hi ho

They'll Always Have Periscope (A Love Story)

Does a term already exist for a Periscope ambush?   Is it just, getting Periscope-d?

Well, recently a guy I know got Periscope-d and nothing will ever be the same.

My most straight-laced, uptight coworker went on a first date recently with a girl he met at a comedy club.  (Note to anyone else trolling comedy clubs for dates: you’ve hit rock bottom.)  They made out the first night they met and he reported back, “She’s crazy.”  We, being the mostly female work place that we are, called him a sexist asshole for reducing a girl he barely knew to "crazy". He stood by his claim.  Until she didn’t text him back for a week.

When she did finally reply to his text, he asked her out immediately.  Negging works.  Every time.  He said, “I’m going on a date with a crazy girl!” and we said, “Shut up, shithead.”

I really, truly hate when men label girls ‘crazy.’  It’s usually just mancode for, ‘she isn’t into me’ or ‘she acted slightly different than my chauvinistic, pig-head self wanted her to.’ But it turns out, in this specific case, he was right.

The morning after The Big Date, our straight-laced, uptight coworker, let’s call him Gary, came to work two hours late.  The thing about Gary, who regularly wears three piece suits and pocket squares to the same office I wore pajama pants and a blanket to yesterday, is that he does not come to work two hours late. 

He was entirely hung over, maybe still drunk.  And he was proud, the way an idiot teenager is proud to have been so wasted they puked on their friend and passed out in front of a Dunkin Donuts.  The date was a resounding success, he said.  They got really drunk, went back to her place and cuddled on the couch.  They made out a little, but didn’t have sex.  She was definitely all about him.

Gary rode his good date afterglow pretty high for about an hour.  I wanted to smack him off his fucking teenaged high horse.  I probably tried.  But the universe beat me to the punch when, in our shared office, Gary went white and slumped down into his chair.  He was browsing The Crazy Girl’s Twitter feed, because she is a big time social media over-sharer and he wanted to see if she had said anything about The Big Date to her 3k+ followers.  She has, but not on Twitter.

Enter Periscope. 

Periscope, for any who are unaware, as I assume most people over the age of 18 are, is a phone application that live broadcasts a video stream from your phone’s camera to the Internet, where it stays for 24 hours before deleting itself.  Apparently there are thousands and thousands of people who subscribe to Periscope feeds and will just watch other people live their idiot lives through their iPhone selfie cameras for fun or something.  I don’t know who these people are; I don’t know any of them personally.  I would guess they are probably the same people who think text messages are so passé and know what a Vine Star is.

Gary’s lady of the night, it turns out, was an avid user of Periscope.  And she had been broadcasting updates on The Big Date to her 3k+ fans throughout the night.  Five video updates, to be precise.

The First Video is mostly plot set up. Our girl is broadcasting live from a taxi where she is on her way to meet Gary.  She has a look and demeanor that I can only describe as “bone-chilling.”  We’re talking straight out of an Oxygen Channel female serial killer TV movie.  She is clearly intoxicated and alarmingly vacant.  She is definitely from New Jersey.  She is holding a cheap handful of deli flowers, which she tells her camera she is going to give to him.  She keeps saying, “I just hope he likes them,” over and over.  All the while her followers are posting comments to her video feed, which, the next morning, we get to see alongside the video as they would have appeared live.  So while we watched Miss Periscope 2015 put on her sultriest pre-date selfie face, we were also treated to a few dozen people with screen names like, “BigDong696969” typing “He’ll <3<3” and “I wud bone u hard.”

In the second video, she has met up with Gary and they are trying to decide on a late night location.  They are both drunk, his arms are around her, and she says, “Say hi to the Internet!”  He looks at the camera and says, “Hi.”  BigDong696969 says, “Did he like flowers? Ur hot.” They discuss what bar they should head to next.  She says, “Your job sounds really important, you’re basically Jack Donaghey,” which is a reference to the GE executive that Alec Baldwin played on the show 30 Rock.  Gary is not a GE executive.  Gary is a mid-level staffer at a late night TV show.  BigDong696969 comments, “Rich dude???” As the camera is pointed directly at him this whole time, it seems like Gary should be aware that he is being livestreamed to BigDong and 2,999 of BigDong’s friends, but remember that Gary is 26 and is completely oblivious to the ways of the youths.

