probably because we still believe that guys should be the pursuers.

  6. I can’t believe you wrote an entire post about my life theory without even quoting me.

    PJ- I can’t believe you used the F word to describe another woman.

  7. Pingback: B and the best piece of advice a single woman can ever hear « Me and the Girl from Clapham·

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