Can’t Read a Face by Its Book


I’ve considered getting myself all Facebooked. Heaps of folks whom I like and admire, from George Will to Pat Buchanan to Ann Coulter, are on Facebook, and the idea of being able to poke them before spreading graffitti all over their walls holds no small appeal.

But then I remember I have a blog already and wonder if I need to create yet another “life by proxy” site for myself. The answer, so far, has been nope. I can’t imagine finding the oomph to maintain one more thing in my life, especially when I already have a fair number of plucking, exfoliating, and moisturizing regimes already in place. If I added any more responsibility to my daily list, I fear something would have to give, most likely remembering to pick up my daughter from Girl Scouts (rest easy, responsible parents: it’s a mere 6 mile walk home, and she’s a wiry little thing).

My reluctance to go Facebook was further fueled when I eavesdropped on a student after class one day.

Her name was Mindy.

You may have heard of her.

Mindy was chumming up to an unsuspecting classmate–one of her favorite past times–and opened with,

“My mom is so gay.”

Fellow classmate, lacking an adequate comeback: (incredulous silence)

Me, stepping in for the save: Well, if she’s found love, that can never be bad, right? Does this mean you have two mommies?

Mindy: Huh? I said she’s so gay, not, like, a lezbot. Sometimes, Jocelyn, I don’t know what you’re talking about. She’s so gay because she joined Facebook. And she’s ancient, like 37, which makes it pathetic. I mean, who wants her mom trying to “friend” her?

Me: Hey, c’mon, people of all ages use Facebook! It’s a great way to find people you used to know and, um, see what they’re doing and where they’re living so you can go through a bunch of angst about how your life isn’t glamorous and hasn’t panned out in the direction you’d have hoped back when you were 20, but because you want to keep doing kind of a queer and creepy semi-friendship but mostly engaging in an ogling voyeurism of these past acquaintances, you act all smiley while secretly hoping they’re going to announce their divorce (you always knew Sean from your biology class was a rat bastard, so a little misery serves him right) and have to change their romantic status back to “single.” Indeed, Facebook isn’t just for you half-formed striplings! It has a rightful place in the lives of petty and bitter people of all generations, right?

Fellow Classmate, who has been sitting agape the whole time: Naw. It’s just sad when old people get on Facebook. Even Tom Petty.

Mindy, shaking her head ruefully without ever actually having encountered the word “ruefully”: Totally. My mom’s all saggy and only has this lame boyfriend, and she’s been keeping clean since she got out of rehab, so why does she have to go and be all tragic on Facebook? Seriously, she has about three friends on there, and I’m one of them. I’m kind of all, “Mom, maybe go back to the bar, or get a hobby or something.” She’s completely going to want go start going out with me on the nights when the mom of my baby’s daddy’s other kid watches my daughter. She’ll probably (dramatic, put-upon sigh) start asking to borrow my jeans, too. I mean, GAWD.

So, for now, even though I know heaps of y’all are ancient geezers and proud members of the Facebookian world order, I’m going to continue to resist creating the sad and pathetic presence I would contribute. Like Mindy’s mom, I’m doing pretty well at those things all on my own.

Just me, my rainbow-covered poncho, my John Travolta tote bag, and a borrowed pair of Mindy’s jeans.

We ride the bus sometimes.






29 responses to “Can’t Read a Face by Its Book”

  1. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    My daughter has stressed to me more than once that Facebook is for the young, not the moms who eat them. Well, some of that is my interpretation of her remarks concerning Facebook and me.

    And while I am not without curiosity about some of my past-life companions, I am decidedly creeped out by the fact that everyone in the world knows where one is and what one is doing at any given time. That is a little too much like a group poop.

    But I’m sure the lovely Mindy would disagree, and her saggy-gay mom with the loser boyfriend whose other girlfriend would probably never watch her kids.

  2. jess Avatar

    Nonsense! Everyone, from my grandpa, to my friends’ parents, to the kids I nannied for when they were roly poly balls of chubby toddler; is on FB. How’s that for weird? Once you get past that, it’s actually kinda nice.

    I’m keeping in touch with people I never would’ve been able to otherwise. And you don’t have to tell people what you’re doing, hell you can just make crap up if you want to.

    How’s that above semicolon use, Prof? I don’t really know how to use them (does anyone?) but I don’t want any punctuation to feel left out so I try to throw one in every once in a while.

