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The Reality Of Internet Stalking

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Let’s be honest for one second. I know we’re on a website where commenters call themselves “SECpregamedrunk” and “Frapist” and “GoldenDongIhookupwithbabes,” even though they’re internet commenters and probably virgins, but let’s get a little real. We are all stalking everybody. When our buddy tells us a story about his previous night’s rendezvous, we go straight to the computer. We go to the “big three” of her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and then we dig deeper. Like, really deep. We go through spring break, we check out Mom for future potential, and we go to the prom pics to see which way this person went on the scale (as if the pliant, supple skin of high school was ever re-attainable). This is pure physical judgement to such an extreme that you’re even ranking her amongst her friends. If I denied ever saying, “She was a hot baby,” to a Throw Back Thursday picture then I’d be lying. But let’s be clear, this is the world we live in. This is the reality. Looking at what’s available to you to make a decision about someone is human. To judge their Twitter profile blurb is natural. Anything less would be to buy the cow before you pull the udder. And, as we all know, no one wants a dry cow.

A friend of mine G-Chatted me a few weeks ago. He wrote, “It’s going to be really weird once you get a long term girlfriend and she Googles your name. This wasn’t my best friend, either. This was some guy I’ve had a few cold ones with that randomly thought on a Tuesday, “How’s a girl ever going to settle down with this a-hole?” (Answer: they never will BECAUSE I’LL NEVER SETTLE DOWN I’M A WILD STALLION.) And honestly, up until that moment, I hadn’t really thought about being Googled, which is bizarre. I’ve internet stalked every girl I’ve ever dated and never once thought it might go both ways (You can imagine the kind of lover I am.) So, in the interest of science, I did some research on myself and well, guys, I’m here to tell you it’s not good. I even went a little further. I Googled “Jared Freid Masturbation” and I quickly realized the only women I’ll ever attract in the longterm are ones who hate their parents. This is the reality, though, and it’s best to get with reality. This is our normal, so why would we ever deny it?

I’m at the point that “internet stalking” is so ingrained that it’s weird to give it the negative connotation of “stalking.” I’m not finding out where a girl is so I can stare at her while I smell my fingers. I’m doing the “stalking” that we all do; the one where you match with a girl on Tinder, go to the mutual friend’s Facebook page, and find the matching “Lindsay.” Et voila, the future is here. I do this so breathlessly that I can’t believe some people don’t. I recently matched with a girl and as we got further into the conversation I mentioned–knowing the results from the “Jared Freid Masturbation” search–how she “could know a lot more about me than I do her.” Naturally. Yet, her response was a shock. She claimed this was impossible because she “didn’t even know my last name.” My eyes rolled so hard I physically watched my brain formulate skepticism. Really? You didn’t find the matching Jared? The one you were about to trust your non-raping to? Please. She knew my last name. She knows I have a brother. She knows I’m a comedian. Do we really have to go through all this?

In the movie “Her,” Joaquin Phoenix’s character goes on a blind date, mentions to his date the things he learned about her through social media, and her response was, “That’s so sweet.” Then they move on to the things they don’t know about each other. That was the most science fiction element of a movie about a guy who falls in love with his operating platform. It was a bold filmmaking choice to feature humans acting so rationally in a social media saturated world. Currently, we’re slaves to romanticized views of dating, one where people insist on believing they’re getting to know each other “organically,”–whatever that means–and pretending we all never cared to look each other up. To me, that’s more offensive. You couldn’t take the ten minutes to learn a little about me? To eliminate the most boring aspect of every first date? We value a bit of research in every large decision we make, save the one that could bring us the most happiness or misery. Somehow, that’s considered “stalking.” Let’s just cut the crap. All I’m trying to do is see those hot baby photos.

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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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