It used to be that all you needed to get married was a blood test. Nowadays, we don’t rely on DNA to ensure that your beloved isn’t an STD petri dish or your long-forgotten twin secretly donated to science and raised by gophers. Oh, no, for that type of juicy gossip, we head to the World Wide Web.
Before I got engaged, I never had Googled myself. I never even had considered it. I was around for every moment of my life; what could I possibly learn? My then fiance shared in this attitude. What we didn’t understand at the time is that you don’t Google yourself for you. You Google yourself for everyone else.
Soon after my wedding invitations were sent out, a few invitees on my side of the family who never had met my fiance made snark-laced remarks about his being “quite the musician.”
Now, my husband is known to break out in air guitar or air drums. He thinks he looks cool. He doesn’t. He thinks everyone loves his thrashing and his finger strumming. They don’t. Personally, I find it kind of endearing, but what can I say? I married the nerd.
I figured that word of his headbanging dorkdom had made its way through the grapevine and that my family members were just poking fun. I simply smiled and agreed: “Yes, my fiance loves music. Yes, he has quite a unique sense of humor.”
Once I’d heard a handful of smug statements, I began wondering whether there was not more to this story. Surely, not everyone attending my wedding could have the same hatred for air-instrumenting. It was time to do a little investigating. Time to Google.
Nothing keeps you humble like the World Wide Web. A few clicks and I was privy to a very disjointed display of “Katiedid, This Is Your Life.” Honor roll in fourth grade. Drug addict in 1996. (It took a few more clicks to see that “Drug Addict” was my character’s name in a student film I was in. Thanks, Internet.) And a lot of k.d. lang links. Nothing too exciting. Nothing too defaming.
Then we Googled my fiance. He has a pretty unusual name, but two other men topped the Google list: a painter out of Baltimore and a musician. Aha!
We clicked on the musician’s link and were brought to a page with a darkened picture of a young man, tall, slender, with a mop of brown curls just like my fiance’s. No wonder people were confused. Even I thought this musician looked like my fiance.
All was fine — and a little comical — until I listened to the songs. My jaw dropped. There it was. All the reasons for the smirks, the snorts, the snark. The man who shared the same name and basic appearance of my husband-to-be was a pervert.
There were gleeful songs about rape, upbeat songs mocking education and destroying religion, and a rather catchy romp degrading all women. They were meant as jokes, but this guy lacks the satirical mastery of “Weird Al” Yankovic.
I always have felt bad for people who wind up on the no-fly list because they share the same name as a suspected terrorist. But less than two months out from my wedding, I thought my situation was far worse. Not only did family suspect my guy of being a sexist, misogynist wad but also I essentially had confirmed their beliefs by smiling and agreeing! What was I supposed to do?
Perhaps we could just embrace it and hand out the album as wedding favors with a note stating that we will love each other through sickness and health, pillaging jokes, and billboard bombs.
At the end of the day, I enlisted my parents to do damage control.
I haven’t thought about the man who shares my husband’s name in many years. That is, until last week, when we were sent an email blast announcing the release of his latest album.
On the cover of the album is an old high-school photo of a familiar-looking glasses-clad, brown-haired boy. I’m not gonna lie; a small part of me wonders whether my husband is leading a second life. After all, he is quite the musician.