This morning I awoke to a Facebook memory from last year of me smiling over dinner with my ex-boyfriend, following a screening of the Deadpool movie. Boy, did I look happy. Facebook is like that. I’m almost afraid to open the page sometimes, because it feels like whatever I was doing a year or two ago is more appealing than what I have going on now. I’m considering staging tragic events so that I can revisit them and say, at least this year I don’t have syphilis.
Unlike God, Facebook has always played dice. However, it’s been getting more aggressive lately. I started noticing this over the past few months while reviewing my Facebook friend suggestions. At first, it was subtle. Facebook would ask if I knew someone with whom I shared 35 friends. Yes, Facebook, this is the woman I met at a holiday party who asked me whether I missed my kids while I was at work. I told her that no, I didn’t miss them, and that I had asked my ex-husband to remind me of their names by text message every evening while I was on the train. (The look on her face… priceless!) But that wasn’t Facebook’s fault. I was willing to give the website the benefit of the doubt that it truly believed I had overlooked a chance at a future bestie.
A little more suspicious was the recommendation to add my boss. I speculated that this was some sort of paid feature to cut down on absenteeism. Of course, my Facebook page is set to public, so there’s not really much that I tell my friends that I don’t tell strangers. But Goddess forbid that I have a crazy party on a Saturday night with me and four hundred of my closest male strippers, and then forget my boss can see my Facebook feed. That would totally spoil the suspense when I tried to tell the story at work on Sunday.
After that the dam broke. Suggestions included the doctor I dated whom I thought was a proctologist, but who really was studying how to cure cancer. I dumped him for being a slacker. Next was the Dutch guy who invited me for danish and told me of his love for chocolate. He told me he needed to cancel our date because he was joining Overeaters Anonymous. I was mostly disappointed that he didn’t mean “love of chocolate” as a metaphor.
It finally hit me what was happening when I saw the name of the guy who had pretended to speak English just to go out on a date with me, before abandoning me in Neve Tzedek with a very expensive coffee and several hours of free time. The only conversations between me and the man in question had taken place on WhatsApp. And yes, after doing some research, I realized that while the messaging system wanted me to be aware that it was unwilling to give my conversations to the National Security Administration if I ever had plans to commit an act of terrorism, apparently it felt perfectly comfortable sharing a record of my dating failures with Facebook.
At first I was annoyed. But then I decided to use it as an opportunity to take stock. Remember that guy who told me on a first date that 42 was too old to have kids, but we could adopt? There he was. The guy who wanted to make me dinner at his apartment, but all he had was a hot water urn? Yup. He’s recorded for posterity as well. Every botched attempt at romance over the past year had been provided to Facebook by WhatsApp, and each name brought back memories of dashed dreams and ticking biological clocks.
But it also reminded me that as I survived two disastrous marriages, five stillborn careers, and a series of diets so ruinous as to make major bariatric surgery seem like a walk in the park, I will survive bad diets and bad bosses, bad friends and bad memories. And for that, dear Facebook, I am thankful. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Here’s to another year full of Facebook failures!