I have dabbled in old-school stalking, mind you. Back in the 1980s, my young teenage self and my young teenage friends would spend significant amounts of our school holidays casually walking past the houses of boys that we fancied. Then turning round at the end of the road and casually strolling past, again. Repeatedly. While giggling and saying things like "Do you think that's his bedroom? I reckon it is. I reckon those are the sort of curtains he'd have."
You young people who grew up with the internet, don't ever pay any attention to pre-internet types who tell you that life was better when "we made our own entertainment". It wasn't. The entertainment that we made for ourselves was rubbish.
|Of course we did all dress like this at the time.|
Of course, everyone has different reasons for stalking. At one end of the stalking scale, you have mild curiosity and at the other there's bunny-boiling homicidal fruitcakery. (Deniers of Unrequited Feelings being in the middle somewhere.) Not that I think anyone sets out to become a rampaging bunny-boiler. I imagine, you think you have it under control, you make a few unfortunate life choices and before you know it, you're trying to stab Michael Douglas with a kitchen knife and making a mess of his shower curtains.
|There are certain points in your life when you need to step back and think "Is this the best way to handle the situation?"|
And also "Should I have put a bra on?"
And if you do find yourself inhabiting the Unrequited Feelings Denying bit of the Stalking spectrum, then OKCupid must be an absolute godsend. Because not only does OKCupid show your compatibility with someone as a percentage, it also allows you to change the answers you've previously given to questions.
|I can change! I can start caring more about leg hair removal! And God!|
|Although some men need a little more persuasion than others.|
And you can't even use the "Oh, my friends and I were just popping into town. I didn't know you lived here" excuse that my 1980s teenage self had in reserve during those long summer afternoons of hanging around suburban housing estates. (Not that we ever saw the boys in question. Did they know we were outside? Were they cowering inside until we went away? More likely they were just off playing football or - given the type of boys that I used to fancy- 'Dungeons and Dragons' somewhere.)
Debretts Guide to Etiquette isn't providing me with any direct advice about the best ways to avoid freaking people out when stalking them on dating sites (although, wonderfully, it does provide plenty of sensible advice regarding social networking). I think you have to acknowledge what you're up to though. A quick note to say "Hello! Don't mind me, I was was stalking you, there. Hope you're well. How's your daughter's rabbit?"
Because good manners are important and being polite to one's stalkees is a factor in determining whether you're a benign idly curious stalker or a disturbingly unhinged one. That and whether you're savagely offing their children's pets, of course.
|Don't give me that look, Flopsy. You and I both know this is the only way to make him realise how much he loves me.|