As further proof of the end of the vulnerable phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, and its Me Too paranoia and hysteria, there's been a viral trend on Tik Tok this year where the person records themselves stealing a kiss from their best friend who they have a crush on. It's mainly girls kissing guys, sometimes guys kissing girls, and a fair number of girls kissing girls. (Gays kissing their guy friend would get shot.)
Here's a compilation of examples, but there are loads more on YouTube (search for "kissing my best friend Tik Tok," include "lesbian / bi / wlw" for that category).
A few brief observations:
First, these girls making moves tend to be butt girls rather than boob girls, which fits with the experience of guys who get hit on or touched spontaneously in a club or party. Butt girls are more forward, boob girls more passive, in their mating strategies.
Second, around half the guys give off gay vibes, particularly the gay-whoosh hairdo ("undercut"). Quite a few of these have a repulsed reaction, and some outright say "I'm gay". How are girls so clueless about their own best friends these days, given all the cultural propaganda telling them how supposedly common male homosexuality is? (It's only 1% of guys.) Maybe it's that typical wishful thinking that girls have for their crush -- "he's not like other guys, he's straight".
And third, the whole bogus notion of "consent" from the hysteria of the past five years has flown out the window. It's not only because the girls are the ones making the unsolicited moves this time around. Even when the guy makes the move, and even when he is not hot and gets rejected -- even slapped -- it's nothing like a crime.
Why would he upload video footage of his quasi-crime for the entire world to condemn him over? Because unlike what she might have done in 2018, in the 2020s she isn't going to behave like a victim by lodging a complaint with some authority in the first place. He didn't get caught red-handed in committing a crime -- he took a risk and it blew up in his face. It's part of the "epic fails" category of online content, not "crimes caught on tape".
This trend has been going on for several months now, so it's not just a fad that's here today, gone tomorrow. Starting this year, people are getting into the restless warm-up phase of the excitement cycle, where energy levels recover to baseline. A crucial aspect of this shift is guys and girls leaving their cocoons and interacting socially and emotionally with each other again, especially in the context of courting, romance, and sex. They have left their "don't touch me" / "leave me alone" refractory state, which they had been hunkering down in from 2015-'19, the hangover after the soaring high during the manic phase of 2010-'14.
As things get back to normal, it's time to start taking some risks again, although not the greatest risks right at the outset. It's better for there to be a practice or warm-up nature to these exercises. So, why not practice on a close friend? It's safer and less threatening than revealing your feelings and making a physical move on your crush who is not already your friend, say at a school dance.
Tik Tok is the only contemporary case of social media and apps being used to complement reality, rather than substitute for it. With this trend, it gives the restless yet nervous person the extra dose of courage to just go for it -- they're not just randomly revealing their feelings for someone, they're simply following everyone else taking part in this widespread trend. The crowd nature of the phenomenon gives each individual cover -- no single one of them feels awkward when everyone else is doing it.
In a manic phase where people feel invincible, this ego protection is not so necessary, but it is during the warm-up phase when people are just coming out of their shells.
And unlike most other uses of social media, this Tik Tok trend is not parasocial. The person is not targeting someone they only know online -- it's their IRL bff. And they're not making a cyber-move, like sending an overwrought DM, but making a physical move in physical space, touching two physical bodies together. And they get an instant reaction from the other person -- good or bad, they know right away, and don't have to suffer through the minutes, hours, or days of waiting for them to text back.
This micro-trend, and the larger shift that it is a part of, whereby young people are no longer constantly "staring down at screens" in public places, disproves technological determinism. The devices and software respond to the users' preferences, not the other way around.
If people want to hide in the online world to escape real life, they can do that -- and social media will take over the population, as it did during the past decade. If they want to re-join reality, they can do that too -- and devices and apps will shift toward complementing or facilitating real-life activities rather than substituting poorly for them.