I have a good buddy of mine that suggested I write about how much technology has become a part of our lives. In the text he sent me he reminisced about how he remembered free television, with only three channels, but he is now still vibrant enough to embrace all of the amazing technological break throughs we have today.
I was wondering where this inspiration came from and then I realized he had just returned from a trip overseas to visit a friend. A very attractive friend. A friend he got to know through e-mail and video conferencing. I think his ardor for technology is being fueled by an ardor of another kind. And I think that is worth writing about!
Now this guy is a good catch. He is nice looking, ( look I’m and old dude I refuse to say he is attractive, although one of my other friends thought he was from behind. But that is another story), has a good job, loves dogs, has no kids, and isn’t afraid to go into the kitchen. He also lives in a city that has stunning women. Yet he was in Europe to meet for the first time his new friend. I think technology has given a new meaning to forming relationships. You can now interact with the opposite sex from a distance until you think it is safe to close the gap. What used to require liquid courage now requires zero courage. Allow me to offer some examples of outdated dating technology.
Note Passing: The earliest text was a note. It usually said I like you or something akin to that. You could pass it directly to your objective or use an elaborate interconnecting chain of people and hope one of them didn’t open it. This took courage but generally if she ignored the note or wrote back and said adios you kept some dignity, unless a classmate intercepted that message and shouted out it’s contents. You also could leave the note in a hidden place only she could find. That saved you from using classmates but she could still blow your cover by telling all her friends.
The Referral: You could get a good friend to act as a go between. It usually went down where a girl told a boy another girl liked him or vice versa. Then someone had to awkwardly approach the other person and say something along the lines of ” Hey I heard you like me.” That usually had mixed results unless you were being set up, in which case dignity once again took a right to the chin.
The Letter: Usually someone scholarly thinks that a well written profession of love will wax eloquent with their heart’s desire and overcome any problems the writer has with acne, baby fat, or astigmatism. This is generally only effective after you are dating a girl, not before.
The Phone Call: This was the most dreaded of all approaches. You had to be able to get through a parent possibly and then engage in sufficient small talk before you actually made your request to meet. You are really hanging out there and while you don’t have to watch her wrinkle her face up you can certainly sense the long pause or interpret the standard curt responses. On time when I was in college I asked a girl to a party over the phone and she wanted to meet me in the cafeteria to see what I looked like first. I’m happy to say I met with her approval but afterwards I got irritated with the whole “inspection process.” My friends that mastered the phone were guys I held in very high regard. I really was impressed if they were confident when a girl’s dad answered the phone. At first I thought it was odd that a dad would be the difficult parent. I mean after all we are both males. He knows how it is to date. He knows what’s on our mind. It was at that point I answered my own question.
Today, thanks to technology, everything is easier and less stressful. Texting is easier than passing a note, although a text can get forwarded. E-Mailing is easier than writing a letter, although that e-mail can get forwarded. Video Conferencing is easier than making a phone call, although now you can actually see her facial expressions. Hmm maybe it’s still hard. Maybe meeting a girl locally was too tame for my buddy and he just needed to see what the world had to offer, even if he had to clear customs before he could take her to dinner. Upon reflection I bet he did just fine when a girl’s dad answered the phone!