I’m at that fun age where everyone but the pope and I seem to be getting engaged, married or birthing tiny humans. I suppose it’s a natural evolution, but sometimes, as a single 26-year-old, you can feel a little bombarded. Cue the “When are you getting married” questions and people giving me unsolicited advice about, “How to find a husband.”
I’m not bashing the people getting married. I hope to one day find someone I want to marry and spend the rest of life with. But I’m in no rush to do so. When it happens it happens.
I didn’t do it intentionally but after a summer of regular engagements and realizing I had become the age where it feels like it’s always wedding season, I conducted a weird little experiment. I freaked out Facebook with a fake engagement.
I was on a trip to New York in July for a conference, when I attended a screening of the new Fox show Grandfather. One of the show’s stars—Josh Peck, of Drake and Josh fame—was there, and I fangirled out hard. I got a photo with Josh, who I had a huge crush on, and posted it to Facebook. I wrote, “I haven’t posted pics on Facebook in months but I want you all to meet my fiancé Josh Peck. Tou may know him from Drake and Josh. We are so happy! Invitations to follow.”
It was, I thought pretty clearly, a joke. Anyone who knew me well knew that I was not, in fact, dating Josh Peck, or they would have definitely heard about it. But my phone began to blow up with notifications. At first, I assumed it was because I had posted a picture with a celebrity and someone that most of my friends watched growing up on Nickelodeon, but then I started reading the comments and realized people thought I was actually engaged.
“Dia I haven’t seen or really talked to you in years but you were always such a great person and you deserve all the happiness congrats”
I thought it was hilarious but had to admit I liked the attention. People whose friend requests I’d accepted and not given a second thought about were really happy for me. Posts about a new job or major website posting one of my articles didn’t receive this kind of fanfare.
The next morning I cleared up the confusion and pointed out that he is just a celebrity that I would love to marry but he probably forgot about me the second after he road down the escalators and wished me “Happy birthday again.”
But it wasn’t the last time Facebook became home for my fake engagement drama. The second time happened a week later after I got back home. I ran into my friend Jenna I hadn’t seen in 2 years with her husband at a bar. I was admiring the costume ring she was wearing on her right hand. She handed the ring that bared a striking resemblance to a real engagement ring to me.
“Did you just propose to me,” I laughed.
“Yes! I propose we hang out more and we start making time for together.”
Maybe I was buzzing from the thrill of being fake engaged the week before but I took of a photo of the ring on my left ring finger and captioned the photo, “This just happened! Sorry for the band aid. My friend proposed we be better friends! She even gave me a ring lol.”
I got a text from a friend, “What with the serious bling you’re rocking on Instagram.”
Again, it felt weird. The ring was pretty clearly plastic, and anyone who knew me, well, they knew I wasn’t on the engagement track.
The whole thing made me really reevaluate social media. Why did those photos that hinted that I might be getting hitched deserve more praise than my college graduation photo or the status about landing my dream job? Things didn’t add up to me.
I realize that when I do get engaged I will probably be considered the girl who cried engaged and get no likes but it really won’t matter. Because having so many people celebrate my fake engagement(s) reiterated what my six months without Facebook had taught me: social media is nice, and it has its uses, doesn’t add any real validity to the events in our life.
I’m not saying that likes on a post or a picture don’t make me happy but they don’t make or break my message or experiences. And look how easily that stuff can be misinterpreted. I know in this instance I was being pretty opaque on purpose, but it made me think. The most important things in my life aren’t necessarily the ones that are going to get me the most likes. And that’s a good thing to realize—because I’m doing those things for me, and not for the audience I have on Facebook. Social media is a great and powerful tool, and I’m not knocking it. But I think it’s important to remember that what you like is more important than what you “like.”