Face(book)

By chidorian

It started out quite innocently.

He wrote: “You look like the spitting image of my ex-fiancee. Could you be one of her daughters?”

He was a stranger who contacted me through private message. We have a Facebook friend in common, he explained, and my face jumped out at him because it looked so familiar.

Daughter? Ex-fiancee? Am I talking to one of my mother’s old boyfriends? My curiosity was piqued.

“Who is your ex-fiancee?” I wrote back.

Within moments, he wrote back. Based on the ex-fiancee’s current hometown and back story, there’s no connection. The thing is, my father’s extended family tree has many long limbs. Once in a while I meet a stranger who turns out to be a second cousin twice removed. We trace our branches along the tree until we reach a familiar intersection. We nod, ask a few questions, then part ways.

I thought this was one of those times.

Several hours later, he wrote me again. He’d found some stuff of mine online. He commented on it, then added: “I can’t believe how much you look like her.” 

Suddenly, I’m reminded of an odd moment in the mid-’90s when a man old enough to be my father — who’d been flirting with me at the coffee shop next to the paper — turned out to be the guy my mom was dating. I started to get an itchy, oily feeling. This isn’t going to end, is it?

I clicked over to his profile, poked around, saw class pictures, graduation dates. I did the math. He and I are about the same age. There is no way I could be the adult daughter of a woman only a few years my senior.

I wrote: We are close in age.

He wrote: Your profile picture makes you look much younger.  Is it recent?

I wrote: Thank you very much, but it is a recent, non-Photoshopped picture.

He wrote: It doesn’t look like your other pictures.

Hold on a minute, Mister. My other pictures? What the hell? So, you’ve been Googling me. You’ve been comparing pictures. My, how very stalker-ish of you. I double-check my Facebook privacy settings. They’re as tight as a nun’s drawers.

As much as I’m tempted to say something, anything, I decide the best move is to ignore him.

Hours later, he wrote again: Sorry to bother you again. Have I jumped to a conclusion? Is this even your picture at all? Sorry, I just have to ask.

I’m speechless at this point. What will he say next? “I’m sorry, your picture is simply inaccurate. You have deceived me. I’m going to have to kill you.”

I do the online equivalent of hiding behind the curtains. I maintain my silence. So far, I’ve not heard back.

Still feeling a little itchy from the experience, the next day I open an e-mail request from a former co-worker who is trying to connect with me on LinkedIn.

She wrote: “I think I worked with your mom years ago at (Newspaper XYZ). Tell her I said ‘hi.'”

I wrote back as politely as possible, even tossing in a joke that maybe I need to update my profile picture, that we worked together, not she and my mother.

She wrote: You look way too young in your profile picture to have worked with me.

Again, speechless.

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18 thoughts on “Face(book)

  1. Tight as a nun’s drawers may not be tight enough for stalkers. Totally freaky. I’m getting all shivery over here. That said, we need to be friends, and I need to get a look at that picture.

  2. Oh dear, I left my whole name for you to find me on Facebook. I forgot it would be published. Since you have to approve my comment, will you please delete my whole name in comment above?

  3. Jodi: Yeah, what do I know about nun’s underwear anyway? There could be all kinds of loopholes. The picture, to me, looks like me, especially at full-size. Maybe a thumbnail would fool someone.

  4. TeacherMommy: No. One is a former co-worker who somehow forgot enough about me to think I was my own daughter. The other, I just don’t know. You think your privacy settings are secure on Facebook but this illustrates that they are not foolproof.

  5. Online interactions are a bit tricky. I had a blog reader tell me this week that he/she thought my blog photo was unflattering and didn’t do me any favors with my readers, and that he/she had seen a much better one with me and my daughter that he/she thought I should use. What do you make of that? Pushy? Creepy? Even a little hurtful? I sure felt overexposed that day.

  6. Molly: Wow. How about all of the above? I tell myself that if I am going to put any part of me at all out there, I have to be prepared for the weirdness. It’s very similar to when I had a newspaper column. Sometimes my words would draw people into the newsroom to say such things directly to me.

  7. Online has gotten to be a very strange & scary place sometimes. Some people just don’t take care of themselves as well as you do! As for the guy, I’d be doing the same thing. Hopefully, he’ll take the hint & leave you alone for good. People can be so creepy! (((HUGS)))

  8. Colette: It’s funny how i think because I fly under the radar most of time time, that I am whispering secrets to my invisible friend, the Internets, when really I am talking into a loud speaker broadcast around the globe.

  9. Meleah Rebecca: This has been a GREAT way to get new Facebook friends! You’d think I did it on purpose, right? The actual picture? It’s not that crazy, really. I’ll try to find you on FB.

  10. I’m with Meleah, now I want to see the picture and consider yourself lucky that you look young enough to be your daughter, or someone else’s. I guess you are someone else’s daughter anyway but a young someone else’s. Gah, you know what I mean.

  11. Eek! You have me freaked out, too! As a testament to the quality of your writing, but also to the validity of your fear, I feel like I’m reading the beginnings of a creepy stalker novel.

  12. Pingback: Close to home | Middle State

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