I will admit, I am a Googler. I was a Googler long before one even Googled potential dates, lovers or boyfriends, but I have been known to use whatever means at my disposal to find out more information about a guy than he would normally be disposed to provide to me. It might have started the one time a friend of mine with access to our university computer system called up a date's entire (unstellar) academic record to try to convince me that he was not good enough for me โ€” with that kind of power at your disposal, how would you not get hooked? But in the last 12 years, as Joanna Pearson points out in this weekend's NY Times "Modern Love" column, it's gotten a lot easier to figure stuff out about a guy (or girl). She thinks it leads to grief: I on the other hand, proudly own my cyberstalking ways.Joanna's problem is twofold: she stalked, and then she wanted to lie about it (and perhaps threefold, as she is apparently a terrible liar). And so she stalked, tried to pretend she hadn't stalked, badly covered her own nervousness about the stalking and ruined the date. Yeah, that's not really the way to do that. Me, on the other hand, I go one of two ways. When I'm Googling a guy (or looking at his Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter page), I'm not looking to see how many siblings he has or how fast a mile he can run. I'm looking to find out if, say, he's recently joined a bunch of NSA-sex cyberclubs (been there), is married (done that) or has a criminal record (have the T-shirt). I'm checking to see if he's got a girlfriend, or recently got rid of one, if he's some sort of crazy I should be scared to grab a drink with or if he's gay (yeah, done that, too). I have also been known to check out some internet dating sites to determine โ€” particularly if it's a few dates in for us โ€” if he's out and about on Match.com even as he's calling me his girlfriend (yes, I get dicked over a lot). If I happen to find out other information, I either make sure I get to that part of the conversation early on enough in the date that I can arrange my lying face appropriately, or I happily cop to part of the Google search. Are there people that don't Google? Especially in D.C. where โ€” as Pearson points out โ€” dating is practically a form of networking among a certain social set? Hell, I don't doubt โ€” especially when I tell people what I do for a living โ€” that men I meet look me up because it is so easy, and so very, very tempting to read about me to figure out what my deal is. And, I'm fine with that. As far as I'm concerned, life is pretty short and if a guy doesn't want to date a loud-mouthed, overly-opinionated blogger type with all of my various well-catalogued issues, then I'd rather find that out before I even waste my time putting on makeup. So I feel perfectly inclined to subject others to the same scrutiny. In the days when my mother dated, your friends used to introduce you, or you knew each other from social circles or your parents, so you had a kind of built-in vetting system for potential dates. In this day and age, a few minutes of charming awkwardness that you were interested enough to type a name into a search engine is well worth avoiding dates with the psychos, felons and religious conservatives that can contaminate the dating pool. At least, it would be if, unlike me, you actually refrain from dating the psychos, felons and conservatives once you find that out. Everybody's got to work on something. So, Tell Me Everything I Know About You [NY Times]