Alphabet Series: Creep

Day Three: Creep

Ah, yes. The rite of passage of the single creature: to “creep.” The act takes on many forms, but I was fortunate enough to come of age in the rise of social media, which made creeping much easier.

You know you’ve done it. We’ve all driven past someone’s house at night with our friends (“That’s where he lives. No, not that one. Right there.”), which we located by finding the person’s number and address in the phone book. We’ve all taken the long way around the restaurant to the drink machine for a refill so we could get a closer look at the hottie by the window (“Okay, walk slowly, but don’t look. Not yet… Not yet… Now give a little side eye…”). We’ve all bought a single orange at the grocery every day just to check out at the cash register our crush is running. Or maybe that was just my mom. But hey, it got her my dad, didn’t it? *wink wink*

I became quite good at the Facebook creep. If I liked a guy, rarely would I be the first one to add him as a friend on Facebook. If I sensed he liked me back, I’d either wait for him to add me, or I’d bring it up in conversation (“Just message me on Facebook if you’d like to hang out this weekend… What?… Yeah, it’s S-P-E-E-S.”).

But if the guy was someone I simply admired from afar, hoping he noticed me, I’d set out on what would begin as a simple, shot-in-the-dark, first-name-only search, but would turn into something on the level of Penelope Garcia’s work on Criminal Minds.

Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia. Found on Tumblr. (ABC STUDIOS/MONTY BRINTON)

Say his name was John, and he was in my Tuesday/Thursday geology class, and that’s all I had to go on. (*Note: this is a fictitious scenario. There never was a John. If there are any Johns out there who know me and are reading this, I’m sorry to disappoint you.) If the class was on Blackboard – which, for all of you unfamiliar with the term, is an online method professors use to occasionally assign their students quizzes with obscure questions or essays about an eight-page article when they want to add another assignment to factor into the students’ grades – I would simply find the class roster and locate John’s name. After learning his first and last name, I could then take the creeping to Facebook and peruse whatever his privacy settings would allow.

If the class John and I shared was not on Blackboard, my process went something like this:

  1. Type “John” in Facebook search bar. See what comes up.
  2. Narrow search to “John Kentucky.” See what comes up.
  3. Narrow search to “John Louisville Kentucky” (since that’s a common place of origin for Western Kentucky University students). See what comes up.
  4. Type in name of fellow classmate (I always happened to know at least one).
  5. Peruse fellow classmate’s friends list for anyone named John.
  6. If this yields no results, type in professor’s name.
  7. Peruse professor’s friends list for anyone named John.
  8. If this yields no results, remember that John often wears WKU track team attire.
  9. Go to the WKU track team website.
  10. Find John, his last name, what he competes in and his best time.
  11. Return to Facebook.
  12. Type in John’s first and last name.
  13. Peruse what John’s privacy settings will allow.
  14. Imagine John telling me at the next class meeting that he’s been watching me all semester.
  15. Imagine John asking me out, insisting he won’t take no for an answer.
  16. Imagine John and me laughing and holding hands over a candlelit dinner.
  17. Imagine John blowing me a kiss as he crosses the finish line first at the Olympics, then rushing to the stands to take me in his arms before the medal ceremony.
  18. Close laptop and finish homework.

As you can see, it was a delicate and refined process.

I can’t say that I’ve totally put my creeping days behind me. Sometimes the occasion calls for it, like when I just can’t seem to remember the name of that person who said hi to me at church. But I obviously don’t creep on the opposite sex with aspirations of romance anymore.

Okay, I’ll admit it: I creep on Cory’s Facebook sometimes, if you can even call it creeping when it’s someone you’re going to spend your life with. But he has these photos from when he was little, and they’re just too adorable not to go back in and look through the annals of his photos. He was so tiny.


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