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What Happens When You Snoop, According to 20 Women Who Did
10.10.18

Cardi B is a modern phenom for many reasons, not the least of which being her canny ability at being so… meta. Exhibit A: The breakout star’s debut album is entitled Invasion of Privacy, presumably an ironic reference to the complex relationship between her rampant use of social media and our thirsty consumption of all that she shares. The twelfth track on said album is entitled “Thru Your Phone,” which is a three-minute meditation on her own emotional state post-invading someone else’s privacy. “Look, I just want to break up all your shit,” Cardi raps in the opening line. “Call your mama phone/Let her know that she raised a b*tch, then dial tone, click.”

Needless to say, Cardi’s (fictional) snooping caused her to find some things she didn’t like.

Does snooping always end as badly as it did for Belcalis? Of course there’s a difference between glancing over a shoulder to sneak a peek at a text and unlocking someone’s phone with their finger while they sleep to dig into their text messages. This got me thinking: What’s the state of snooping in 2018? In order to find out, I asked 20 women to tell me about how snooping has played out in their lives. Curious? Read their stories below. No snooping required.


“I snooped on my now-girlfriend the morning after we first hooked up. She was off showering and I noticed my name on an iMessage and snuck a peek. I felt guilty and shaky afterwards, but I also learned some info that assured me that she was feeling the same things as me! I would never tell her, but I also don’t feel terrible about it.”

Lucy, 23

“For most of my life, I had a fascination with the he-said-she-said dynamic of my parents early post-divorce relationship. I never could sift through it well enough to find the ‘truth,’ so at the age of 17, I looked through my mom’s email, searching for mentions of my name. I didn’t find any divorce truths BUT I did find a counseling session report from when I was 10 that said I had ‘psychic ability’ and talked about my ‘energy field’ among other spooky things. When I asked my mom about it she didn’t know what I was talking about. She didn’t even remember taking me to a counselor!”

Cameron, 22

“Snooping is my biggest flaw. I’ve also never been caught so all that’s come of it is internal shame. I found out my parents were getting a divorce by rummaging through my mother’s things. I discovered that my roommate was dating two people at the same time — without either of them knowing — by reading text messages that popped up on his phone while he was in the shower. Honestly, snooping, whether accidentally or intentionally, is the thing I hate most about myself because of how many secrets it’s forced me to have. It’s the thing I am always trying to change.”

Ava, 21

“When I was in 4th grade, I found a book about sex in my parents’ dresser and would sneak into their room to read it. The anatomy diagrams were head scratchers for me at the time, I’ll just say that.”

Sophia, 27

“Whenever I pet sit or house sit for friends or family I can’t help but snoop — I just want to touch all of their things! It’s not malicious in any way, I think of it as a deeper learning of their character. But it would definitely be very weird to be caught in the act of opening all their drawers, cabinets, closets.”

Montana, 29

“My ex read six months worth of my journal entries the night that we broke up and I’m GLAD he did. In his own words, it helped him to understand the scale, timeline and complexity of our relationship unravelling, rather than it seeming like a rash response to a shitty three weeks. I have no loose ends with him, nothing left unsaid. He bore witness to my anger, grief and confusion about our ending and for that reason I went forward into single life lightly, unencumbered by ‘what-ifs?’”

Bree, 23

“Once, when I was 11, I was snooping around my parents’ unlocked safe where they kept important documents. I found my mom’s divorce paperwork! Apparently she had been married and divorced before she married my dad. I was shocked. My mom is very Catholic; divorce is something I never imagined her going through, and something she never talked about. To this day, she doesn’t know that I know.”

Caroline, 22

“My sister used to make me keep crawl under our parents’ bed to rifle through Christmas presents while she stood guard at the top of the stairs.”

Chloe, 27

“When I was about 15, I read my cousin’s diary while she was staying with us. I felt really guilty doing it but inside it said she had just read my diary — I guess we were both really nosy!”

