I realized the other day that I know the current whereabouts of the majority of the guys I've ever dated or had a serious crush on.
There's something a little underwhelming about the reality of this.
There was that point, sometime after leaving my home town, where, in the midst of a big city where I knew such a minuscule fraction of its inhabitants, I would wonder "whatever happened to so and so" and if I would ever run into them on a random street corner again.
(Of course, the only one that this ever happened with was The Worst Boyfriend Ever.)
Then Facebook happened, and they all stopped being mysteries.
This really hit me when, one random recent Saturday morning, I received an email informing me that Russ had added me as a friend on Facebook.
Russ' and I's history can be summed up quite simply. I'd met him a few times. We never had much of a conversation, but he made it clear whenever we met that he thought I was hot. I had recently broke up with a long-term boyfriend, so I called him. We made out on a handful of occasions, and maybe went out on a date or two. He got annoyed when he discovered that my "I'm-not-looking-for-a-relationship" did not mean "I'm-looking-for-no-strings-attached-sex", and we quickly faded out, relegated to obligatory nods if we ran into each other to make it clear there were no hard feelings. I honestly never knew much beyond what movies he liked.
Yet, 10 years later, he adds me on Facebook. I'd noticed him on it before, but never saw much of a point of contacting him. What, exactly, would we have to say? Remember that time we made out during Sleepy Hollow? Or the one time we had coffee? Still, out of sheer curiosity, I accepted, wondering his motivations-- of which there seemed to be none. I said hi. He said hi. That was pretty much it.
Now, as it it wasn't odd enough that I know what my high school boyfriends are doing with their lives, I even know what the guy I made out with in college is doing on Friday night (apparently having a BBQ, if you were wondering).
Crushes who nothing ever actually happened with are even more surreal. It seems that when things never really developed the way you'd hoped with a certain person, or when your relationship with them never had a messy end point, you always wonder if they were really that special. And what Facebook has shown me is that, while they may vary on where they end up in life, they are all just so tortuously real.
I remember when I received notification that the guy I fiercely crushed on for the entirety of my 13th year had added me. He was the older boy who teased me mercilessly in the way that only heartbreaking 17 year old boys can, by throwing me into the lake with my clothes on and tango dancing with me in the middle of the street. He had brown hair that always flopped into his blue eyes. He was just so achingly dreamy. I eagerly clicked on his profile, to see what had become of him, more than ten years later. And while he hadn't necessarily changed... he was just so painfully average. Sure, he wasn't ugly, he seemed to be happy and he didn't communicate solely in text speak... but he just wasn't as magically special as I recalled. And he couldn't help but lose a little of that shine in my memories.
Sure, there are advantages to all of this. I'm not gonna lie and say I didn't feel a tinge of smugness when I discovered the lying guy who crushed my heart at 16 gained about 100 pounds. I've also gotten back in touch with many a lost friend, including exes or ex-crushes who are genuinely good people I'm happy to see. Still, I can't help but wonder if there was something to be said about certain people remaining a bit of a mystery.