On the first day of work at my current job, the CEO approached my newly inhabited IKEA desk. “It’s nice to meet you,” he said, shaking my hand. “I’ve heard great things about you.”
“I’ve Googled great things about you!” I unconsciously blurted back, awkwardly withdrawing my hand. It was the truth though. When Forbes.com and Techcrunch provided evidence that he was the tech guru the recruiter had promised, I was sold on the job. And it’s the same approach I take for almost everything: Life’s answers are usually a Google search result away.
How to take hands-free selfies, what to wear to a pool party, how to pronounce acai, why movie popcorn costs so much… Don’t wonder; just Google. And potential dates are no exception.
I started talking to my last Tinder match on a hungover Sunday. Surprisingly, he seemed completely unfazed by my frankness when describing the state of my moral hangover. And honestly, he had me at his correct use of a semicolon. Unfazed and seemingly intelligent was enough for me to agree to a dinner date at Olive & Ivy later that week.
Generally, I don’t like texting up until a date. Like, let’s just wait and see how it goes, ya’ know? But his dry wit kept me giggling and texting back… until he disclosed his full name. Within seconds, I was copy/pasting it into Google. I like to think of it as dating due diligence.
What I Found
1. Multiple weird duckface selfies.
2. An IMDb account including reality TV, which in isolation, wouldn’t be a problem but combined with our mutual Tinder friends who are reality TV recruiters, it felt douchey.
3. Dozens of articles on Hollywood gossip websites about a reported relationship with a former MTV personality who is notorious for bad behavior.
And after any due diligence, the question is: to buy or not to buy? Well, I wasn’t buying it. Sure, he could prove to be the finance exec he claimed vs. the narcissistic aspiring actor portrayed on Google. However, with a busy work week I didn’t feel like taking the time to find out. I kindly declined the date – and all future dates.
That’s where I thought the story would end.
I would write a blog post about how sometimes you have to judge a guy by Google and be done with it. Well, after a week, he asked again. Apparently he didn’t get the whole “keep swiping” memo and somehow I found myself explaining that dating just wasn’t high on my list of priorities (a semi-truth). But he still kept asking me out.
Meanwhile, there was a guy I hadn’t heard from. Come to find out, my best friend was drowning himself in a wine depression over an accusation made on a Hollywood gossip website regarding the show he had just produced. It infuriated me that some writer would blast my bff in an article that could jeopardize the career he had worked so hard to attain. It felt unfair.
And I realized that not only was I not being completely honest, I was a bit of a hypocrite. Not to mention, when I Googled myself I wasn’t thrilled about the younger, curvier, “nosier” me and couldn’t help but laugh when Googling a friend who is one of the most eligible bachelors I know… but his photo results don’t make him appear quite so.
So I stepped back and asked myself: “What do I really consider grounds to judge a guy by Google?”
Google Dating Deal Breakers
1. Inaccurate Information
If you’re lying about your career, at least update LinkedIn to match. Semi-pro athletes are notorious for this, too. It’s fine if you’re in the minors, but if you’re telling girls you’re in the majors, Google won’t have your back, bro.
Because not every mug shot is Jeremy Meeks.
3. Offensive Photos
Control your privacy settings, please.
4. Adult Content
Porn isn’t cute.
Are you a real person? It’s 2014. Sign up for a social network or something.
Though one could argue that duckfaces are offensive and that his alleged ex had been involved in adult content, he hadn’t technically broken any of the rules. Plus, he had purchased tickets for painting and wine – two of my favorite pastimes – so I agreed to the date.
Despite pre-date doubt, I was pleasantly surprised when a polite Southern gentleman greeted me with pre-made snacks and bottled water at the painting studio. The painting class that followed was fun, and he even gave me a gift: 4 bottles of PB2, the powdered peanut butter I had wanted to try. Though I was completely frightened (“Oh god.”) when he pulled out a gift bag on a first date, it was nice and a far cry from the douchebag I assumed he would be.
As we chatted over (more) drinks afterwards, I confessed to my reservations about his Google search results. Why did he take those selfies? Did he really date her? Was he a wannabe reality star or just a nice finance guy trying to date in the desert? He had legitimate explanations for it all, and the more I found out about him, the more I saw a potential friend. (And yes, I was very honest about the friend part, too.)
So, can you judge a guy by Google?
I mean, you can. But should you? Apart from the dating deal breakers, probably not. While some people are like my CEO (what you Google is what you get), others are more like my best friend, my new Tinder friend and myself. And while some people’s skeletons are stashed away in overcrowded closets full of secrets, other people’s are prominently displayed amid celeb sightings and fashion faux pas on hollywoodlife.com – where they’re actually a little less scary and a little more fun.