Remember the days when you would write a letter with your quill and ink well by a roaring fire, scribing each word with the utmost care, blotting it gently and sealing it with wax and seal?
Of course you don't. That was like the 1700's, yo. If you're reading this and you remember that, you are either a zombie, a vampire or you have the most insanely gifted genetic code ever to let you live this long. If it is the first, please don't bite me. If it's the second, I think you have a glittering rendezvous with Edward Cullen in an hour. And if it's the last, what's your secret?
Ah, I digress. My original thought was: Is technology killing romance?
It is something that I've pondered laboriously for quite some time now, and I still haven't come to a verdict.
Granted, it is both wonderful and amazing that we can skype someone anywhere in the world and have a cyber version of them right in front of us. It's ALMOST as good as having them in person. But somehow caressing a computer screen just isn't quite the same as touching a real person. Believe me, I've tried....Don't judge.
But I almost miss that anticipation, filled with that nervousness and hope, that existed when we could only reach people by letter, or even by phone (regular phone, not cell phones. I wonder if anyone has those old, bulky home phones anymore. Those are going to be on par with rotary phones for these coming generations). But I suppose that's something you want when you don't have it. And then once you do have those 5 days of agonizing loneliness, filled with that anticipation, you would give anything for a phone to text your potential wooer and get a response from them in a few seconds.
Those were the days of, "Is he going to call?" and "Maybe he lost my number?" or "He probably doesn't even remember me" (while you are secretly hoping with every fiber of your being that he does). They guy wonders how long he should wait to call (the girl never calls...right? That's the guy's, job! But what if he sucks at his job?...). There were social niceties and socially accepted rules about this not even ten years ago. Is one day too soon? You don't want to look needy....but you don't want them to think you're not interested. You are! Anyway, you get the picture: Agony, torture and anxiety beyond belief. C'est l'amour. What can I say?
But then! THE CALL. You talk for hours, but it seems like only a few minutes. A date is arranged. The call is discussed and analyzed vigorously at a Sex and the City-esque lunch with your closest chums. "What does he look like?", "Is he funny?", "Where are you guys going for the date?", "You have to wear that black dress of yours", "Are you going to sleep with him on the first date?" (<---Who is that hussy? Geesh. Have a little dignity, will you?). Those were such exciting times! Now, at least to me, it feels like we have lost that excitement. Texting is a socially excepted form of cowardice and laziness--not ALL the time, but a lot of the time. I understand that it can be convenient sometimes. But that shouldn't apply to wooing. I mean, come on. If you don't consider the person you're with worth ACTUALLY calling them and talking to them, then either you are a major d-bag or they're not really someone you want to be with. I feel that men use texting a lot more than women. Texting eliminates any chance of those awkward pauses on the phone and that dreadful possibility of mashing up your words and sounding like Tarzan on speed. It is a fool proof way of guaranteeing suavity (<-- Wow, I did not know "suavity" was an actual word. I thought I had coined a wonderful new word :( ). That's why guys love it so much. But hey, girls love it for the same reason. I just feel woman have less of a problem expressing themselves, thus making them more likely to actually call a love interest. I mean, can you imagine Mr. Darcy texting one of his MANY heart-wrenching sweet nothings? Sure, it is touching. And I am NOT saying I would be displeased with receiving a text that read, "You have bewitched me, body and soul" (be still my heart). But I still feel that seeing that on a tiny screen kills a lot of the romance.
One good thing I can say about not even just texting, but technology in general (email, facebook, IM, BBM, etc.) is that it has made hand written letters even more special and significant. A hand written letter is a rarity in today's society. It shows love and care and dedication. Anyone can whip out an email or a text. But sitting down and writing a hand written letter is really an art. And the great thing about a letter is that it is so personal. Part of the person is in that letter. It has a certain smell, the handwriting is always so distinct and shows the person's personality. But the best part is that it isn't perfect. It isn't a rigid, Times New Roman, black and white, BLAH document. It has flaws, it has character.
Something that I like about having the ability to text and email instantly is that you can send little cute messages and reminders throughout the day your sweetie pie honey bunches of oats. In olden times, the equivalent of that was like sending a messenger pigeon with your miniature declaration of love attached to it and hoping that it reached your beloved. Or maybe smoke signals? Nothing like a romantic plume of smoke billowing in the sky, is there? Texts in a way are the 21st century whisper. It's how we tell secrets and personal thoughts now, which can be really fun. In the past, relationships were so personal, too. Only your closest friends really knew the juicy details of your romance, and that was if you chose to tell them.
But today with Facebook, you can literally publish your love.
Joe Schmo is IN A RELATIONSHIP.
That's great and all, but then what happens when...
Joe Schmo when from being IN A RELATIONSHIP to SINGLE.
"Are you ok?"
"I'm so sorry :("
But that is really up to the individual person. I have no problem with openly declaring your love for the cyber universe to behold. But I just know from personal experience that if a romance goes sour, the post-breakup Facebook clean up can be...not so fun. That's why I've decided to try and keep my relationships out of the Facebook realm. Personally, I think it's much more romantic to have your relationship just between you and your beau. It's much more romantic that way.
I guess I need to come to a conclusion, don't I? Well, what I have deduced is that there are still PLENTY of ways to be romantic in this cyber, technological age. And you can even use the aforementioned technology to do romantic things. But it can also be used as a cowardly form of evasion and laziness. It is all up to the individual person.
All I can say is that I hope the older forms of expressing your love still stick around and that we don't turn into a totally robot love society.
Technology is a delicate thing. If used correctly, it can aid in blossoming a beautiful relationship. But if continually abused, it can be the end-all to traditional forms of romance. Use it well, lovers of the world. Use it well.