It is my firm belief that the urgency of romance is lost in the ease with which technology allows us to communicate. Granted, I barely remember a time before Facebook, Twitter, and text allowed me to be in 24-hour contact with my peers, so the closest experience I have to relate is high school, and my first 3 years at university, before Facebook became a ‘thing’.
I remember meeting my uni boyfriend at a bar when I was 19—sure we had mobile phones and MySpace but the two still lacked the gravitas they embody now. Both mobile phones and social media were still slow and cumbersome, and we hadn’t yet learned to rely on them as the primary medium for inter-personal communication. I remember the way in which he courted me, which revolved around regular phone calls and us ‘hanging out’. The impetus for us to be physically in one another’s presence, including being able to hear the other’s voice on the end of a phone call, was powerful and immediate.
We were not joined at the Twitter feed. We could not trawl each other’s photos online or see the places to which we were both ‘checking in’. We were not in constant textual contact—because none of these things were the communicative signifiers they are now.
Now: dates are easily cancelled by a text. You can keep up with your loved ones with a click of a mouse. Following people online, as we already know, creates an interactivity that mimes physicality and tricks us into a false sense of intimacy. When you meet someone you like in a bar, you can develop a textual relationship before even a physical one, your mobile communication creating a connection between you that seems as real as if you were face-to-face.
But it’s not real. Technological communication allows careful curation, and we become lulled into the false sense that we’re actually engaging in a meaningful relationship in lieu of actually having a physical one. The freedom with which we communicate is essentially promoting a sort of real time laziness wherein we feel so a part of each other’s day that getting together at the end of that day can sometimes feel unnecessary in the sense that we have already had our emotional and conversational needs fulfilled by that person for that day. It’s so easy to neglect face time because it feels like the time we have already devoted through text and social media has made us close enough, as a constant and ongoing substitution for actually having to put in an effort to get to know the other person.
So ladies and gentleman, my proposition is this: stop texting. We don’t need blow-by-blow descriptions of each other’s days. We don’t need to see all those clips you think we’d like. What we need is a vacation from our screens—one where we can be together, face-to-face, lip-to-lip or pelvis-to-pelvis. We need a retro redux, like playing vinyl or shooting on film, and I think we should all step away from the technology and get to know each other as human beings. You heard it here first, guy, so stop texting me and get in my bed!