About five years ago I became familiar with the idea of Spotted. I was reading my favorite free press Athens newspaper, LIFO, when I discovered a column called “I saw you..” Hopeless romantics, both men and women, all around Athens were sending text messages to the editorial team of the newspaper, confessing their undeniable, secret love/ crush/ lust to strangers they’ve encountered by chance in Athens.
I enjoyed reading this column ever since –some of the texts were flirty, some of them irresistibly sweet, a little silly or plainly hilarious. In the back of my mind there was always some hope that someone –incredibly handsome or with a killer sense of humor, someday would spot me as well and write a short message in order to get in touch with me. Well, I was born 40% romantic, 30% realistic and 30% optimistic, so you can’t blame me for being a full time daydreamer (it’s a hard job and someone has to do it). Unfortunately, I was never addressed through the column –or just didn’t get my hands on that particular issue?- but the Spotted column was always the first I read.
When I moved to Corfu, I didn’t expect it to have it a similar column, since there was no local newspaper or magazine and the local society is tiny compared to Athens –everybody used to know (almost) everybody. As a result, I was taken by surprise in a good way when I found a Spotted in Corfu online-page. However, I was quickly disappointed when I realized that most messages were about whether a “tall blonde with piercing blue eyes who was having fun with her girlfriends at the (insert name of fancy, really crowded club in Corfu)” or a “mysterious tall, dark, muscular guy that also hanged out at the same club.” To be honest, even though I’d seen lots of blonde women in Corfu while I lived there, I rarely encountered male specimens that looked so ravishing…
After a couple of months living in Germersheim, someone (his/her identity remains unknown. I’d literally die to know who it is!) had the extremely brilliant idea of creating a Spotted page on Facebook. What more could we –the countless, lively students brightening up the dull everyday life of this tiny city in the middle of nowhere*- possibly ask for? 50% poems, lots of humorous descriptions, cheekiness as well as the word cute repeated endless times! In addition, since we belong to a university department for foreign languages, translation and interpreting, love messages are written not only in German but also in English, Italian and Spanish. My favorite part is when the guy or girl described is recognized and pointed out by his/her friends.
A couple weeks ago I flew back to Athens where I’m going to spend my, erm, sort of spring break? Due to the dark (economically as well as socially and politically) times we are going through, press traffic has decreased radically –two important press companies shut down in 2012- and free press in now nowhere to be found. If you accidentally come across an issue, consider yourself very very lucky. However, the aforementioned newspaper may print few copies these days yet it maintains a very active site as well as a Facebook page. When my first week in Athens was over, I decided to check out the Spotted section, perfectly sure that someone might have spotted my exotic** aura flaneur-ing across the city. Big girls don’t cry, so I wasn’t disappointed at all when I found out that no one had noticed my a) inhabiting public transportation, b) having drinks at Drunk Sinatra or c) studying at Starbucks over a hot Grande Chai Latte.
|Still not spotted girls?|
The only thing that seemed particularly disappointing was the endless comments that accompanied the column. Endless love declarations, people literally crying out their interest in people they know really well (like a best friend), a person they meet every day (like a co-worker) or someone they’ll probably never meet again (like that girl who was making eye contact and was smiling to them at the cozy bistrotheque). They all had one thing in common: Absolutely no one had the guts to get up and do something about his/ her crush! What the hell is wrong with us, people? Why are we so shy? Why do we need to hide behind a computer screen? Exchange promising looks but never make the first step in order to get to know someone or to communicate our feelings? We need to be brave, be bold, say lame pick-up lines, get rejected, say smarter pick-up lines, then find love. When I read in this article 104 Ways to Break the Ice, it hit home instantly. Here I’m citing a few lines that –I think- second perfectly my point of view:
“See, I’ve always held the opinion that it doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say something. The whole 99% of life is showing up thing which is I know is corny but which I also know is true. […] So when my friend told me he had nothing to say, I told him it didn’t matter. I said: just walk over there and open your mouth. Something will come out. Trust me. You won’t say nothing.”
My personal favorite is #95. Why are you wearing a sombrero?From now on I promise to be deliberately less shy –shamelessly flirty will come later- and use Spotted only to prank friends who had it coming.
What are you waiting for?