The irrepressible urge to become the “main character” of your own life isn’t necessarily damaging or harmful when enacted in small, mostly meaningless ways. Walking down the street as if your every step is being scored by the Jurassic Park theme is a fun activity that makes the mundanities of everyday existence go by a little faster. Lingering by the straws at the café in a beam of particularly buttery sunlight in the hopes that a street photographer will catch your moment of repose on film isn’t how I’d spend my Saturday morning, but you do you. In the same vein, mining your relationship or your “love” for viral content on social media is arguably a part of this impulse. As tempting as it is to tout the strength and composition of your relationship online in ways that seem specifically tailored to garner clout, please, I beg of you, do not.
This activity happens frequently on Twitter, as evidenced by the latest viral thread, which features a 32-year-old woman’s Batman-themed birthday party, orchestrated by her partner with a level of detail that is both impressive and deeply embarrassing to witness. The impulse to throw this party is sweet, and it’s clear that the woman in question is appreciative of her partner’s devotion, but my argument here is that the devotion in question would be best kept private. Love is grand but this sort of content, which I imagine is meant to be viewed as “sweet” and “aww,” feels unnecessary as presented to thousands of strangers on the internet. We do not need to bear witness to the strength of your love on Twitter because frankly, it is none of our business. Another recent example is the writer Rebecca Renner, who flew across the country to tell a man named Francois Wolmarans that she loved him. Naturally, she documented the entire thing on Twitter, and naturally (I’m sorry), it did not work out in her favor.
Rarely do these posts translate as a pure expression of love or actual appreciation for one’s partner, if only because they come off as extremely performative and in service of chasing fleeting fame. The internet has made it clear that the fame machine operates on a different plane; traditional methods of achieving celebrity are not nearly as efficient or effective as posting about love or your relationship in the hopes that a brand will notice the strength of your content and offer you gobs of money for more. Love stories of the sort that go viral on Twitter are ripe for the Modern Love treatment, as they are exactly the kind of sappy, improbable narratives that the New York Times column laps up. There are valuable lessons to be learned in heartbreak, and even better if those lessons can be summed up in a Twitter thread that translates to an essay that leads, eventually, to a rom-com.
I am not besmirching anyone’s love and how they choose to express it, but I am asking that these types of private moments, as sweet as they are, between couples and the like remain private. Remember the Curvy Wife guy, who was so proud that he was able to find the strength within to love his curvy wife? His love, which I am sure is genuine, became a powerful marketing tool for his personal brand, which is, as far as I can tell, “white man who loves women who aren’t thin.” This man’s success in monetizing his actual love for his wife, who I hope is happy, is perhaps the inspiration for others hoping to monetize their paths to love by grabbing at any shred of fame that they might find. The easiest way to do this is to pray that the physical demonstration of your love is clicky enough for the masses. However, this is corny, and embarrassing for all parties. Please! Don’t do it. Keep your monetizable love to yourself.