Confessions of a Google Stalker

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Having just written about the degradations of stalking my various love interests over the years, I would like to offer a slight clarification.  Stalking, as in staking out the campus gym or writing notes about the daily comings and goings of one’s better looking classmates, is degrading.  Not only are actions of this sort pathetic but they will also cause you to catch a cold eventually.  As such, I would advise any would-be stalkers against the stake out approach to romantic encounters.

Virtual stalking, however, is an entirely different matter.

A few weeks ago, an old friend came to visit me in Philadelphia.  She informed me that one of her co-workers had set her up on a blind date.

I asked the obvious question.  “What does he look like?”

“I don’t know!” came her incredulous reply.  “It’s a blind date!”

“You mean you didn’t Google him?”

“No,” she shook her head.  “I found him on Facebook but his security settings are too high to see his profile.”

“Facebook?” I cried.  “Facebook is for amateurs!  You need Google.  Let me show you.”

Without missing a beat, I whipped open my trusty laptop and headed straight for my interest browser.  Within approximately sixty seconds, we had his full name, his alma mater, his professional credentials, and thanks to Google image search, his picture.

“Wow,” my friend gasped, her eyes glued to the screen.   “He’s cute.  Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

I wish I could take full credit for my Google stalking skills but really, they’re genetic.  My mother is the ultimate Google stalker.  When I was seventeen, I went to Spain for a few weeks and fell in love with this obscure flamenco pianist (and with my gorgeous German flat mate, but that’s another story for another time).

Do you think I had the forethought to purchase this pianist’s CD before leaving Spain?  No.  Do you think I would have at least written down the name of album?  No.  Instead, I returned to the US, made a nuisance of myself until I left for college and added the CD to my Christmas list.

“Santa needs a little bit of help,” my mother emailed me a few weeks later, “Does this CD have a name?”

“Yeah, but I don’t know it,” I wrote back.

Lo and behold, I found a package from Spain under the Christmas tree that year.  “I Googled it,” my mother explained, “and I stumbled upon a blog written by this guy who’s traveling in Spain.  You had the artist’s name spelled wrong but he had it correctly so I Googled his spelling and there it was.”

Long story short, my mother can find anything, whether it’s a CD of obscure flamenco music or an online discount code for Match.com.  We’re always telling her that she should work for the FBI, or at least the Library of Congress or something.  Instead, she volunteers for the Quaker library here in Philadelphia and is slowly but surely passing her Google-stalking skills onto me.

Given the high potential for untruths in online dating, I’ve always “research” my dates before meeting up with them.  Over the course of the past few months, I’ve found everything from college sports records and television clips to academic publications and op-eds.  I generally try to forget my findings, lest I slip up in conversation and reveal my methods, but I’m afraid I’ll never be able to forget what I’ve discovered about PSM#3.

The career section of his eHarmony profile was rather vague.  I figured this was just because he didn’t want to say too much about a career that was, presumably, still a work in progress.  Because my career is, in many ways, still a work in progress as well (it’s only recently that I’ve stopped mumbling when family friends ask what I’m doing with myself these days), I decided that his ambiguity suited me just fine.

But his career is not a work in progress.  Quite the opposite.  I knew nothing more than his first name and his alma mater a few days ago but now I’ve discovered his last name, his middle name, and an entire host of impressive credentials following his name (in addition, of course, to his undergraduate athletic record).

I’ve pledged to uphold my dates’ anonymity throughout this entire adventure so I’m afraid I can’t tell you which impressive letters he has after his name but suffice it to say they’re enough to make me wish I had never Googled him in the first place because now, I am completely intimidated.

11 Responses to “Confessions of a Google Stalker”

  1. sarahnsh

    Your mom sounds like my mom, she has googled every single guy I’ve ever dated, including my fiancee. I slipped up and told her his last name once and within 5 minutes she had googled him, knew his middle name, where he worked, his mother’s name, etc. She stalks my brother’s g/f currently and has lost interest in the fiancee and I. But, it’s amazing her skills! I’ve gotten better at it too.

    Reply
  2. Jess

    Kat, you’re awesome. You of all people should not be intimidated by a bunch of silly letters after someone’s name, even if they’re impressive sounding. You’re fun and you instigate great random adventures. While he’s been aquiring his silly letters, you’ve seen the world and bodly lived your life. Besides, between my family and step-family, there are lots of people with impressive sounding letters after their names and I can honestly say you’re tons more fun to spend time with than any of them!

    Reply
  3. saladbardating

    Well, as a woman with letters after my name, I’m running into the problem of men being intimidated by my education..just don’t do it, Kat. Don’t be intimidated. Nobody wants to be with someone who is intimidated by them. This guy probably didn’t put that info out there in order to avoid causing any potential intimidation in potential mates…people with advanced degrees seek love and companionship, too, and with someone who can accept them as a whole person, not just as an intimidating list of letters. I bet he’s a great guy. Be relaxed. Be thankful he’s modest enough not to brag it up. Don’t be intimidated. 😉

    Reply
  4. Megan

    Kat!

    You’re so fabulous, I can’t imagine which letters behind someone’s name would intimidate you! That’s not the Kat I know (or at least pretend to know through your writing). You’ve got this, now go get him!

    Megan

    Reply
  5. TL

    This prompted me to google image myself… I am not very impressive, because no pictures came up. However, I do have a very unique name, so all of the google results were me… You can tell quite a bit about me, right off the bat!

    Reply
  6. mynakedbokkie

    Great if he has already googled you too. Then you skip the intro bits of conversations, and get into the serius stuff! When are you seeing him?
    xx

    Reply
  7. Zak

    I recently googled a girl I was interested in, and learned my lesson while doing it. Don’t. You’re bound (as the Endmonton Tourist says) to find stuff you wish you didn’t know. Once you know something you didn’t want to know, it’s pretty much impossible to unknow it. One a side topic: ss unknow a word? To the dictionary!

    Reply
  8. Canti

    Heh … Google *is* your friend; I use it to check stuff out all the time, including professors of classes before I sign up for them. I don’t consider it stalking … I consider it research, and I agree with the person who said “knowledge is power” … it really is.

    Reply

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