Ranting against Facebook couple cuteness
By Natalie Serafini, Assistant Editor
Over the past year that I spent as an Opinions Editor, I may have given some of you the impression that I’m a rather open and public person, based on my penchant for disclosing embarrassing facts about myself at almost every opportunity.
I’m really not. While I don’t mind being open and honest about myself in person and in print, I’m selective about my shares. This is partly because I think there should be a point to my publicity, and partly because I don’t like sharing what I feel only I and few others should be privy to.
That’s why Facebook couple cuteness kills me; those public displays of affection that could easily be sent in a text or otherwise private message. Those proclamations that are destined to be embarrassing relics of your relationship past when That Guy I Dated for Five Months is no longer in the profile picture.
Of course, these public declarations are temporary in the sense of being only a deleted comment or photo away from extinction, but they last in the minds of your friends, acquaintances, and people you haven’t seen in years. Personally, I don’t need to keep former classmates from high school updated on my personal life. The gabby gals of Sex and the City may go into extreme detail about their romances, but they keep it within their square of friends. Their personal relationship sagas—the highs, lows, and rock bottoms—aren’t generally divulged to their more distant circle of friends (even if Carrie does write columns on the subject).
Part of my aversion to these public displays lays in not understanding the motivations behind them. Call me unsentimental, but a status update, no matter how heartfelt, isn’t exactly romantic. Facebook is not a book of poetry. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that sentiments immortalized on a social media site will carry the same simple beauty as Harold Pinter’s “It Is Here,” or Wislawa Szymborska’s “Thank-You Note.”
You might protest that the goal of a status like “I love [insert name] so much,” is simply to communicate with your boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s practical, and Facebook is a means of communication, after all.
Nope. The reason for posting a veritable monsoon of pictures, or sharing personal relationship moments, or typing statuses that beg for an “Aww, you two are the cutest!” is not that there’s no way to communicate with your significant other on a private level. If you’re able to post an effusive status about your love, you can send your love a private message.
Instead, the sharing of personal relationship moments and details seems to be grounded in either attention-seeking—again, begging for an “Aww, you two are the cutest!” comment—or insecurity. Attention-seeking probably shouldn’t be a motivation in any relationship decision, and it seems to me that, if you’re secure in your relationship, you don’t need to invite the eyes or voices of others. The shaky scaffolding of other people’s attention is too weak a structure to hold a relationship together, and trust issues aren’t going to be resolved through a simple Facebook update.
I’m not a tyrant, mind you. I know how difficult it is to not be “adorable,” hard as you try. Moderate sharing is fine, and engagement, wedding, and pregnancy announcements can justify a status update.
Declarations of love and devotion that are excessive, incessant, and overly personal seem to almost trivialize the relationship. Facebook is a breeding ground for narcissism and mild stalking, but sharing aspects of your personal relationship—and one of the more intimate relationships that you can have in life—seems a boundary too far crossed.
When you share too much of your relationship, it stops being yours; it loses its special quality because the little moments that you shared with your partner are shared with all of your Facebook friends. I like the idea of keeping certain private things private. If there’s a point to sharing, I’ll share, but when it comes to my more personal life, I’d rather keep it personal.