Part 64: Facebook

My education, as I might have mentioned before, has not been insignificant – despite being almost entirely state funded.

It’s equipped me with the life skills I’ve needed to set up this blog for a start.

And the ones I needed to read almost an entire chapter of Simone de Beauvior’s The Second Sex while pissed on whisky, that time my ex was horrid and I wanted a French person to give me stylish, intellectual reasons to hate men.

What my years of book-learning haven’t given me is the time, patience and fluency of foreign tongue that would allow me to read Dante’s Inferno in the original Italian.
I haven’t read it in English either, but that’s alright because there’s a decent enough synopsis on Wikipedia. That synopsis has familiarised me with the essential facts that will enable a metaphorical application of the epic work here (I apologise in advance if you came back for the kind of sexual stimulation I offered last week. That seemed popular. I’ll probably return to it once I’ve got this out of my system).

Dante’s version of hell, as you’ll perhaps know from popular cultural references, or from reading it yourself (yeah right), has nine circles. My fave are the circles Wikipedia dubs ‘lust’, ‘anger’ and ‘violence’. Not because these are the sins and vices I most frequently fall prey to myself, but because they’ll be filled with my peeps (I tend to be attracted to impulsive, unstable types – I’ve mentioned that before as well. Because it’s true. I might be a bore, but I’m no liar).

You know what they say about heaven for the weather and hell for the company?

Well, even though it’s very windy in that second circle I’d much rather blow about with Romeo, all intense and prone to spouting poetic declarations of adoration, than chillax with the type of people who are likely to be cloud bouncing up in heaven (I tried to think of some hilarious examples, but can only come up with the following dead humans who are definitely heaven dwelling: Jesus, Mary Whitehouse, Mother Teresa – what a party).

Because hell, as depicted by Dante, clearly isn’t vile enough to keep the charismatic away, God obviously needed to invent a tenth circle that would properly teach us sinners a lesson and improve the quality of company his end.

And thus, on the eleven-thousand-billionth day he created Facebook: where the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs would dwell, suspended in cyberspace, consumed with the bitter cyber-rage that comes from seeing digital snaps of an ex-lover’s sister marrying her long term beau and buying a spaniel puppy.

They know that nothing good can come from looking. And yet, each day they trawl her profile, retching bile as they spy her simpering status updates and photo captions (‘Pixie and Jeff having Sunday snuggles. XXX’) underneath smug pictures of weekend country walks, pictures of pup emerging from tartan chrysalis as a dog, of dog falling pregnant with an ikkle puppy litter, of puppy scan pics (‘my baby’s having babies!’) – as the lives of the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs remain frozen.

Peter Pan-esque the narcissistic, the insecure and the voyeurs upload their own smiling photos. They post links to ironic singles blogs they’ve written through jealous tears in cold, damp northern flats. Hoping that exchanging bile for cyber-lols will end their ceaseless suffering. But it never does.

Facebook is not a happy medium – despite the best efforts of its collective usership to pretend otherwise.

And, importantly for this blog, Facebook has just too much potential to cause relationship ruin for me to suggest that being in one while you’re an active user is sensible.

I mean: irrational jealousy sparked by an old pic of your boy snogging his comprehensive school sweetheart. Rational jealousy sparked by inbox messages evidencing your boy’s affair with his brother’s girlfriend. Ugly pictures of you passed out on a crate in The Venue, New Cross on New Year’s Eve 2008. Someone you’ve been sleeping with using ‘lol’ unironically, or tagging themselves in a photos wearing wigs to fancy dress parties, or attending fancy dress parties. Or ‘liking’ a photoshopped picture of an old couple holding hands in the sunset.

I have no idea how people manage relationships now that all the skeletons are out of the proverbial closet, poking your cousin with a sheep (yes, I know no one’s used that sheep throwing app since sometime in 2007, but still), which is one reason I’ve been single since I signed up to the social network.

I mean, I could deactivate – only then I’d probably never find out how many teeny spaniel pups Pixie gives birth to when she finally drops that litter.

And there’s always next year for functional relationship stuff. At least, there is in hell.


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