…by making it that much easier to find out if that old friend from high school that you don’t really care about—but kinda do—is getting married.
I was absentmindedly scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed yesterday morning, letting it, as it’s wont to do, gently lull my brain into submission. That’s when I saw it: Placed conspicuously in the page’s top right corner, above the “Create Event” and “1 Other App Request” icons, it read, “Timothy Thomas and Sarah Smith* got engaged.”
And I was all, “What the fuck?” Not because of Tim and Sarah’s particular nuptial bliss—as nothing I gleaned from knowing Sarah for five minutes in high school makes me believe she is unworthy of love—but because I didn’t realize this was a thing.
Facebook, through its (surprise! again!) newest feature, now tells—or should I say notifies—us when a couple’s gotten engaged. And, after a quick Google search, I discovered it will also drop you a line when said couples eventually tie their respective knot. And have babies.
They call it “Wedding and Celebrations,” and, as is the way with Facebook and all its attendant features, it is equal parts evil and brilliant.
Yet again, Zuckerberg and his minions have succeeded in first facilitating and then isolating what we, the biddable masses, are furtively scavenging for on our laptops, in dark bedrooms and poorly lit office cubicles: in this case, the knowledge that someone you vaguely know, or no longer talk to, has found (ostensibly) lasting love. Or, is settling. Either way, cue the envy/resentment/sense of superiority/Schadenfreude/despair/what have you.
It’s all deliciously shameful and, rather than letting us (or, let’s be honest, maybe just me) stalk our way into the revelation that one of your F-book pals is getting hitched or with child, they’re putting it all right there in the open, telling you to keep thinking about it because it’s good for you and… oooh, look at all the pretty pictures!
Of course, Facebook didn’t invent wedding or baby fever, just as it didn’t create jealousy, pettiness, and narcissism—the trifecta of insecurities provoked by seeing people with better lives’ glossy photos and glib wall posts. But Facebook is still an asshole for making me endlessly confront the fact that everyone I know from childhood is getting married and being an adult all of a sudden. Or, that I’m a bad person. Seriously, why can’t I muster up some joy for my betrothed acquaintances?
It’s not like any of my real (y’know, offline) friends are getting married, and I’m obviously not going to think marriage is cool till they start doing it. In fact, among the people I actually talk to, it’s taboo to even utter the word “marriage” in a self-referential context unless you’re like, at least 28. To get out of my own head, I consulted my friend Ariella Naymark, a 26-year-old Toronto expat who’s also single.
“The new feature’s annoying,” she tells me. “But, every change Facebook makes is annoying. When was the last time Facebook made a change and you were like, ‘Oh, I feel really positive about this?
“Anyways,” she continued, “it’s mostly annoying because everyone should shut up about getting engaged all the time.”
Uh huh. Did she want to get engaged, I wondered?
“Um, well… but, isn’t it always annoying when people get engaged and you’re not? How often are you like, ‘I’m so happy for them’? Mostly you’re just like, ‘No, that’s annoying of you…’ I guess I’m just shocked people are doing the things we talked about in elementary school—they, like, set life paths and actually follow through on them. I dunno, I’m just being a jerk.”
Right. So notwithstanding some seriously repressed jealousy, I think the really vexing thing about everyone you sort of know, or used to know, getting domestic all at once—and Facebook supplying endless, nauseating updates about it—is that it’s a constant reminder that real, proper adulthood is near, and, let’s be honest, even Facebook can’t save you from that.
Also, we’re jerks.
*Names have been changed.