Throughout this demonstration, my group of friends had been split pretty evenly along gender lines in their reactions. Across the board, the men either looked amused or (in the case of my beardo Diaspora friend) philosophically pleased with themselves about their existing opinions about social networking. The women, on the other hand, looked sick and horrified.
It was at this point, though, that the tendrils of the girls’ unease — their deeply empathic sense of someone being unsafe — seemed to creep through the entire group.
“And if that doesn’t work on Zoe,” I concluded, consulting the app one last time. “There are — let’s see — nine other girls at the Independent tonight.”
Often times, a writer uses tricks and exaggerations to convey to a reader the spirit — if not the precise truth — of what occurred. I just want to make clear that when I say that one of my friends was actually on the verge of tears, you understand that this is not such a trick. She was horrified to the point of crying.
It would have been so nice to finish things with a laugh. But now, as six intelligent, sophisticated friends from a variety of backgrounds surrounded me — some looking sick, some looking angry, and some with genuine fear in their faces — I didn’t think Girls Around Me was so funny. It had cast a pall across a beautiful day, and it had made people I loved feel scared… not just for the people they loved, but for complete strangers.
While the app itself has been discontinued, I found the author’s descriptions of his friends’ reactions very interesting and revealing.