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Dating MySpace

I am not cool. I am the antithesis of cool, avoiding anything popular to extremes is more my style. I still wear clothes from four trends ago and waited two years to see Napoleon Dynamite.

What’s my point in detailing how much of a dork I am? MySpace.

Despite the pleas of friends, I’ll probably avoid MySpace for at least a few more years. I’m not bashing MySpace or boycotting it because I am involved with a fundamentalist religious movement. I’m just saying I don’t have one.

Most my friends have a MySpace or Xanga, and many of them are always asking for mine. In fact, because of my ignorance, my first brush with MySpace was awkward and confusing.

Some friends from church were giving me directions to a party and one said, “What’s your MySpace, and I’ll connect you?”

“What’s my what?”

“You know. Your MySpace?”

“What’s my space?”

“Are you serious?” she asked.

“Oh, you mean my space,” I backpedaled, hoping to cover my tracks. “I can’t remember. Give me yours and I’ll connect you.”

She wrote it down but I never figured it out. I threw the note away and skipped the party.

A few weeks later, I Googled “my space,” and for those who don’t have one or are as unfamiliar as me, I think I know why people enjoy it so much and it has over 50 million users.

It’s a social networking site that allows people to stay in contact with others and voice their opinions through lists or a blog. Apparently, it’s also a new and popular way to find dates.

I was at a dinner the other night with about 25 friends, and everyone kept talking about MySpace. It was kind of like sitting through an Anthony Robbins infomercial, only it was about MySpace instead of loving myself or becoming a millionaire.

“Do you MySpace?” one friend asked.

“I’m anti-MySpace,” I said, trying to sound tough, not telling her it was more out of unawareness than a stand against popularity.

As the conversation progressed, the faces of my friends beamed with excitement as they described their pages and who had signed onto them. Many old friends and ex-boyfriends had been re-discovered and had since been invited to be “friends.”

Putting two-and-two together, I asked, “Do people date off MySpace?”

“Yeah,” one said. “They hook up, too.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have to be careful. New guys are always asking to meet up at bars or go out and stuff.”

I zoned out of the conversation and remembered back to a time when I was in high school and the internet was just popping up on personal computers in people’s homes. There was this couple in our town that divorced because the wife had met some guy from Atlanta in a chat room, and she was moving there.

It could be just my apprehension, but as I listened to my friends share their stories, I couldn’t help but think of the similarities this new wave of personal communication presents.

Through more research, I discovered I am not the first to write about dating and MySpace. Apparently there’s even an ebook that teaches people how to date on the site. It’s called MySpace Dating Secrets! How to Meet Hot Singles For Free! Not just singles, mind you, but “hot” singles.

A summary of the book said, “Within a year, I gradually refined my techniques and experimented more—a few months ago things went so well that I actually went on 21 dates in just 2 months!”

It looked appealing because that’s more dates than I’ve been on in 3 ½ years, but I resisted.

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Interestingly, MySpace is also an opportunity at more than just dating. A few days ago, I tried deceiving my friend Keith into believing I was actually germane with society. I asked him if he MySpaced. He didn’t, but he told me of a feature he had seen the night before on Dateline about the dangers of teens using social sites.

I looked it up, and Rob Stafford reported that Dateline had searched MySpace sites and found “scenes of binge drinking, apparent drug use, teens posing in underwear, and other members simulating sex, and in some cases even having it.”

Another woman said the sites were “one stop shopping for sexual predators.”

That didn’t sound cool.

I hope people aren’t hearing me say they should shut down their sites, because that’s not the message. If it is a means to communicate, make friends, find happiness or even witness to non-believers, I see nothing wrong with the concept.

I may even be overreacting, but my message is mainly to warn others there are those who do use it to cultivate a sin nature.

Being that I am now a Christian man, I think it would be fun to stay in touch with old friends and check in on them occasionally.

Being that I haven’t always been a Christian, I know there are only one or two reasons in the past I would have wanted to contact an ex-girlfriend through her personal page. Being “friends” isn’t one of them.

Women grew up listening to their parents’ advice on the importance of not talking to strangers. Now, please hear the counsel of a man who was once a pig: Be careful with whom you are “friends” with and what type of information you share.

Not all guys deserve the opportunity to know or see what people may be posting. Some of it only a husband should know and hear about. Vice versa for guys and a future wife.

“Guarding your heart” has become a cliché some have grown out of, but there is still truth to guarding your heart, as well as guarding your space. It is tempting, but what seems like safety in hiding behind a keyboard and a monitor may not be so safe after all.

I gotta go. I’m learning how to Napster later today.

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