Adventures in friending 

Since MySpace is now uncool, it’s time to check it out

I have a rule about trends: I try to ignore them as much as humanly possible. This practice has saved me a countless amount of money and time.

Years ago, when everyone was talking about what a great movie Titanic was, I’d just smile and nod, secure in the knowledge I’d never actually see the film. I finally saw it in 2002 after I learned Kate Winslet is topless in one scene.

The great thing about ignoring fads in pop culture is that not only do you not have to waste your time following them but you also get to make fun of the people who are fanatics about it.

I’m as willfully ignorant about some things as I can be. I last went to the movies in July 2003. I only buy books at second-hand and thrift stores. When it comes to television, I only watch British soccer, NBA basketball, breaking-news stories and American history seminars on C-SPAN 3.

I like to think of myself as a conscientious objector when it comes to the culture wars. I like what I like and I leave the rest for everyone else. If people want to get all obsessed with Desperate Housewives, bully for them. I’ll keep watching All in the Family.

The only exception to my embargo on hot cultural topics is that I will embrace them when they have become passé and unhip, just so I can watch their decay firsthand.

That’s why, after years of resistance, I recently became involved with MySpace, the online social-networking site. After reading lots of stories about how MySpace is now considered unhip, I figured the time was ripe for me to check it out.

People have been urging me to join MySpace for years but I really have had no reason to do so. I’m not looking to meet underage women, or any woman, for that matter. I’m not in a shitty band that needs to attention-whore itself to vast numbers of innocent people. And there’s no group of people I’m looking to connect with. In fact, I’ve steadily tried to reduce the number of people in my circle of acquaintances for years, with some success. Whenever I find myself with too many friends to comfortably maintain, I inevitably end up doing something that reduces their number by two-thirds or more.

So, since there was really no reason for me to go onto MySpace, I finally did. I’d had an account for several years so I could contact bands when I was NUVO’s music editor but I’d never personalized the page.

Friends of mine have used it for years. An acquaintance of mine met and dated probably two or three dozen women by using his MySpace page as bait for babes. Another person I know used it to promote his band all over the world.
Others have used it to meet new people, share interesting thoughts and expand their circle of friends to include friends of friends and friends of friends of friends.

Like I said, I don’t need MySpace. I already am living with the most beautiful, kind and caring female ever created. After years of opening envelopes with fresh CDs in them, I no longer want to hear any new music. And the only person I really want to meet is the guy who hands out the checks to Lotto winners.

Therefore, given those conditions, I’ve been having a blast on MySpace. My colleague Dave Lindquist has well over 1,000 friends on his list, since he’s such a friendly guy, unlike me. All I had to do was leave a slanderous comment on his high-visibility page and the friend requests came pouring in.

My friend Nathaniel, better known as the Innate, is a MySpace king, with thousands of friends. A quick perusal of his site netted me a few dozen more friends.

On my page, I made myself quite clear. “No, I don’t want to hear your demo,” I wrote. “Don’t try and friend me if you’re a shitty band.”

I listed my interests as sleeping until 2 p.m., listening to Art Bell and playing FIFA 07 and San Andreas on PlayStation. I listed my build as “slim/slender,” my income as higher than $250,000 and my occupation as “panhandling.”

I listed the location of my job as “over a heating grate at Ohio and Meridian streets” and my job title as “HOMELESS VETERAN PLEASE HELP GOD BLESS.”

Despite all this, I quickly became addicted to MySpace. I searched YouTube for videos to post on my page. I sent out friend requests to Culture Club and the Suicide Girls. To my horror, I even considered posting the results of an inane “personality test” on my profile, such as “What serial killer are you most like?”

I quickly found that MySpace is a great tool for keeping in touch with long-lost friends, for encountering the work of talented avant-garde artists in the Indianapolis area and for monitoring the activities of suspicious people.

Without even trying, I’d amassed 50 friends in the course of a week. Most of them are people I know, but several of them are just readers of mine, friends of friends or just random people whose pictures on my friends list make me look more hip than I actually am.

I can no longer mock my friends who spend their days working on their pages, since I’ve become one of these people myself. I’m just glad that MySpace is so uncool and unhip these days, since the last thing I want to be is a trend-hopper.

Track me down on there and try to friend me if you want, but don’t be surprised if I send you a nasty message in return. I do have a reputation to uphold, after all.

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