After watching Video 2, Gary got a little dramatic.  “I will get fired if anyone sees these!”

He wasn’t. 

“She name drops the building I work in! It’s only a little bit of detective work to figure out who I am and what my job is!” 

Nobody cared (except of course for me, this was the best thing that had happened to me in weeks). 

“I need her to take all of these down before anyone sees them! Also, in the third video, I drunkenly shit talk one of my best friends.”

Ok, that was a valid concern.  I will give Gary that.

In the third video, she is secretly recording a conversation they are having at a bar, circa 2 am.  The camera is pointed at the floor so you can only hear them talking, no visuals of what I assume are a couple of Sloppy Tuesday Night Messes.  Gary does, indeed, throw the smallest bit of shade at his friend.  It’s nothing very interesting, something about him being like a half-baked adult.  BigDong696969 calls Gary several hateful terms for gaymen that I cannot in my good conscience repeat.

At this point in the night, per Gary’s narrative, we are to believe that they left the bar, went back to her place, and innocently fell asleep on the couch.  He told us that he woke up around 7 am, carried her to her bed, tucked her in (ugh) and then went back to his place where he passed out until noon-ish. 

The fourth video takes place the next morning.  She is walking around her kitchen gushing about their chemistry.  She says, in her signature high-pitched wine that is straight out of a parody of an 80s porno, “We didn’t have sex last night because we care about each other.”  She continues to mill around her kitchen and she finds the deli flowers from last night.  She says, “He LOVED the flowers, he loved them so much.  I’m gonna bring them to him at work today.”  She is feeling a little more unhinged now, but maybe she’s still drunk. 

The fifth video is the real gem. In the fifth video she is laying in her bed.  She looks straight into the camera with her shark eyes, begins to apply magenta lipstick and says, “I love him, I’m not gonna fuck up our relationship by having sex with him. I’m gonna go out, have a great date with him, and then I’m gonna go fuck a stranger.” BigDong comments to express concern about fucking strangers.  Then in a maniacal mood swing for the Periscope ages, she gets very angry and yells, “I’m tired of boys telling me what’s safe and not safe. I’ll bring a condom, I’ll take a cab. What, do you think he’s gonna rape me? No! I’m trying to get fucked!”  Rant over, lipstick applied, she finishes the video out with a soft, sweet, “We’re just a couple of kids, in love, doing it the right way, with no sex.”

Gary, sadly, reached the end of his rope at Video 5.  He was as close to a panic attack as a man wearing a casual pocket square can get.  We told him to, you know, chill, at least she’s into you.

“But she is so crazy, if I ask her to pull them off the Internet, she will just lash out and probably go on a rant about me!”

And I, being the hero feminist that I am, mustered all of the shallow pro-women attitude that pre-Calvin Taylor Swift taught me in #2015 and said, “Just text her and ask her to take them down, she won’t be as crazy as you think I’m sure.”

And would you know it, Taylor Swift was right.  She didn’t lash out. She actually seemed very embarrassed to have been caught.  She took all the Periscopes down immediately and sent him an apology text that ended with something along the lines of, “Well, sorry, and goodbye forever.” Full Crazy Miss Periscope had been demoted to Probably OK Miss Periscope, who just did a silly 21st century thing that maybe we, in our mid-twenties, are too old to understand.

Gary, a little bit shaken up, did what any recently validated millennial would do, and proceeded to recount the ordeal to every other person on our floor.  That’s about 150 people, for anyone counting.  At one point in the day, someone sent him some deli flowers to match the ones from the video with a fake love note, which I thought was a cool office prank.  But all in all, Gary walked away unscathed.  In fact, he was so high on the attention I sort of thought he would call her again.

But! I was wrong.

He did not call her again.  Before he even got the chance to recover from his traumatic moment in the public eye, a whole second chapter in the Periscope story unraveled.

