First off, we’re going to need a bit of back-story. The inspiration for this post/article/barely-coherent-tirade was a picture I saw being shared on the popular cat and dinner photo sharing forum, Facebook. (Apparently you can also use it for keeping in touch with friends although no ones really sure how.) The picture, I say picture, the jpeg of some text, was posted by a page (a profile format that was originally intended for celebrities and organisations) called “Reading someone’s status and thinking ‘oh shut the fuck up,'” a name that seems laughably ironic given the picture’s whiney, first world problem tone.
But I digress…
It’s the message that is the real screw in the tuna here (only a very small demographic will get that reference but I shall plow on regardless). The text reads as follows:
“Being *SINGLE is a good feeling, no drama and no heartaches. But sometimes it gets lonely and you miss that feeling of being **TAKEN.”
* It’s in capitals because, well to be honest I don’t know, it’s also highlighted.
** Yes, that too.
Right, now this sort of contemptible use of the internet really sets my rage-train rolling. In fact, not only does it set the rage-train rolling it stokes that fire up real hot and plunges that sucker off the unfinished bridge of annoyance into the canyon of hate. There’s several reasons for this and because I’m feeling particularly frivolous I shall elaborate.
Aside from the title of the page, which could have featured in Alanis Morrisette’s seminal tour de force (not really) “Ironic”, pages like this aggravate me because all they do is post other peoples crap. In my crazy hedonistic days (when pages first started to be comprised of a witty title and not much else and you could leave your front door open at night and Jimmy Saville was still an eccentric national treasure), I “liked” a few of these pages. That is until I realised all they do is pump a stream of virtual effluence onto your news feed so hackneyed it makes the Daily Mail look like the Daily Express (I’m only joking Daily Express readers, they’re both terrible newspapers). I was clicking unlike so fast I renamed my mouse Speedy González.
It’s a cold fact that all the creators of these pages are doing is trying to vainly massage their egos by posting other people’s material. Presumably so they can collect all those precious “likes” and swim around in them like Scrooge McDuck swims in piles of cash. Speaking of which, I always thought that was a bad idea given the amount of E-Coli on the average coin. And what kind of billionaire keeps his money in cash? Maybe he knows he needs to hire a financial advisor to invest some of it, but he’s worried about the huge… bill. (Duck humour, that’s what I’m reduced to?)
The second complimentary sachet of aggravation served with this image, and the most annoying one, is the keywords. I hate the words “single” and “taken”. Now, you’re probably thinking I’m some bitter, jaded, lonely crank. You’d be right, but I’ve had girlfriends and not all of them hate me. So it’s not that I’m just bad at relationships and don’t want other people to be happy. Although relationships invariably lead to the “telephone voice” (talk like a grown up you wuvved up idiot!)
At any rate, it’s the words and the connotations that really twist my pretzel. Single, for example, implies both loneliness, a kind of independence that society finds untrustworthy and a certain feeling of being unfinished. Like you’re not complete until you find that special someone (thanks for that Disney and Hallmark). You’ve not found your other-half and until you do you are not a real person, you are a half-person, a singular entity drifting through existence. We’re conditioned to believe that everyone needs an “other-half” for validation. I don’t need another half-person, I’m a whole person already (in fact from the back I’m more like two people).
The second word; “taken” I find even more unnerving. It reminds me not so much of a person being lovingly joined with that special someone in a mutually loving relationship but more of the Liam Neeson film. It’s such an aggressive word. You are taken, you are owned, possessed, stolen. I react to being referred to as “taken” in the same way Winston Churchill reacted when he heard Hitler had “taken” Poland. Maybe that’s the real problem. To me, taken sounds more like conquered.
Completing the trinity of vexation is the message itself. It’s one of those messages that on the surface appear to be rather poetic and deep. But when you actually read it you realise what it’s really saying is “relationships are difficult, but humans enjoy companionship”. Thank you for that blinding revelation Dr. Phil, what an inspired insight into the human psyche. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and perform a series of complex experiments to test whether shutting my genitals in a car door will indeed hurt. All the evidence points to yes, but since we’re in the business of confirming things everybody already knew I’d better follow the scientific method (it’s like the rhythm method but with a Bunsen burner).
It’s not just the obviousness of the message either, it’s the self-pitying nature of it. So you don’t like having to consider other people’s feelings but you also don’t like being lonely, oh if only your life weren’t so hard. I’m sure if the children forced to work in sweatshops only knew what you were going through they’d be a little more grateful for how easy they have it. Maybe we should start an add campaign. After all, £2 a month could fuel a whole fleet of Wahmbulances.
So please, I implore you, stop sharing this hogwash. There’s so much real wisdom in the world, knowledge that you could be helping spread through the potentially glorious social media format. Or failing that, just share some videos of people falling over, who doesn’t love that?