I had dinner with a new friend a few nights ago. We are both teachers, both in our 30s, both single, both dating. It’s nice to find someone who is at the same stage and who is going through the same things.
It was one of those dinners that women have where we start talking and, three hours later, still haven’t stopped. Where you get to analyze your neurosis with someone who totally gets it (and shares them).
Anyways, my friend went to the washroom, and while she was gone I had a revelation. She came back and I immediately exclaimed:
“You know what I just realized?! Everyone, everyone who’s married anyways, everyone has done it!”
She looked briefly alarmed and I realized that my words could be misconstrued.
“No, see, I mean, they’ve dated. They’ve figured out the awkward beginnings. They’ve managed not to screw it up by being crazy girls. They’ve called him and that single phone call didn’t make him think that they were a crazy stalker. They’ve all done it,” I finished triumphantly, looking for confirmation.
Instead I got a look of reluctance.
“Yeah… but…” she held up her iPhone and waved it in the air. “Most of them didn’t do it like this. Most of them didn’t have to worry about texts and what they mean, about when it’s a good time to take down the online profile, about the million other options on a dating site. It’s different now.”
I know that each generation thinks that things are different now and the previous generation smiles, nods, and thinks: I remember when I thought my experience was unique too.
But It IS Different.
Technology can really muck things up. For example…
Texts are too easy to send, to misinterpret, to question.
- Should I text him? (The answer is pretty much always no… he knows that you are alive and probably you are only texting to remind him of that fact… regardless of the “crucial” thing you want to send.)
- Why didn’t he text me “Morning” or “Goodnight”? He did yesterday, or at the start, or once a month ago. (He isn’t thinking of you. Or he doesn’t like to text. Or he is thinking of you but he’s just as confused as you are about whether or not it’s okay to text. Also, a note here, some poor guys simply don’t like to text. Are they screwed in this new world? Will we all write them off as “not interested”?)
- What did that text mean? Or that one? Or that one? (Stop analyzing it. Don’t let it make you crazy. Chances are that he’s trying to make you like him and isn’t being a dick on purpose. If he is being a dick on purpose dump him. Do not have an important conversation via text.)
- WHY IS THERE A PENIS ON MY PHONE?!?!?! (Run. Just run.)
I obsess as much as the next girl. I’m terrible for it. But I’m becoming self aware enough to realize that I’m doing it. To realize that my obsession with the fact that I haven’t heard from him in two days has more to do with insecurity then anything else. To remind myself that I don’t need to be insecure. That I am in control of my own destiny. That he is probably just busy. That I don’t need to be constantly reassured.
And 90% of the time I don’t.
I enjoy the girly conversations where we analyze everything down to the minute detail. It’s a part of being a girl. It’s a fun part. It’s a bonding experience. It might seem obsessive and crazy. But we’re girls. This is what we do.
Back to the original point of this post though. Technology sucks.
How did it work before the iPhone? How often was one expected to talk to a new person? How often did one talk when it was just land lines?
It must have been so much simpler in the time of buggies and courting and arranged marriage.
We have the ability to be constantly connected. This does not mean that we should or need to be constantly connected.
Mystery is sexy. Mystery is exciting.
Put the phone down.