As more information pours forth from the Manti Te'o Fake Girlfriend Geyser, I'll leave any commentary to future posts, as I'd consider anything said here today to be misinformed. The title of this post was stated for a reason: This is not an awkward post about Manti Te'0. This is an awkward post about online relationships. The confusion, the ambiguity, the guile, the deception. We've all fallen prey to this very common occurrence. We've all been chasing some of collegiate football's most prestigious awards with an outstanding season with the most storied college football university. We've all chased those dreams of becoming the best and attempted to create a fake girlfriend in an effort to bolster the narrative. I mean, who doesn't do that?
Oh, yeah. The rest of the sane-thinking world.
Now, now, I respect and admire the brave souls that venture down the paths of Match.com, eHarmony.com, JDate.com, etc. The busy and hectic nature of our society has demanded a drain of energy that usually results in a drain of social time - time spent with actual humans in a social setting. The point of the aforementioned websites is to pair off members in hopes of creating an authentic romantic relationship. We all want to love and feel loved. I get it.
But how slippery the slope may be.
What happens when every interaction between two people stays exclusively online? This means, get ready, a person has formed a love/bond/union/trust without ever seeing the face of the other person. As we witnessed with our linebacker friend, the online relationship can be as fortified as any reality-created relationship. You can fall in love, talk on the phone for 8 hours, convince a parent of the possibility of an in-law, convince classmates/media members/a nation that she suffered from a horrific cancer and died. You know, the normal stuff.
But what is the fascination of an online relationship for so many of these socialites? Call me an old soul, but I appreciate meeting a human being before forming a relationship (on a personal level). Mankind is comprised of social creatures with social tendencies. Why chose online? Well, it's easier.
According to Statistic Brain (the website used Reuters, Herald News, PC World, and Washington Post to accumulate the following stat), 40 million Americans have taken a crack at online dating. We can assume that plenty of the 40 mill ALSO go out and try the whole meet-face-to-face-to-see-if-there-is-a-connection thing. But what about the fraction of that 40 million that refuse to go out and rely on the internet for social connections? The social pariahs, outcasts, hermits, priests? Are these the same people that "dupe" linebackers into thinking they have girlfriends? Living online, creating profiles, chatting with strangers with a complete misrepresentation of self. When out in reality, these individuals are described as "socially awkward." Ewww, what a bad title!
After all my rambling, I have a parting thought to those who need the world wide web for social interactions: Face-to-face is always better. And with that, I encourage the less brave to counter that fear and enjoy the life around you. Life isn't meant to be lived in a computer or on a screen - that's called virtual reality, not actual reality. I enjoy living in the reality that is...well, reality. I say we all hop onto that train before life gets really awkward. And no one likes the socially awkward guy.