Here’s a Pro Tip for my fellow internet-obsessed 20-somethings: if you meet someone special who you cannot, for the life of you, find on twitter or instagram or who barely touches their Facebook profile (if they have one at all), snatch them up quicker than you can expel a series of heart-eyed emojis from the tips of your eager thumbs.
Most of us are used to fiddling with our iPhones and documenting everything publicly, and we’re used to our friends doing the same. Snapping pictures and posting them in our presence is basically part of the 21st century friendship experience. But when you’re tripping over yourself from all your heavy lusting and your face is overheating from all that blushing and you are furiously burrowing your way into someone’s heart, it really sucks to have that person fiddling with their fruitphone all the time.
Hopefully, if you’re on a date or anything resembling one, you are actively choosing not to pull out your smart device. Keeping your iPhone out of sight while spending time with someone makes you appear infinitely cooler, besides it just being the respectful thing to do. It shows your person of interest that they have your undivided attention. Even if you get those phantom phone vibrations or can feel little panic attacks coming on if you go five minutes without ensuring you’re up on all the utterly meaningless, #relevant happenings in the clogged vacuum of human interaction that is twitter, we should all have the ability to step away from all of that when real life is happening to us. If you don’t already have that worked out, you needn’t read on.
Having been in a relationship with someone who was decidedly anti-smartphone and only barely tolerated using Facebook but came nowhere near any other social media shenanigans, I can now totally appreciate how great that was. I would get frustrated when he’d tease me about my own social media participation and I would egg him on to get a less archaic, less embarrassing phone. He would call me to ask me to look things up on Google Maps for him because his phone couldn’t handle it. He’d rebuke me any time I would take out my iPhone to look up showtimes or directions or open hours for the restaurant we were heading toward, insisting we just wing it and not rely on technology if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. He’d even get pissed off if I took pictures and post them on Instagram because doing so “takes you out of the moment” (which is true, but I love taking pictures whether or not I’m going to post them someplace). But now, trying to hang out with guys who can’t seem to sit still lest they miss out on what their friends are doing without them, I totally understand all of that. All those peevish objections now seem like a decent trade-off.
You know what our generation is sorely missing out on? Love letters. Messages of any kind that contain real substance and are not written and sent upon thoughtless impulse. When you aren’t physically with your love interest, and they don’t tweet or post on facebook or instagram everything they’re doing, you’ll have plenty to talk about the next time you are together. When you’re dating someone who is too attached to their iPhone to just experience things, by the time you’re hanging out together again you already know everything they’ve been up to already. How boring is that? If your uninitiated lover is on a trip abroad and doesn’t post about every little thing, maybe they’ll write you telling you about the interesting details and let you and only you in on their thoughts and feelings. Maybe they are taking lots of great pictures and you’ll get to look at them together when they get back. Exclusivity of this kind is actually meaningful and shows that your person of interest wants to share their experiences with you, not just with any random with 3G or wi-fi access.
For those of us in our twenties and thirties right now, this is still an attainable kind of relationship to have with our peers, especially if you’re down to date people a little bit older than you. There are lots of people under 35 who resist the magnetism of over-sharing and who don’t abuse their iPhone privileges. The up-and-coming younger generations, I’m afraid, will not have a concept that this is even an option, because these tools and applications have existed since they were born. Writing someone a message exceeding 160 characters will seem like an unrealistic, over-romanticized relic of those Jane Austen novels they only read the Cliffsnotes for in high school.
So appreciate that we otherwise-doomed millennials can get to know real people who eschew a social media-centric lifestyle and try to let their who-gives-a-shit attitude rub off on us. The benefit for our twitterless significant others, of course, is that we will forever be disproportionately ecstatic to receive a heartfelt email from them. An actual, physical letter might as well be a marriage proposal. Even a postcard is a guaranteed lay. Now go forth and share this post on facetwitstagramblr to complete the circle of irony.