Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cyber-sleuthing Or Cyber-snooping?

One evening I received a text message from someone who is seeing another guy. Since I have no intention of revealing who these people are, for the purposes of this episode of The McVie Show let’s call them by the following pseudonyms:

John, the text sender
Paul, the guy John’s seeing
George, Paul’s ex

John told me that he stumbled upon George’s blog. That blog contained detailed stories of the time George and Paul were still together. Paul doesn’t know that John has read the “sordid stories” of him and George.

The moment I read John’s text, something about it didn’t sit well with me. But I couldn’t immediately pinpoint nor articulate it, so I asked John some questions first. In the course of our texting back and forth, I asked John what was his objective of “cyber-sleuthing” through George’s blog entries when it’s all in the past.

He replied: “It’s a good way to understand the present. We are all creatures of our past.”

I realized that two things bothered me. First, when starting a relationship, shouldn’t both parties start with a clean slate? It’s not like we’re wiping off the past as “It didn’t happen!” but rather we allow the present to matter more, so that the relationship can have a future. Second, John’s “information” regarding Paul is George’s take on things. Even if George is the most even-sided writer in the whole wide world, it still is George’s word, not Paul’s. I thought it would be fairer if John would also ask for Paul’s take on what happened in the past.

So I texted back: “But shouldn’t you give Paul a clean slate? And shouldn’t you give him the choice to reveal himself to you, instead of snooping behind his back?”

I guess the “snooping behind his back” was a little too much, because John texted back: “Don’t jump too fast. I said to ‘Understand the present’ and not to judge. We are shaped by our past; we could learn from it or not.”

So I pulled back and said: “That info is just from George’s perspective. And I think it’s still going behind Paul’s back. But that’s just my take on things.” And that’s how we ended our text conversation that night.

The thing is, even though what John did bothered me, I understand precisely why he did it and, truth be told, I would have done exactly the same thing had I been in his shoes. But knowing me, I’d eventually end up feeling uncomfortable, because reading the blog would raise questions in me.

These are questions that I still don’t have answers to, nor a definite stand on them:

• How trusting are you as a partner? Do you prefer to know who your partner is in an “organic way,” meaning knowledge is given willingly from him and/or from other people close to him? Or is it okay for you to hire a private investigator and get a background check on your partner?
• Shouldn’t understanding his past matter more to him than to you? Self-knowledge will help him deal with his past and who he’s become. As a partner, shouldn’t your concern be more with his present? So should John have told Paul about George’s blog, so Paul will have an idea on George’s take on things?
• Speaking of openness, should John be honest and tell Paul that he’s read George’s blog? Or are some things better left unsaid?

Human nature and human curiosity being what they are, I completely understand why John (or I for that matter) will want to take a peek at George’s blog entries.

But I wonder if I have it in me to just back away from reading all of it.

* * * * *

(P.S. – Dear John, I really want you to remain anonymous, so help me out here by not commenting, hahaha! Or if you really, really want to comment, write it in such a way that people wouldn’t know it’s you.)


Désolé Boy said...

this is actually my first time here McVie! (senxa na medyo hindi related sa post)
great blog! you've earned a fan here!

Tony said...

I prefer a more natural and organic revelation of a person. In that you let him reveal himself to you as and when he feels comfortable enough to do so. I like being surprised. I also like deciding how much I like the person based on what he shows me and not by what other people tell me.

Having said this, it is not John's fault that he stumbled on this information. It's was a public blog and the information is out there and therefore not confidential.

Should John tell Paul he read George's blog? Yes, but in good time.

I don't really find anything wrong about it... except if John accepts what George wrote as fact and judges Paul without him finding out for himself if its the truth or not.

At the end of the day... and ultimately, the present is indeed more important than the past especially if it will lead to a future.

imsonotconio said...

this entry made me realize something

joelmcvie said...

@IMSONOTCONIO: You're so not bitin! Sana you also told us what you realized, hahaha.

Okay, I was just joking. =)

joelmcvie said...

By the way, Von wanted to leave a comment here. His comment was: "Lagi na lang kawawa si Ringo."

Von, AKO si Ringo Starriray!

Thad said...

I agree with starting on a clean slate. There are things in the past relationship that only the ones involved know what really happened.

Digging up the past might potentially complicate the present. If there's no real urgent reason to snoop (as in looking for criminal records or something ;-) then it is best to just trust the guy that whatever is in the past is over...

Move on and make new memories of your own

~Carrie~ said...

I like the objectivity and freshness of perspective in this entry, Joel. :)

rudeboy said...

Only fetuses have no past.

Anonymous said...

If i were John, I'd look for the first opportunity to mention to Paul that I read his blog and say that my intention was to get to know him more intimately.

joelmcvie said...

@DAREDEVILRY: John read GEORGE's blog, not Paul's. I now wonder what John meant by the "sordid stories" found in George's blog.

Kane said...

In the process of knowing another person, there comes a point when we allow ourselves to say that I know enough of this person that I can already choose to love him.

And that I am prepared to love even the parts of him that I don't know yet, the parts that are still hidden, yet to be revealed.

John said: We are shaped by our past; we could learn from it or not.”

That is true; but we are also not just our pasts.

But then again, they say the past is always with us… just waiting to mess with the present. And it looks like this is one hell of a past.


Rygel said...

i'm the type who'd rather not know. Of course I'm curious about my partner's past but I make to effort to find out about it. If he brings him up I analyze every detail :D but still, he was the one that brought it up. Yup, every new relationship should be on a clean slate

Ming Meows said...

biktima rin ako ng blogging.

closet case said...

i write posts in the blog aware that potential partners might 'stumble' into it. it really is up to them what they will do with the information available there: take it with a grain of salt? judge me? let it influence their perception? there really isn't anything i could do about it.

but this isn't like reading someone's else mail or even private diary. so i wouldn't feel iffy about reading someone's blog in the process of getting to know him. at the very least, i would know whether he gets his grammar right. LOL

Lance said...

For me, things unravel in their proper place and time and everything happens for a reason. If somebody stumbled upon something purely by accident and that thing contains tidbits of information that could affect or even shape your future then I'd say that's life's way of helping you decide which way to go. It could either be a warning or a blessing.