Don't look for a place to click "Yes, I like this poster." Feel free to like or not.

“You can’t choose your family.” Ha! Kleenex says otherwise. On its Web site you can choose a mom for yourself from an assortment of moms displayed — most of them, I guarantee, more disturbing than your own mom in every way.

“Veronica” boasts that not only can she find a needle in a haystack but she will organize that haystack by straw color and thickness. “Magnolia,” with her overbearing good ol’ mom ways and screechy Southern twang, put me off grits for life. Then there’s “Jessica” who offered to be not only my mom but my BFF. No BFF-en way.

It’s a clever marketing gambit to encourage an ongoing brand relationship (your Kleenex mom will send you to-do list reminders) and inevitable in a culture where we are encouraged to rate, vote, opine online on everything from news stories to a Facebook friend’s updates (“you and 6 others like this”).

The insidious nature of all this judgy-ness hit me one night while visiting one of my  favorite guilty-pleasure Web sites,, where, on a real-time interactive map,  I can watch — gender assumption alert — a woman in Florida buy red patent pumps and click the thumb up-thumb down icon to express my opinion on her purchase.

Normally, I wouldn’t dream of weighing in on someone’s accessory choices without first walking a mile in her strappy sandals, but  it had been a long day and there may have been a glass of wine involved. Giddily enthusiastic about a particularly cute handbag that popped up on the map, I intended to click approval but accidentally hit the thumb down. Against all reason, all that is rational behavior, I felt bad. I checked to see if I could undo my vote. No. I wanted to apologize to the shopper (“Ma’am, you don’t know me but…”) and to Zappos for having fed them the wrong marketing information (“Hello, marketing research trackers, you don’t know me but …”).

Suffering suffragettes, what good can come to anyone from this incessant voting on life’s every experience, our own and those of others? It’s enough to make me weep. That would require a Kleenex. Exactly.