I’m a single gay man who has never been in a long term relationship, but if a reality star, real estate tycoon and noted scammer who hasn’t mastered to/too/two can be head of the United States government, I can suddenly become a relationship expert. Besides, isn’t it time we had a homosexual Steve Harvey? The only acceptable answers are hell no and fuck nah, but allow me to reclaim my time and serve this sermon all the same.
Recently, GQ published a short essay entitled “Location-Sharing Is Caring When You’re in a Relationship.” In it, writer Beca Grimm wrote about the virtues of using the GPS tracking app, Find My Friends, which allows one the opportunity to see the locations of contacts with their authorization. Her paean to oversharing was inspired by her only freshly figuring out that some folks – say her friends – might find tracking your boyfriend by way of your phone to be a bit “creepy.”
To her credit, Grimm outlines all of the reasons why location-sharing may not work for every couple and offers an explanation on why she and her boyfriend gave one another license to virtually stalk each other: “When my boyfriend and I decided to exchange locations we’d clocked several months in our long-term relationship. We considered the unique cocktail of my anxiety disorder and his frequent work trips and made the decision together.”
Grimm also doles out a few disclaimers such as: “Like almost everything in relationshipssex, for examplethere’s a healthy approach and an unhealthy approach to location-sharing.”
And: “We could all benefit from internalizing Fat Joe’s 2001 instructional anthem ‘What’s Luv? (feat. Ashanti and Ja Rule).’ In it, Ashanti spells out, ‘What’s love? / It’s about us, it’s about trust, babe.’”
This is not meant to insult Grimm, but her essay read as an attempt by someone looking to sanitize irrationality and repackage it in a way that makes it more serviceable to an audience naturally inclined to look at her life and look at her choices and say, “Girl, what the fuck?” She pays lip service to the concerns of her friends, and by extension, the public at large, but she is adamant about why location-sharing in a relationship is all the rage ‘round her way.
At the very least, it was someone with a specific set of circumstances using her story to promote methodology that may well indeed curb her poorer habits, but in the inverse, could inspire poor behavior in others.
While I certainly do not know what it is like to deal with whatever anxiety disorder she may be dealing with, she opened her essay with an anecdote that immediately rendered many of her justifications moot — for most people anyway. Grimm says she was at a bar with friends when someone asked her when her boyfriend was going to arrive. Instead of calling or texting her man, she turned on her app to find her man’s whereabouts. For Grimm, maybe it is much easier for her to turn on her app than risk her man being unreachable by phone or growing incredibly uncomfortable while waiting for him to return her text.
If that works better for their relationship, great, however, for most of us, that would seem grossly impatient and require a tall glass of chill.
Meanwhile, Grimm also argues: “For my relationship, location-sharing simply helps reduce boring-ass communication with my partner. When you feel a pocket buzz and see your beloved’s name bubble appear, it’s nice to retain hope the message may hold a saucy photoor at the very least, a sweet noteas opposed to an ETA demand. It’s nice.”
The mundanity Grimm condemns is part of the basic tenets of every human relationship — particularly a romantic one. Much like social media, an app like Find Your Friends can only offer but so much information. Reading someone’s Facebook statuses is not the same as hitting them up directly to say, “Hey. How are you?” Reading someone’s tweets does not mean you know every facet of their life, or for that matter, even that much about their life at all. The same goes for Instagram, Snapchat, Grindr, and certainly applies to an app in which an actual human being just appears as a dot on a map.
None of these things are the same as actually engaging someone on a direct, human level. To deprive one’s self of such simplicity is to deny one the little details that make human interactions so special – even if one doesn’t immediately think to view them as such. One’s person’s method of combating their anxiety disorder is a lot of other people’s hall pass into igniting their paranoia, control issues, and possessive behavior.
Let someone tell me that in order to remain in a relationship, I have to submit to an app that outlines my location at all times. I will go promptly go from Whitney Houston’s “Run To You” to Mariah Carey’s “Out My Face” in no time. I’d then turn on Future to prep for the return to single life.
As some others have noted, if location-sharing makes you happy, have at it. That said, while Grimm’s use of Find My Friends to keep tabs on her boo make her think of Ashanti, all I can hear right now is a seething Beyoncé gorgeously sneering, “Who the fuck do you think I is?”