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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Proof is in the MySpace Profile

I don't have a PhD in psychology. I didn't study human behavior at Harvard. I don't have a plaque on my wall that qualifies me to make assessments about other people's relationships. But I do have eyes that are usually open and a common sense that is usually fine tuned...and a MySpace account that is in good standing. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that those three attributes have given me some pretty in-depth insight into the world of infidelity.

This is the story of something that happened to me a few years back that has obviously stuck with me over time, otherwise I would never be to re-tell it with such acute detail. One boring and uneventful day at work, I was browsing through my extended network of profiles on MySpace and I came across the page of one of my boyfriend's close friends. Let's call him Tom (because everyone knows a Tom on MySpace).

Now Tom was recently known to be in a semi-serious relationship with "Judy." And the only reason I knew that was because my friend, "Rachel," seriously wanted to get with Tom. But alas, she could not because, you know, Judy was in the picture. So I told her he was off-limits. But that particular day, I'm browsing through Tom's profile, being the nosy MySpacer that I am and I decide that I'd really like to get a look at this infamous Judy. But as I scan his page, I find that there is absolutely no evidence of her to be found. She hasn't left comments. She's not pictured in any of the photos. She's not even listed in the Top 8 Friends. Judy is unmistakably absent. And so I decide to investigate further. I scroll down to the profile information box and see that he is in fact, "single" again and "looking for a relationship" Hooray! I think and immediately get on Instant Messenger to tell Rachel that Hottie Tom is finally back on the market. Then I whip up a quick email to Tom's regular non-MySpace email address and tell him that I heard he was single again and wondered if he'd be interested in going for a drink with me and Rachel, whom he'd met once before at a party and thought was cute.

A few days go by and no response from Tom. And I'm getting a little annoyed because Hello! Rachel is hot and she and Tom would make a very adorable couple. But I calm myself down and think, okay, perhaps he's still getting over Judy and therefore not ready to date yet. I can respect that.

Finally, after a week has passed I get an email from Tom. And I can already hear the choir serenading me with a rendition of "Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match!"

But when I open the email, I find that it is not in fact from Tom. Although it is sent from Tom's email address. But the letter itself, is actually from Judy! And she's writing it from Tom's email account! Now, this happened a few years ago so I'm going to have to paraphrase, but basically the email went something like this:

I don't know who you are or what you think you're doing but Tom is NOT single nor has he been for the past six months. We are extremely happy together so I'd appreciate if you'd stop trying to fix him up with your single friends.


Judy (Tom's Girlfriend)

You can imagine the considerable restraint it took me to not immediately punch in a hasty and very petty reply such as "if you're so happy together a) why does his MySpace page say he's single with absolutely no trace of you whatsoever and b) why do you feel the need to read AND respond to his emails? And I know some of you are going to think that I should have done exactly that. But I truly felt that it wasn't my place. If Judy felt the need to read Tom's emails on a regular basis then she had enough problems on her plate and she certainly didn't need to add me to the growing list. And if Judy is anything like the person her email suggests, then I imagine Tom would be hearing enough about this from her and probably didn't require my help in that department either. So I kept my mouth shut. I didn't reply and I didn't attempt to make any further contact.

When I told my boyfriend the story later that night, he informed me that Tom is one of those guys who likes to keep a MySpace profile that reads "single," just in case. Just in case what? Just in case his girlfriend finds it, kicks his ass to the curb and then he has a head start on the dating game? Hmmm....the logic in that seemed just a little bit fuzzy. And what did my boyfriend mean by "one of those guys who likes to keep a single MySpace profile?" Is this what men are doing nowadays to keep their options open? And if so, wouldn't this be the first tip-off to Judy that there's just the slightest chance Tom doesn't really see her as a "long-term" thing? And if it is, why bother writing the email to me at all? Save your time and finger muscles and just dump him and move on to someone who respects you. Someone who loves you enough to take that giant leap of faith, make the commitment and change his MySpace profile to "In a relationship."

But again, it's not really my call to make. And it's not really my place to judge.

I'm no longer with my boyfriend at the time and in staying true to traditional break-up rules, I no longer hang out with any of his friends. And so I don't have a clue what Tom or Judy are up to these days? But to this day, I do often wonder. Did they make it? Are they still together? Is she still fending off potential matchmakers on Tom's behalf? And did he ever find it in his heart to update his MySpace page?

My curiosity recently got the better of me and I went searching once again for Tom's profile but I couldn't find it. Maybe he changed his name. Maybe he went into the witness protection program and came out with a whole new web identity. Or maybe in the end, he decided that his very own online space just wasn't worth the drama.

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Blog Description

Jessica Brody, author of the forthcoming novel, The Fidelity Files, explores the thorny topic of infidelity in modern-day society