  3. pistols at dawn Avatar
    pistols at dawn

    Yipes. I sign up for all these sites, then quickly lose interest when I remember that I have no interest in people who aren’t me.

  4. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    Did you know that you and I both wrote about Facebook on the same day? What are the odds? (Probably pretty good, you know, with the whole world factored in.)

    Anyway, the things that make Facebook THE thing for “old” people, make me want to run screaming from it. I have no interest in keeping in touch with people that I don’t already keep in touch with.

    Plus, with a blog and Facebook, I would never get any work done at all.

  5. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    A friend convinced me to join facebook and I did, only to have that person leave a ridiculous and embarrasing comment on my wall. I couldn’t think of a reason why I’d want to keep on, so I deleted the account. Now whne people ask me to re-join I just stick my fingers in my ears and sing.

  6. Jazz Avatar

    I went there once and and created a profile to I could see what exactly it was. Then I started getting emails from total strangers who wanted to be my friend.

    Or was that MySpace?

    Who knows.

    Whatever happened to MySpace anyway?

  7. lime Avatar

    well, i avoided facebook for all the same reasons you did until…

    the eldest limelette requested the honor of my presence on her friendlist. i figure when a teenager invites you into her world you enter poking, quizzing, sending hugs, writing on walls, and all…

    oh, and as for sean, he spelled it shawn and he was in trig class. i remember him fondly with a wistful little sigh. i hope he is deliriously happy and that maybe he smiles if i ever cross his mind.

  8. Balou Avatar

    I’m with ya. If anything, you could start a new blog called “Intelligent Conversations with Mindy” as it would take no effort at all.

    I “Twittered” for two days once.

    My theory; “old” people getting into the young peoples things feed our economy. By the time parents and grandparents have joined up, there will be a new site that becomes famous and Facebook will end up as Myspace has. Just like when grandmas started wearing polyester bell bottom pant suits in the 70’s causing the bell bottoms demise until their resurgence in late 90’s.

    [lesigh] BARBARINO [/lesigh]

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    There’s a word for you: slacker.

    And as for Sean, now that he’s out of jail, he’s been very nice contacting me and inviting me to anniversaries of his getting out.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Oh, that “anonymous” was me. I can never remember how to log into THIS little virtual whirl, but I always remember my Facebook password.

    iJim, who has started to twitter to no end

  11. furiousBall Avatar

    facebook is the equivalent of when kids in the late 70s would pull up next to the high school in their kick ass air brushed conversion van with Led Zeppelin IV blaring out the windows.

  12. AmyTree Avatar

    I like Facebook because it lets me keep in touch with friends (and my brothers!) in other countries. I wish my mom would join, actually. (She IS a lezbot, and so already ‘gay’, thus negating the ‘gayness’ of non-younguns on the web.)
    It was a tad weird when my dad joined though….

  13. Jeni Avatar

    I’m voting with you on the opting out of Facebook! My daughter -who has a MY Space acct., plus one on Facebook and belongs to upteen various online group via Cafe Press and I have enough problems as it stands right now with both of us vying to get some computer time to ourselves! Which explains one reason why I often am up in the wee hours of the morning ow reading/commenting on blogs etc. No wonder I need my mid-day naps, huh?

  14. Say It Avatar
    Say It

    I am on facebook, and according to Mindy, I’m like old. I’ve friended my teen nephew and send him what I think is funny stuff. He sends back sighs and eye rolls. My entertainment quotient fills easy.

  15. Becky Cazares Avatar
    Becky Cazares

    There’s something called that’s supposed to be Facebook for old folks, but it doesn’t look like even half of what Facebook is. I mostly keep track of all my cousins and their kids – does sorta feel like spying on other peoples’ lives, but I guess if it is with their permission…

  16. yinyang Avatar

    I’m sad that Mindy likely won’t have the opportunity to contribute to your blog fodder after this semester.

    As for Facebook, I have an account because almost all of my friends fled town, which killed my social life. Not to mention the fact that some people I know will actually respond more quickly to a prod on Facebook or MySpace than a message on their cell phone. It’s sad, but that’s my life for ya.

  17. franki Avatar

    Everyone knows Facebook is about Wordscraper (online Scrabble) and getting my ass kicked internationally.