Julia, 30

“When I was 12, I decided to be a mini Nancy Drew and look into my mom’s email. There was no hacking involved, just simply opening her laptop. I found an email from my mom to my dad stating he owed her $30,000 in back child support payments. I went snooping hoping to find something fun, like a surprise party for myself, but instead found resentment.”

Sydney, 25

“I looked at a boyfriend’s phone while he was in the shower — had a sense that something was awry and wanted it confirmed. Sure enough, he had cheated on me and was texting his friends about it, seeking affirmation that they (to my surprise, actually) refused to give him.”

Lee, 29

“My college crush once mentioned that he had a profile on some dating site. I was so determined to figure out which one it was that I went through five pages of Google search results till I found him, then created a fake profile so I could snoop even more (this is horrible in retrospect — I know). I found out so much information that it took intense concentration not to accidentally mention any of it to him.”

Helena, 20

“About a week ago, I found a notebook at my boyfriend’s. I decided to sneak a peek and it was just so sweet: He wrote down what he was worried about, and then wrote down why it definitely should not be a worry. He wrote down traits about himself he was self-conscious of, and then wrote why those things were false. I feel bad that I snooped, but now I feel like I know how to better compliment him, and how to make him feel safer in our relationship.”

L, 23

“When I was 5, I took a footstool from my parents’ closet and pushed it up against their tall chest of drawers. I don’t think I was looking for anything in particular, I was just a natural snooper. I ended up finding all of my baby teeth! I wasn’t surprised.”

Danielle, 20-something

“I spent some time this summer at my parents’ house and would use my mom’s big library desk in their bedroom to work. One day I was bored, so I snooped through the desk drawers and came across some keepsakes: old photos of me and my siblings, memorabilia of my grandparents, and letters that my dad wrote my mom before they were married. Naturally I read them, and while there was nothing particularly juicy inside (mostly just tender, innocent professions of love), it was a disorienting but pleasant moment. The letters were dated, which also made it fun to place them in the timeline of my parents’ lives. In one, written exactly one year to the day before my oldest brother was born, my dad insists on how much he wants the relationship to work out. They’ve been married for 25 years now.”

Elizabeth, 24

“I read the diary of a woman for whom I was babysitting — she left it right out on her kitchen counter! In the diary she wrote about her affair, so I knew about it long before her husband did. I’ve always wondered if she wanted to be found out. The couple has since divorced and both are both remarried!”

Lily, no age given

“When I was younger, I loved to read my mom’s emails, even though most of them were junk or boring. One day, I found an email with the subject line: ‘Grace’s Surprise 13th Birthday!’ and found RSVPs from a bunch of my friends for a party that was happening the upcoming week. At lunch the next day I told my best friend that I had seen the invitation, and she called my mom that evening. I felt so bad that I had snooped, but I felt even worse that I had ruined her huge surprise for me! But I did have an amazing time at the party.”

Grace, 20

“I snooped through my boyfriend’s email and accidentally found out where he was taking me for Valentine’s Day. It actually worked out that I knew where we were going because he got lost on the way and I helped him find the place!”

Emily, 21

“I was home from college and my mom’s new boyfriend had started living with her. It was customary, on these visits, for me to snoop through her stuff: I wanted to try on clothes, ‘borrow’ unused expensive hair products, uncover relics of her past lives, and probably just play with fire. This time, I opened her nightstand to discover a conveniently-placed travel-sized Vagisil lubricant where her bridge set had previously lived. From then on I confined my snooping to the closet.”

Frances, 26

“I snooped once by reading a boyfriend’s journal while he was at work, and it was the best lesson ever in boundaries. He had written about his insecurities, some random musings on whether or not we were compatible, etc. It was definitely a peek deep inside his brain that I wasn’t meant to get! Well, it messed with my head, got me crazy insecure, and it ended up creating a huge divide between us where there hadn’t been one before. Needless to say, we did not stay together, but we remained friends and I learned my lesson about giving others’ their space. I’ve never read anyone’s journal since.”

Vivian, 37

Gif by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

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