Did you watch last night’s episode of The Bachelorette? After weeks of anticipation, Ashley finally went on her hometown dates with the remaining four bachelors, Ben, Constantine, JP, and Ames. Every visit to the ‘in-law families’ was like a scene one would imagine when thinking of life in America – everyone gathered to meet the long-awaited girlfriend the good son finally brings home. It is a scene filled with hugs and kisses, dinner and wine, a grilling from the mother, sister, and brother, and the son’s hope that everyone will approve. And amid this chatter of whether Ashley is good enough for the son, something quite revealing about life is shared. Ben, Constantine, JP, and Ames, like other young men in America, were each surrounded by loved ones who were ‘watching over them’, even by the fathers who had passed on. Each visit ended with often emotional words from the loved ones about how much they cared about their bachelor and wanted to protect him and make sure he didn’t get hurt. A still shot of these scenes would represent life in America as many of us have known it – a life filled with loved ones watching over our shoulders.
So why are we talking about loved ones watching over our shoulders in a blog about the Internet? Every time we go online looking for love, many of us tend to do the one thing we would never do in the real lives we live surrounded by loved ones watching over us. We leave all that behind. We search for a future mate online quietly, even secretly. We share personal details, often of the most intimate kind. We plan secret rendezvous, with hopes that no one would find out. In a sense, we act as though we are embarrassed that we are searching love using one of the greatest vehicles for interconnecting our lives with others – the Internet. And in all of this secrecy, we make sure that none of our loved ones are watching over our shoulders. Even in online lingo, ‘parent over shoulder’ in an online chat has become a warning phrase with negative connotations – watch out, we are being watched or have to go now ASAP. Yet, it is in these very interactions that we need our loved ones the most to look out for us, to make sure we don’t get hurt, to see if the spark is really there, to determine if they are for real.
So, next time you are online developing those feelings for the one you would bring home, think of what all those folks who watch over you say about your new online friend and let them into your life to do what they do best – watch over you. It is what life is all about.
Until next week’s episode, keep in mind that a loved one watching over you online and off is a step towards finding the one you love.
See also Hemu’s other blogs on The Bachelorette here.