Facebook friends

Facebook friends (Danny Schwartz, For the Los Angeles Times / September 13, 2012)

It's popular these days to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook … or maybe just a hate-hate. The IPO was underwhelming, and no one likes the new timeline or that annoying ticker that flows to the right of the screen. People worry about how their personal information is being stored and used. They even made fun of Mark Zuckerberg for being flummoxed by an ATM during his honeymoon.

But you can't say a bad thing about Facebook to me. Nothing will convince me it's not the best thing ever.

I always wanted to fall in love, find a man who would adore me and stay with me forever. But after years of flirtations and crushes, bad dates and one long-term misadventure, I'd come to the conclusion that love of the romantic sort wasn't for me. My life would be full of a different kind of meaning. I'd find fulfillment elsewhere — by returning to school, in my writing, in my yoga practice, in teaching. I'd find love of a different nature — family, friends and, maybe someday, a child.

Then a funny thing happened, one of those annoying snippets of conventional wisdom — when you stop looking, when you stop trying to make love happen, it will happen — actually came true.

We weren't strangers. In fact, we'd met before, when we were 15. It was the 1980s, and we were theater geeks at our private school in the San Fernando Valley. He had Flock of Seagulls hair and rolled the bottoms of his uniform pants into stylish pegs. And he had an unusual name: Ravi. There was something exotic about him.

I had big Brooke Shields eyebrows and defiantly wore boxer shorts under my plaid uniform skirt. I wrote long essays on Shakespeare and Ray Bradbury, sang in the chorus, acted in plays, was homecoming queen and got good grades. I wasn't ready for boys.

In my high school memories, he was always smiling and giggling with his friends. He was a year ahead of me, and after his graduation, he was gone. Over the years, I heard he traveled to India, and someone saw him playing upright bass in a park downtown. He'd taken a different road than the one that was expected of us: college, job, marriage, family.

I did too. After 13 years in school, being the perfect student and all-around good girl, I was bored and wanted to sample some "real life." After I graduated from high school, I traveled to Europe to model, returned home to be an actress, took a brief detour into real estate in an attempt to "be a grown-up," chucked adulthood for teaching yoga and eventually earned a master's in creative writing from Antioch University.

It was there that I reluctantly joined Facebook as a means for communicating with classmates. How silly, I thought. This is something kids do. But immediately I was friended by everyone who'd ever met me. Including Ravi.

We messaged about all we'd been up to for the last 20 years, and I looked at the photos he'd posted of travel and gigs. He looked more like a man than a boy, and his hair was darker and no longer so painstakingly coiffed. But in one photo, he looked up into the camera with an expression that I remembered from high school — full of mischief, fun, intelligence and kindness.

He wondered — if it wouldn't be torture — if I'd like to have dinner with him. My gut reaction was yes, and at age 37, I finally had the good sense to listen to my gut in matters of the heart.

On a hot August evening, we met at a small neighborhood restaurant, sat on high stools and ate salads and French fries. I was confused by my reaction to him, thrown by how easy it was to talk to him. I can't remember what we talked about, only how I felt with him and that I didn't want our dinner to end. Nervous sweat soaked through the back of my dress while I grappled with what was happening. Or rather, what was not supposed to be happening because I'd already decided it never ever would.

That night, he asked me out again. By the end of our second date, I was a goner. He was all I never thought I'd have. And we met by such serendipity, by the thinnest of margins. Twenty-two years after first meeting in school, we were ready for each other in ways we'd never have been if we'd reconnected sooner. It was exactly the right moment.

Four years later, we are still falling in love. So I have nothing bad to say about Facebook.

Like. A thousand times … like.

Megan McCord is a writer of fiction, working on her first novel, and teaches writing at Antioch University.

L.A. Affairs chronicles romance and relationships. Past columns are archived at latimes.com/laaffairs. If you have comments to share or a story to tell, write us at home@latimes.com.