They're so easy to find and naturally we're tempted; our former loves, crushes, flames and almost-flames, the ones who got away. They all live inside the Internet, some of them basking in the fluorescent light, some hiding in the darkest, most irretrievable corners, but all leaving a string of clues behind them. Perhaps we seek them out due to our curiosity, our romantic tendencies, our desire for closure, or our desire to remain however ephemerally connected. Maybe it’s just a dabble, or a more intense search. Maybe it's late and we’re bored or we’ve had a glass of wine and one click leads to another. Maybe we used to feel one very specific way about them and wonder if we still might. It’s a singularly contemporary detective story, this searching. Once we liked them enough to cook them dinner, cry when we parted at train stations, tell them our deepest secrets, ask them to carry our lipstick in their jacket pocket at parties. Once they showed up at our door with a song they'd written us recorded onto cassette. But now, these years later, they're traveling to other continents with people who aren't us and singing karaoke in the middle of the afternoon. We want to know if they'll look good with gray hair, if they'll have babies, if they'll go crazy. And now we can.
Tier 1: They’re easy to find with minimal clues.
This is usually because they do something relatively high profile like star in TV commercials or make really cool music videos. They’re in semi-famous rock bands. Their esoteric lectures can be found on YouTube videos. Or they’re NYC curators who bring up a highly satisfying image search of them attending many an art party wearing a tie tucked into their sweater. They live in Mexico, Ohio, Los Angeles and London. They occasionally have traditional occupations, but it's more likely they work in digital innovation, whatever that is. They’re hipsters with homes fashionable and curated enough to appear in lifestyle blogs and subsequent lifestyle blog books that sell at Urban Outfitters. They have personal websites where they’ve misspelled something and have questionable grammar or incomprehensible artist statements. They model in NYLON. They've published poetry chapbooks, with poems that are actually pretty good, kind of visceral, with a lot of switchblade imagery.
Tier 2: They’re more difficult to find, mostly only accessible through social media, and mostly only when there are still friends in common.