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Don't let Google spoil your dates

OPINION

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June 06, 2012|By Niki Fritz, For RedEye

If you Google my name, you will not see a list of articles I wrote for my college newspaper, my name on the high school honor roll or even my LinkedIn page. If you Google "Niki Fritz," you will get listings for Nikki Fritz, a surgically altered, B-list '90s porn actress.

And, yes, I actually have had to tell people, "No, sorry, that is not me in the 'Nikki Fritz Making Love So Hard' video."

That is the thing about Google. It leaves you with more questions instead of the concrete answers you were searching for—and it's especially dangerous when you're dating.

At best, Googling a potential love connection will get you a peek at a shallow, grainy version of your date through a blocked Facebook account. At worst, you will end up thinking he or she is a porn star.

And once you have gone down that rabbit hole of search engine madness, you can't come back. It never stops just with Google. That's merely the gateway URL that leads to full-blown stalking.

Soon you are absorbed in all the other facets of the social networking world, looking at 6-year-old pictures from college on your date's oh-so-stalkable timeline, browsing through 10 years of educational and vocational history on LinkedIn and clicking through starred tracks on Spotify.

Eventually you start to judge. You are appalled by his "Call Me Maybe" selection on Spotify, or her entire album of sepia-colored cat photos on Instagram or maybe a two-year stint as a clown on his resume. Your date morphs from a potentially awesome person into a collage of random digitized facts.

Of course, none of us looks great in the unforgiving, pixilated light of Google. We all have a permed hair phase in our past or a love of really bad pop music or an obsession with owl statues. But all of these things also come with a story—a story you will never know if you don't ask.

Which makes me wonder: Why don't we just ask people questions instead of trying to get to know them through the ether? Honestly, I don't think it is because we are a generation lost to the Internet. I think it is because we are a generation looking for a sure thing, a 100 percent guarantee, Google proof that our dates are "the ones"—or at least not the crazy ones.

But Google won't tell you this. Google won't say, "This guy is hung up on his ex, is still supported by his parents and secretly hopes one day to 'make it' as a puppeteer." It won't tell you, "This girl has commitment issues, a Hello Kitty tramp stamp and $20,000 in debt."

Google can't tell you if your date is a mistake. Google can't tell you if he will retell different versions of the same Chris Rock joke all through dessert, or if she will preface every expression with "totes" or if he will break your heart.

Only time and possibly a few cracked hearts can help you find the good ones.

NIKI FRITZ IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.

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