#StarbucksDrakeHands & the fickle art of digital seduction
By Sharon Miki, Columnist
When it comes to romance, there’s always a chance that the person you’re interested in isn’t going to feel the same way about you. Learning this information often comes at a cost: you put yourself out there, and the object of your affection either wants it or not. If not, you dust yourself off and move on—c’est la vie, etc. So why would any sane person risk immortalizing their own digital rejection for the entire world to see?
The most recent case of romantic digital fontrum to sweep the web is #StarbucksDrakeHands. Basically, a barista named Brody Ryan asked a hot lady customer for her number. She gave it to him. A few days later, Ryan texted his crush a video of himself staring intently into the camera and wiping his hands dramatically on his face; all to the baby-making bass of Drake’s song “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
The girl wasn’t interested, but she did forward Ryan’s video to her friends to make fun of him. One of her friends posted the video on Instagram, and voila! It instantly went viral, with millions of strangers laughing at Ryan’s earnest attempt to get a date. The hashtag #StarbucksDrakeHands was born, and within days there were hundreds of parody videos popping up. Poor guy.
As mean-spirited as I think it was of the girl to share this guy’s (albeit really stupid and embarrassing) digital seduction-gram with her friends, I place the blame firmly on Ryan’s shoulders. It’s sad, but we live in a social-sharable world where you can’t trust anyone—particularly a total stranger—to not exploit your sincerity or vulnerability.
Even people who take private photos while in relationships can never be sure if their exposure could later be used against them. Earlier this month in California, a bill was signed to outlaw “revenge porn,” which is a sub-genre of pornography in which bitter exes post relics, made during happier times, on the Internet. If this type of pornography has reached a level that the government needs to outlaw it, it’s insidious. While I imagine that many of the jerks sharing revenge porn are also the types to film people without their knowledge, I am also willing to bet that many of the images and videos were taken in the name of trust and romance.
There is a difference between bravery and stupidity. Hitting the record button doesn’t automatically guarantee you success; it merely puts you at risk for becoming a laughing stock. Sure, Brody Ryan may have found his 15 minutes of viral fame. In doing so, however, he sacrificed his emotional integrity.
Call me a prude (hey, it’s better than being called a prune!), but the best defence against public humiliation when it comes to romance is to not digitize or publicize it. If you want to make a grand romantic gesture à la Lloyd Dobler and his infamous boom box, go for it. Just don’t do it in front of a camera. If your romantic goal is to interact with someone you like, maybe the best thing to do is to just interact with them, sans camera.