I became increasingly obsessed with Miss Periscope’s maybe-unhinged-maybe-just-good-at-getting-attention online presence.  I don’t want to say I was refreshing her Twitter feed for any potential updates on our back-to-boring-ass coworker Gary’s love life, but, well, my job can be very boring.  She posted a few definitely misguided but mostly harmless Tweets and Vines and Periscopes, including one quite tasteless selfie of her in a headscarf proclaiming that she could be pass as a Muslim. 

And then, a few weeks after The Big Date, my definitely not creepy voyeurism was satiated when she started live broadcasting from a house in Long Island. 

Video 6 is much darker and sadder than the rest.  Our shark-eyed hero is frantic and screaming about a broken bone and accusing a man of beating her.  She shows bruises and a very swollen hand to the camera.  She then pans to camera to a guy who, surprise! Is a Recently Disgraced Talk Radio Personality.  She screams to him, don’t hit me again!  He yells back, “Sweetie… want to do karaoke?” 

This very disturbing Periscope remained somewhat of a dark mystery until the next night, when several local news sources printed that the aforementioned Recently Disgraced Talk Radio Personality had been arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. 

The RDTRP’s defense lawyer released a simple statement: “Things are often not what they seem to be.” 

All of this of course, was very sad because domestic abuse is a really terrible thing. But there was one silver lining, which was that I got to watch the somehow still lingering Big Date Afterglow get ripped from Gary piece by piece as the details of Miss Periscope started to come out.

Page 6 picked up the story and reported that at the time of his arrest, the RDTRP and our girl had been dating for one year.  For those of you who are very bad at math, that is approximately eleven months before The Big Date with Gary.  So, Gary was The Other Man.

The Daily Mail quoted RDTRP’s defense lawyer saying that the two of them lived together in his apartment in New York.  Remember when Gary spent the night sexlessly spooning her on her couch?  That was SOMEONE ELSE’S APARTMENT. 

All of this was, unfortunately, a bit of a blow to Gary’s ego.  His narrative was changed overnight from, “Crazy Girl Was Obsessed With Me, Live Broadcast Me, Validated Me Forever,” to “Girl Uses Me As A Pawn To Make Her Pig Of A Boyfriend Jealous.”  How insane is it that a girl in her early-twenties is secretly livestreaming a good first date?  Not that crazy when she’s trying to make sure that her older, cheating, rich (?) boyfriend knows it’s happening. 

But, then, as much as I want to applaud her revenge tactics, shark-eyed Miss Periscope is still a total nutbag. It is really easy to believe that the dead-eyed girl who Periscope-d Gary and told BigDong that she was gonna “fuck a stranger” all as a revenge plot to her real life boyfriend would see the movie Gone Girl and think, “huh, maybe I could do that.” 

Page 6 dug up some Reddit threads where our hero is defending her relationship with her RDTRP because even though he cheats on her a lot, he pays for her to go on vacation to Hawaii. And Hawaii makes it all worthwhile. As a side note, I do wonder how much money exactly a radio personality who hasn’t worked in a year makes.  Should I be making moves on some disc jockeys??  Does anyone know what Elvis Duran is up to? 

But he’s a bad guy too! Recently Disgraced Talk Radio Personality was Recently Disgraced for verbally assaulting a random woman in Times Square. And later Tweeting that he hoped she would get beaten to death.  And racism.  It is kind of hard to believe that there is a world where RDTRP is not breaking his girlfriend’s hand, while also probably yelling, “Whites rule! Someone give me a new radio show! The 1850s were America at its peak!” 

In any case, Miss Periscope and her Recently Disgraced Talk Radio Personality are currently in court to see whether he is going to jail for assaulting his girlfriend or he exposes her for using Periscope to frame him for assault. I am eagerly waiting to see what the jury of their peers thinks of all of it.  

Meanwhile my coworker with a collection of un-ironic pocket squares has reverted to a rather dull dating life. He seems to have put this whole incident behind him. I, on the other hand, still follow our lady incessantly and spend a tragic amount of time lamenting what could have been.

But, they’ll always have Periscope.

Some Light Moroccan Ass Work

Update: Hertz Don't Play