Online friends: What could possibly go wrong?
My teenage daughter, who lives in Missouri, met another teenage girl, who lives in California, over the Twitter last year. They became online friends on fandom sites. For those without a teen-to-adult dictionary, a fandom is an online social network revolving around a particular interest (such as a movie, character, celebrity, etc.). It’s what today’s youth does instead of doing drugs and going to concerts like we used to.
How do I know this teenage girl from California isn’t a 42 YO man? I don’t. I’m getting ready to find out, however. She is on an airplane getting ready to stay with us for five days after my daughter and her meet for the first time. YIKES! Her parents and I have spoken on the phone several times and satisfied ourselves, to the extent possible, that this is going to be a positive, independence-building, confidence-enhancing experience for our daughters.
Online friends: just as real as real friends you can touch
The girls saved up the money, nurtured their connection and they made it happen. In addition to several phone calls, the CA parents and I checked each other out via social media. We all could have totally made up our law degrees on LinkedIn, but at some point you just have to trust that most people are who they say they are. I know I should be more anxious but I trust it BECAUSE it’s crazy. Well, and also because I’m not the one sending my child across the United States to a stranger’s house in St. Louis where we have arson and looting parties when police kill black people. That sounded different in my head. The CA parents are obviously taking a much bigger leap of faith that I’m not a serial killer, but each side has its pitfalls and jubilations. Also, I don’t even drink chianti and I’ve never liked fava beans with liver.
I’ve been trying to reassure the parents without being creepy. I want their mind to be at ease that our family isn’t a crackpot and that their beloved daughter will be warmly welcomed into our very average and stable home. I’ve been sending them photos of everyday things. Celebrities: they’re just like us! People who live in Missouri: they’re just like Californians! They pick up their own mail! They pile laundry on the dining room table! Their cat sleeps on folded laundry! They make dinner!
I’ve been trying to strike the right balance, though. I mean, how do you prove a negative? More importantly, how do you prove a negative without looking like the exact thing you say you are not? If I were to tell you that I am not a child molester, you would naturally be suspicious about why I was telling you I wasn’t a child molester. Am I right, or am I right? I want to tell the California parents that I am TOTALLY not cooking meth in the house anymore. I would also NEVER show someone else’s child our robust gun collection that we keep in the unlocked gun cabinet next to the liquor and ammo. It’s also ludicrous to worry we might sell their teen into slavery. Everyone knows you can get a lot more money for infants. I wouldn’t want them to think we were depraved AND poor business people. I want to put their mind at rest and tell them that a new friend I met over the internet told me she thought I was about as nutty as a Gwyneth Paltrow birthday party, which is to say, not very nutty!
We have some great activities planned. I’m psyched to take the girls to see Fifty Shades of Gray on Valentine’s Day. I’m sad it’s not cock fighting season, but we’ll make due with other entertainments. Since she’ll be here over the weekend, we’ll have the perfect opportunity to introduce her to Scientology. Also, there are usually some operating puppy mills we can tour. This is going to be great!