No. I'm sorry. The internet does not make anything any safer and I am spooked. I'm not liking this at all. I've been found twice and shook up once.
Footprints in the ether. They are everywhere. Match is utterly transparent as is LinkedIn unless you turn this feature off. Turning it off isn't a good idea as it defeats the purpose and then you seriously look like a stalker but I guess if I really wanted to look at somebody's profile, Match or LinkedIn and really didn't want them to know, I'd cloak myself and do it that way too. Except I wouldn't. If I needed to do it cloaked I wouldn't do it at all.
Let me back up a little; I've finally worked this out. If your LinkedIn profle gets enough hits on a daily or weekly basis, you become a candidate for an upgrade and LinkedIn throws you into a marketing campain designed to get you to upgrade to the professional version. One of the things you get are periodic reports when people are viewing your profile. You can also go look at who's viewing your profile. This is useful for networking purposes. It can also be a little creepy. Why is that guy viewing my profile? Seriously, this is weird for this reason, this reason and this reason and why for the love of God is my ex-husband on my account?
I was looking at one of my viewers a little while ago and he looked damn familiar. We have absolutely nothing in common. Except. Except except except One person. She lives regionally and dances north. Mother of God. He's been through my Match profile and found me on LInkedIn by first name and the fact that I dance only. I chose not to block him. There was no point. These things happen. But I was spooked. And unhappy. Deeply unhappy.
There is a reason Match allows you to see who is viewing your profile. You're SUPPOSED to see this. You're supposed to see the when and the how often. The most recent pops up at the top of the list with the last time of login, more or less. Is active now, has been active in the last hour, has been active in the last 24 hours. If this person goes inactive they are marked inactive or they come off the list. I can't tell for sure but I'm pretty sure they have to literally remove themselves from the site to come off the list.
Anyway, you're supposed to see this and then it's sort of like click bait. Have a look at me too. Well, I might not want to have a look at you. I might want to be invisible and look at you but that's cheating. If I look at you I'm encouraging you and this is making me nervous.
An unexpected face popped up at the top of my list on Friday night and I about had heart failure.
I remember when Elizabeth's dad and I used to cross paths on this site. Because we were in the same region we'd end up in each other's feeds and politely never open the other's profile. It would have been prying. On the other hand I once edited his profile but that's not the same. I would never have actually opened it.
I did NOT click on the unexpected face. I DID come within an inch of shutting my account down. It's hard to do that with a phone app though.
Why did I not feel so exposed last time?
So here's what was going on in the mean time; and certainly this wasn't happening. I'm tempted to put his photograph at the top of this post but that's really pushing it.
Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 8:40: Perfectly reasonable if not 95% one sided conversation. I decided the only way I was really going to get a feel for this guy was to look him dead in the eye. He didn't sound like he was all there but he was taking very good care of his mother so maybe he was distracted. OK, meet me for coffee at noon on Saturday. I didn't expect to hear from him again except maybe confirmation on Friday or Saturday morning. He knew almost nothing about me.
Thursday morning at 7 AM: Incoming text message: Good morning. I nearly blew coffee out my nose. WTH? You don't know me at all much less well enough to send me a post at 7 AM which reads Good morning. My last boyfriend had those rights. No one else ever had those rights. I chose to leave it unopened. It popped up, I could see it, I let it be. We clearly have some significant boundary issues and / or expecation or behavioral differences. I thought back to the beginning with NM where we definitely had some very strong differences of opinion and decided to let that one be until I could talk to him.
Thursday during the day: I responded much later in the morning, I just said hi, smiled and kept going. He continued to communicate and I said I'd been in meetings all day. I did not engage any more than was absolutely necessary.
Friday during the day: Holy shit this man is chatty. Doesn't he have a life? A job? Anything? I tried to explain what I was doing. Long pause and then he came at me with a barrage of accounting terms but in sort of a mean way, as in, just do this and fuck 'em. Really?! I take my job seriously. I like my job. Go away. At about 4 PM: Are you getting out of there anytime soon? No. My guys will be here until about 9, we're in the middle of the close and I'm not feeling well so I'm going to pick up my daughter, go home and finish up. Pause. So I could rub your tummy.
OK, feel better.
I thought about what I was going to say to him on Saturday over coffee but at this point my head was ready to explode and I was supposed to talk to somebody else; some probably perfectly nice man. I didn't have it in me but also didn't want to blow him off either just on general principle. I thought maybe some sleep might help.
Back to the parking lot with Elizabeth and I'm scrolling through the app when I see that one unexpected face and the top of my head blows off. Footprints, people, we leave footprints. We leave them everywhere. We leave them when we hack blogs, when we look at LinkedIn profiles, social media, even when we look at Facebook pages. That is not a hoax, by the way, you really can see who's been on your site. I did this once and never again. It's not particularly accurate but you get a general idea and it can be a little creepy. Some things are better left alone.
I get home and finally look at my email.
It's a one sentence email.
We can cancel coffee tomorrow.
Oh thank God.
Later I received a text message. I wish I'd kept the content if only to sort through the strangeness of the compostion. It took me a while to sort through what he was saying but the general gist of it was this. 'I was right: no kids and you need to put lack of commiment and trust on your profile' 'my book is going to be a blockbuster'.
I might have that out of order.
He reminded me of the man at the Redding Roadhouse who escalated to the point where I had to remove him from the bar and then stay in the bar while the bartender contemplated calling the police.
I don't like being scared, it really pisses me off. I REALLY don't like having my boundaries crossed. THAT makes me feel more objectified and less like a human being than having somebody look at my ass in the street. Having my boundaries crossed makes me feel like a non-entity, as if I don't exist at all.
That really scares me because here's the thing, men, people, hurt other people when those other people cease to be people and become non-entities. They hurt with impunity because they don't see that what they're doing is stepping on another person. They might see it later, maybe, as an after thought, but in the moment, not so much.
That really scares me.
I used to be bullet proof. What the hell happened?