Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a Facebook-stalker. We all are. We scroll through photo after photo online, lapping up the beautified lives of friends and strangers: soft-porn for the masses.
In the fantasy world of triple-X channels, men are enormously well-endowed, and women are nymphomaniacs with fake assets. On Facebook we see a cast of men and women living slick lives of party and promise. There are no pimples or tears but instagrammed bikinis and sun-bleached hipstamatic beauty.
Recently, I learned the hard way never to judge a woman by her Facebook profile.
For a while I casually browsed the profile of a tall blonde with long legs and many ‘friends’. She was a friend of a friend I’d happened upon in one of those idle moments of clicking through the site. Her pictures, and the effusive comments below them, screamed popularity and sex appeal.
But when we met offline, reality caught up with me.
A friend introduced us at a party in Phnom Penh. My impatient thought-train went something like, “I know almost everything about you. I want to make love to you right now. Up for it? Great! Let’s go to your place.”
Instead, I offered her my hand and, leaning down to her ear to drown out the party noise, asked her name.
The answer was high-pitched and squeaky – hardly the deep and velvety moan that I imagined would match her tall, voluptuous frame. A minor disappointment. I was taken aback but not discouraged: this was the Facebook girl of my dreams and I would sleep with her, full stop.
We got drinks and talked. She told me she was a teacher but hated both the country and the children. She couldn’t wait to get back to England.
“But someone has to teach these kids social skills,” she told me.
I buried my head in the sand and refused to let a little arrogance dampen my spirits: this was the girl I had seen online petting a little Cambodian boy’s head and presenting the camera with a rapt smile.
She might not have liked Cambodian children but she seemed to like me. Or maybe she was just drunk and about to leave the country.
Either way, after five minutes of talk she placed her hand on my arm and left it there.
I kissed her and she kissed back.
In my imagination she had been a slow and sensual kisser, to match her full, rolling lips that had caught my attention on Facebook. After one minute of kissing, however, I had spit all over my face. She was slobbering hastily. This was all wrong. Maybe we just needed practise, I thought.
I was wrong. We went back to her place. She was nervous and awkward. I was transfixed by an off-putting rash on her neck, where her blood vessels stood out, swollen. The chemistry was terrible.
The girl I had imagined from a Facebook profile didn’t exist, and I was the shallow fool who believed in her.