    Otherwise, it’s mostly been a way for ex-boyfriends that I don’t want to talk to to find me.


    That part sucks.

    But the Wordscraper is the bee-s knees.

  18. Chantal Avatar

    Oh my, Mindy has already reproduced…

  19. Karen MEG Avatar
    Karen MEG

    I’m have a FB account but I’m hardly ever on it. It’s actually quite depressing sometimes looking at the old high school classmates and going “who are they again?” or, ‘yikes, they did NOT age well’…But to be honest, it was when my old high school sweetheart (and it didn’t end well) tried to add me as a friend, that I got a bit freaked. Just too weird, KWIM?

  20. kimber the wolfgrrrl Avatar
    kimber the wolfgrrrl

    I hate my Facebook account, because I can’t bring myself to delete it. What if someone from Grade 3 wants to contact me? How can I delete my friends list? It strikes me on so many emotional levels — aaaaaaaarg!

  21. movin' down the road Avatar
    movin’ down the road

    I have both. I mean, between email, blog AND facebook, you gotta have lots of stuff to “check” all day.

  22. Mother Theresa Avatar
    Mother Theresa

    Oooh cool! I’m now officially an old geezer since I am not only on Facebook, but also on MySpace. So what’s Mindy’s last name? I think I’ll look her up…I’ll tell her you sent me. Maybe if you tell her I’m not saggy yet, she’ll friend me. 😉 Seriously though, I found one of best friends from high school on FB. We had lost touch and I always did wonder what had happened to her; now I know and we’ve rediscovered our friendship.

    Come on, join, just so I can poke you. 😉

  23. WaltzInExile Avatar

    Earlier today, I was lamenting the name my parents gave me. And while I’m still not fond of it, I want to thank you for helping me to realize that the very spelling of my name, which I used to despise (M-I-N-D-E-E) is NOT the same as “the lovely Mindy” and for that I can be grateful.

  24. P-Dawg Avatar

    Joc–Tom Shilk here. I feel I must comment as I was once torn by conflicting feelings regarding facebook but have reconciled my positive feelings about its attempt to replicate the small town feel most people feel has been lost from the modern world and my negative feelings about exactly the same thing. I do feel slightly defeated by my surrender to the reality that the world isn’t a big dorm where you can pop in to your neighbor at 2am with your problems…but…but…facebook isn’t all just cleverness and “status” one-upmanship…it has in fact gotten me back into physical, concrete contact with some old pals I’ve not seen in 20 years. And it just makes keeping in some sort of touch so damn easy.
    And hi Joc…Nice to be back in touch with YOU.

  25. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    I also wanted to tell you that my husband has just recently found like all the people we (yes, I wrote we) went to high school with on Facebook. They are all captivated by our lives and every time someone else sends a message saying, “Wow, so you’re in Poland?” I read him that line from your post

    “It’s a great way to find people you used to know and, um, see what they’re doing and where they’re living so you can go through a bunch of angst about how your life isn’t glamorous and hasn’t panned out in the direction you’d have hoped back when you were 20, but because you want to keep doing kind of a queer and creepy semi-friendship but mostly engaging in an ogling voyeurism of these past acquaintances, you act all smiley while secretly hoping they’re going to announce their divorce”. I think you have summed up exactly what everyone I went to high school with is feeling. Quite nicely. He wants to make that his favorite quote on FB.

  26. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    I’m wondering when the border of when I can be officially considered saggy, and thus officially no longer allowed to be on FB due to sheer patheticness.

  27. cathy Avatar

    “when the mom of my baby’s daddy’s other kid watches my daughter”

    And I thought my life was complicated!

    I must have a look at facebook, I’d never heard of it but if I put it on my “to do” list I’ll know all about it in a couple of years… right after I join the gym.

  28. Minnesota Matron Avatar
    Minnesota Matron

    I’m still staggered by the lezbot thing — being silly or pathetic equated to being gay, still. sigh.

  29. Glamourpuss Avatar

    I was incredibly sceptical about Facebook but I have to say, I really like it. I ignore all the friend requests from random men, perverts and ex-pupils and use it for networking and keeping in touch with my pole pals across the world. Personally, I thought all those little twats like Mindy used MySpace or Bebo and Facebook had indeed been designed for ‘grown-ups’…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *