Should You Google A First Date? No? But Facebook's Okay, Right?

"You're bored, you're sitting in front of a computer and you have a first date in the next few days. Should you Google?" asks The Guardian. Obviously not. Will you? That's another issue.

So, The Guardian asks, is it apropos to Google someone before a date? One the one hand:

Leaving aside the force of raw curiosity, you might actually uncover something you urgently need to know. Like the woman in New York in 2004 who Googled her date and found an FBI warrant for his arrest. He'd been on the run for a year after allegedly stealing around $100,000. She didn't turn up for dinner that Friday; the Feds agreed to stand in.

Okay, but FBI warrants aside - and why, by the way, was this cat asking her out under his real name? Add "inept" to the list - the cons are pretty obvious. The piece idenitifies the potential awkwardness of being "in a difficult situation where you know something you shouldn't and then have to feign ignorance when it is mentioned:


If you've already discovered that he or she once won a Bafta, or spent three years learning throat-singing in Mongolia, you will find yourself steering conversation in that direction. Things become stilted; the spirit of mutual discovery isn't quite what it ought to be. Not only that, you run the risk of forgetting what you've been told and what you're not meant to know yet. You ask him how his pet bunny is and he peers at you oddly.

Sure, that sounds crap, and unless you're a nutjob like, say, Shannon on The Bachelor, to be avoided. (Also, you'll find you have Facebook friends in common, which is disconcerting.) But seriously, this is the only reason to avoid obtaining information which, as the piece points out, "could once only have come from a private detective?" It's not merely that it strips spontanaiety from the date, but, in my experience, it makes you feel creepy. We all have friends who have dived into quite unembarrassed orgies of online reconnaissance, and it doesn't exactly project self-assurance. But the bigger issue is karmic: who wants someone looking you up, judging you as the sum of a name on a college club list you only signed up for to be polite; a high school paper article; a picture of you with, let's say Mr. Met with a creepy stranger, maybe on a very humid hair-day, in a pair of jeans you got on super-sale. It is this, more than anything, that's stayed my hand (until, say, the third date.) Because, at the end of the day, an impressionistic Google portrait is, pretty much, worse than nothing.
Should you Google your date? [The Guardian]