In 8th grade, my French teacher orchestrated an entire class with her skirt unzipped. To see this stern, polished woman's pantyhose and blouse exposed through her zipper while my adolescent classmates snickered behind her back made me supremely nervous. Did she know it was undone? Did she know my peers were giggling at her? Had she noticed but left it alone to challenge our maturity? Was she thinking "I'm not going to be the one to be made to feel uncomfortable by this. If you kids have a problem with a clothing mishap, too bad"?
I was torn. Wont to laugh at harmless calamity, I sensed Mrs. B prided herself on composure. The thought of her having to break out of the cool-as-a-cucumber character left me feeling embarrassed and itchy for her. (In reality, please feel free to experience similar embarrassment for this girl continuing to hold—and now share—such an arbitrary memory.)
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Lest I get too far off topic, the point is that I'm starting to feel similarly about Facebook. People are airing all their crazy laundry on the 'book: clean, dirty, wrinkled, slightly soiled, all of it! I was sure it couldn't get worse than the "Baby bear, I miss you sooooo much" messages I've seen young things post on their boyfriends' Walls. That is, until people started posting STD test results as their status updates.
Am I missing something? Did the New York Times report that STDs are now kosher fodder for public airing? Is Facebook becoming the hookup-facilitating Friendster of days gone by, and is soliciting one's STD-free self the new peacock's tail?
Whatever the motivation, I'm not keen on the means. Broaching the sexual health topic with a partner isn't peaches and cream, so how my "friends" the oversharers are comfortable doing so with the multifarious Facebook community is beyond me. That the "Doc says I'm HIV negative!" and "No herpes for this guy!" messages are read by colleagues, family members and forgettable high school classmates alike tells me something. And that is: there's a reason filters exist. Some information is meant for Grandma and some is meant for friends. Mix the two and you run the risk of making innocent people itch.
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Like bad reality TV shows and tabloids, Facebook is making unintentional voyeurs out of us. If we don't start filtering now, Facebook may no longer be a composed woman with a wardrobe malfunction. She'll be a spam-filled, salacious mess with no skirt to speak of (and we already have MySpace, right?).
Would Facebook return to its regularly scheduled programming of banal status updates shared among cyber stalkers, I'd happily go back to reading distressingly dull but fully clothed messages like "Off to the gym" and "I love snow!"