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I was recently going through some old school assignments on my computer when I stumbled upon this gem. I think its existence foreshadowed my starting this blog.

This was my very first college paper, assigned to me in my freshman English class. The assignment was to write a paper describing a process, a sort of “how-to,” if you will. Clearly the hardest part of the assignment was determining what to write about…my roommate at the time knew my penchant for Facebook stalking, and suggested I share my knowledge with the class. And now, I shall share it with you.

Bare in mind that I wrote this essay in the fall of 2008, before Facebook Timeline and all of their other updates. The instructions are a bit dated now, but the spirit remains the same! Without further ado, I present to you…

Live, Stalk, Love

“I’m going on a manhunt! Turn it around; women have been hunted now they’re huntin’ around,” exclaims artist Karen Kamon in her hit single “Manhunt,” featured in the classic movie Flashdance. Fortunately for women, due to the latest technological advances, “manhunting” has come a long way since the ‘80s and no longer requires the forwardness and confidence that once was necessary. With the innovation of Facebook®, an enterprising young woman may find a boyfriend without leaving the comfort of her own home (or sweatpants and wooly socks) as long as there is at least one in-person encounter. Facebook® allows for a much easier and more legal (though still somewhat creepy and shameless) form of getting to know a man’s interests, friends, and social tendencies without actually hearing the information from him (or even his friends). Through the progression of this sly and careful “Facebook® stalking,” it is possible to discover the next love of your life and use that newfound knowledge to successfully pursue him.

As stated, it all must begin with a meeting. The gathering may occur at class, club (either the dancing type or the “I love squirrels,” etc. type), or perhaps even a party. The skilled huntress should find the most fly hottie in the room and go talk to him. A conversation may begin in any number of ways: cheesy pickup lines (“Do you have a map? Cause I keep getting lost in your eyes…”), an observation (“wow, this punch is delicious!”), or by simply introducing herself. So as not to be conceived of as overly creepy, it is essential that at some point an introduction is made, preferably one in which last names are included, for that will make the next step much easier. She should strive to talk to every man with potential (even if he is taken; you never know when his girlfriend will get fed up with his dirty socks scattered about her room) so as to secure as many contacts as possible. As with any gathering amongst potential mates, laughing at bad jokes, subtle arm-patting, and perhaps even a wink or two may be necessary to ensure that those of the opposite sex remember her fondly in the future, but she should not be overly flirtatious. If she is just friendly and outgoing the event should end with all in high spirits.

Now that the scary part is over and comfy clothes are not only permitted but also encouraged, it’s time for the Queen of the Jungle to resist the impulse to instantly get on Facebook® (for that may scare away the soon to be lovesick victims) and do whatever it takes to wait at least a day.

After the twenty-four hour grace period has passed comes the fun part. Settle in with some snacks, and perhaps a few friends for second opinions, and boot up that computer! Go to facebook.com and head on over to the search engine; use the names scored from all of those introductions to search for each man in turn. If these men’s last names were either never divulged or too tricky to remember, it’s time for the expert hunter to get creative. Think back over the conversation with each mystery man and attempt to remember something else about him. For instance, perhaps Mark-with-the-long-last-name goes to Michigan and is a sophomore. Go to “advanced search” and cross-reference “Mark” with “Michigan ’11.” Look through all of the pictures until the Mark from the party appears. As each man is located via facebook, click the option to “friend” him. When he next ventures onto Facebook® he will have to confirm this “friend request,” which will then allow the love-seeker to see his whole profile, which includes his “wall” (where his friends can post comments, questions, etc.), pictures and videos of him, what he has done on Facebook® lately, and so much more! Move on, continuing to friend until pending friend requests are waiting for each and every new contact. In the rare case that one of these men does not have facebook, forget about him; only weirdos don’t have facebook.

Some precautions must be taken at this point. A practiced manhunter will go about other Facebook® business, for she does not want the newly friended men to know that she came on Facebook® just for them. This is also a safeguard against looking like a “Facebook® whore.” She wants more “stories” (which show what she has done on Facebook®) to appear on her mini-feed (where stories are listed) than just having friended a series of men. Do not merely delete the “stories” showing the friending, however, for this may insult the men being friended.

Once the men in question have friended the initiator in return, as they inevitably should, she must look for compatibility in her newest Facebook® friends. For now, eliminate those that are listed as “in a relationship” or have a romantic status of another sort that implies being currently romantically entangled (e.g. “married”). Browse through the each remaining man’s interests, musical tastes, the TV shows he watches, his favorite books, and perhaps even his college major. This preliminary information may help to further narrow the search for Prince Charming.

Before entering the slightly more obsessive stage (for at this point she is merely on the cusp of creepy), the confident creeper may write upon the walls of the men she has left in her pool of possibilities. Do not sound overly eager; the message should be breezy and something simple such as, “Hey! Last night was really fun. Are you going to [insert event here] next week?” This post is useful in a few ways. It not only shows that the manhunter enjoyed his company, but that she wants to see him again. He gets to avoid the anxiety of calling her, and she avoids direct rejection as well. To be successful, do not invite all of these men to the same event. Think of the travesty that would occur in trying to flirt with all of them at once! A successful seeker wants to leave her options open and prevent having to choose between possibilities too soon.

The advantage of the next encounter occurring in another week is that the presiding Queen may use the time in between to secure her place in these men’s hearts. Now that the Facebook® wall communication has commenced, the conversation can delve into more personal subjects, thus enabling the manhunter to get to know her prey. The lovely lady should look through all of his pictures and videos on Facebook, as these will show a lot about his personality. They portray his hobbies, sense of humor, and his relationship with his friends.  The kind of notes (an option on Facebook® in which a person may write a little ditty about pretty much anything, but which formulate themselves as something similar to a blog or diary entry) he has written, if any, will hint at if he will be romantically open, clingy, or keep his feelings to himself. Posts on his wall will also imply these important personality points, as well as show if he has sibling of Facebook® age, and if these siblings are important in his life. If, for instance, he has a sister who writes on his wall often, it is a signal that she could be an obstacle, or at least an important character to impress. Most importantly, an adept huntress will be able to discover clues about the quarry’s romantic past as well as uncover any potential competition with other girls.

At this point, the modern, opinionated woman likely has a pretty good idea of her male favorites and can properly woo them by impressing them with her knowledge of his favorite sports team, the fact that she too has seen every episode of “Law and Order,” and by swapping stories about her adorable golden retriever who is only a few years older than his. With so much in common, how can two not fall in love?