The Snapchat Relationship

I’m sure most of my regular friends are tired of me using them to polish this theory up…and the truth is, by the time I get around to considering this concept completed, Snapchat will be so 30 seconds ago.  So, putting up then shutting up.  On this topic, anyway.  Maybe it’s another brilliant observation.  Maybe it’s a witty Chrisism.  Maybe it’s bullshit.

I bet more of my actual friends – that’s “friends” in contrast to “acquaintances” – are well past being anything other than familiar with Snapchat.  It’s an app that looks like the result of a one-night stand between Facebook and Instagram.  A cautionary tale come to life, in my opinion, of the way drinking and smoking during pregnancy are bad for your child.  The best part about Snapchat?  If you don’t know about it or don’t use it, this will probably be the last time you need to think about it in any capacity other than as a point of reference for someone’s horribly short attention span.

Additionally, I’ve heard techy-geeky types tell me that no one over thirty knows how to use it.  Or understands it.

Naturally, I found a 20-something in a bar to explain it to me.  It’s like they grow on trees, falling off before completely ripe, perhaps…still, there they are.

Here’s how it works.

You have your Snapchat account.  On your account, you can tell “Your Story” with pictures of what you are doing or things you find photographable throughout your day-to-day existence.  Of course, there are “followers”.  These may be real friends and acquaintances.  They may be some old guy you met in a bar and chatted with for a beer or two.  <— Totally just using that as a point of reference, I do not have a Snapchat profile.  People can also just elect to follow you, there seems to be no approval process past someone deciding you are imminently followable.  For now.

Sounds ok, so far, right?  At this point, I am quite distressed by the concept of losing control of my “friends” list.  Not to worry, I am told.  Here’s why.  Here’s where it also completely fucks up society, in my opinion:

You control who sees what you post.  You can share your posts with everyone by using the “Your Story” option.

Sidebar:  For the briefest of credibility destroying moments, I worried that “Your Story” was actually called “My Story”, which devolved into whether or not I was confusing Snapchat nomenclature with Brandi Carlile song titles and then rebounded into comfortable “I don’t care” territory.

Let me get back on track…you control who sees what you post.  Share it on “Your Story” and all of your followers see it.  Pretty normal.  I give this guy some raised eybrows, demonstrating my “So what the hell is the allure?” stance at the demonstration of this miraculous and allegedly confusing piece of technology that is purportedly unsuitable for folks in their fourth decade of existence and he says, “No, no…this is where it gets fun!” Apparently, you can edit your pictures with filters (big deal), put text into them or even draw on them.  Ok, that’s a little more interesting.

Then he shows me how that’s done.  Apparently, there’s a pen icon.  It’s quite confusing and by all accounts, this is where the thirty-plus crowd loses their shit with Snapchat.  He’s showing me how easy it is.  I’m laughing because he keeps fucking up whilst demonstrating this ease of use.  I almost fall off my barstool when he uses misspelled words and poor grammar with zero irony.  But I don’t, because I am a professional.  I tell him that I see how easy it is to use, obviously.  He takes a pic of me and writes something rude about me on it.

Immortalized on his story.  Can History be far behind?  Methinks, yes.

So that’s all pretty normal.  I’m not seeing what all the fuss is about, this app seems lame.  I’m thinking it’s really just for stupid kids and that it’s UI isn’t that sophisticated or intuitive, which is why the older users did not adopt it.  It’s cave drawings compared to other social media.  Still not sure why it’s developed this mystique standing.

Hubbub factor:  0

Now for the ab-so-fucking-lute-ly abnormal application of this app.  ADHD readers, take a seat.  Control-freak readers, stand aside.  This makes me hate what people have allowed themselves to become.  I want to meet the people who decided this was a good idea and swing a cactus at their privates.

You decide how long things are viewable.  Posting a video or pic?  Great.  How long can people look at it once they open it?  You get to decide.  There’s a countdown clock.  6 seconds seems to be this guy’s favorite setting.

You also get to select who can see it.  It doesn’t have to be – nor does this guy seem to favor – posted for every one to see.  You can select specific people to share it with.

Now, this seems like a place to protect your potential political future.  Viewable for 6 seconds or some other randomly short time frame?  It’s as if the permission to share pics and videos that would make your mother cringe is built in.  That’s not long enough to masturbate but also not long enough to decide it’s screen shot worthy.  You’re protected.  Ish.  I didn’t ask if you could limit the number of times someone could view your shared post.

All I ever wanted in life are friends that control my thoughts and experiences.  Yay, Snapchat.

Not.

I hate this app.

This app is Nazi Germany.

It’s burning banned books.

It’s Jesse Helms.

Here’s why…people I have met who are users actually adopt some pretty unhealthy behaviors toward others.  I’ll tell you about it in The Ginge, he’s a great example, if I ever post is.  But I thrive as an individual when I’m surrounded by people who increase my happiness and enable my freedom to be my true self.  People that cohabit my safe place without destroying it.

Here’s how I’ve seen these Snapchat behaviors manifest – and this is hardly Snapchat’s sole responsibility, but along with other apps like Grindr, Scruff, OKStoopid, Tinder and their ilk we have created a “swipe” culture.  That culture makes people and the potential relationships disposable, unconsciously telling the user that there is another one just a finger-swipe away.

I want to meet someone who’s run out of swipes.  He’s gonna need a hug.  Or she.  Equality, yo.

Snapchatty people that I meet/date tend to move fast and overshare intimate details of their lives.  To me, this was disarming.  When I was young and someone opened up to me like that on a date, I took it as a good sign.  They’re into me.  This is going somewhere.

Dinner.  Bam.

Sex.  Woo!

Cuddling.  Yaaas.

Pillow Talk.  Do I have a spare toothbrush?

Morning Sex.  Ugh. How long do I have to keep this up?

Day Texting.

Meeting Friends.  Intense.

Lathering.  Rinsing.  Repeating.

Oh, there’s more sex in there, too.

This goes for about a week, if I’ve been lucky.  Three days – a weekend – unsurprisingly more the norm.  Then it’s over.  It’s like a summer romance without the benefit of the exotic location.  Unless you’re not from the town I live in, but that’s a whole other phenomenon.

Once the proscribed time elapses, it’s over.  You can’t see it anymore.  All that filtered and colored upon over-shared intimacy is gone and you’re suddenly friend-zoned.  With benefits, of course.

Well, having never gotten into the habit of screwing my friends – weren’t you afraid I was going to say “fucking”? – this has zero appeal to me.  People don’t seem to know what to do with you after the afforded vulnerability phase.  “Can we pretend it didn’t happen?  Because I like you and want to keep sexing with you, but I don’t know how to relate to people.”  That would be a refreshing bit of self-awareness from this generation.  And thanks for the friend-zone, but my friends don’t treat me like that.  They treat me like an equal.  I don’t even have to make them.  They just do it, because that’s NORMAL!  I’m not using caps to scream, I just can’t figure out how to italicize something on WordPress.  Which is why I need a twenty-something year old.

They don’t even know that they don’t know that they should know how to be a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/whathaveyou.

I miss one-night stands.

In my day, it was all about “You’re cute, you’ll do.”  Maybe it was just me.  And, I admit that I’m the nicest prick you’ll likely ever encounter, but I would get hit on by guys and I would tell them, “Sure, but I’ll probably never call you or speak to you again because we aren’t friends.”  If they took it as a challenge, I liked them.  If they got more turned on, I got more turned off.  There were two of those types that I went home with anyway.  Huge mistakes.  Others met me when I was in the mood to date and I told them that, too…but no promises.  I communicated what I was looking for.  With this Snapchat Relationship, the only thing that’s missing is a countdown clock.  Actually, a countdown clock would make this behavior excusable.  Is there an app for that?

The psychology behind the appeal of this app and the adoption of the behaviors it enables has got to be incredible to observe.

I’m moving into observation mode, versus unwitting participant.  Ok, I may stray into knowing participant from time to time, but I’ll ruin it by calling it out to the Snapchat Dater.

Think about it, though.  It’s a cultural shift from the former norms of human interaction to the adoption of the “stranger on a plane” interaction.  Daily.  With potentially everyone.

If I’m hooking up with someone to meet a biological imperative, I don’t feel great about that, but I know it and they know it.  Once they start telling me that they are adopted or survived a hostage situation or even where they were when Challenger exploded – like I date anyone who remembers THAT, lol – I have to stop and lay out the rules.  If you’re gonna share, you gotta stick around, cuz sharing is caring.  If you aren’t up for that…wait, how did I get tricked into cuddling with you after sex?  Goddamnit!  That’s also reserved for boyfriends.

Can I invent the concept of “Tough Hook-Ups”?  Yeah, I’ll help you out with your physical need for an hour or two, but if you need help meeting your emotional needs – cuddling, sharing, the like – you need to know how to be someone’s boyfriend or pay a therapist.

Snapchat.  I understand it.  I completely see the socially retarded allure.  I completely fail to see the human allure.

Because:  grumpy, old man am I.  But follow me anyway!

The Snapchat Relationship

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