It’s hard to tell if dating was ever easy, if people ever courted and loved each other differently than they do now. After all, how am I to ever really know? I was only born once in one generation. That being said, I have to believe that things were better back then. I look at the photographs of my mother from the ’70s and she just looks…happier. I swear, it’s because she didn’t have the internet, didn’t have something around 24/7 to make her feel anxious and weird.
When we were flirting with people in middle school under the bleachers, we had no idea how much things were going to change, did we? We had no concept of Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter. We just liked three-way-calling and Xanga. Ah, the simple pleasures. Perhaps if we had known, we would’ve been like, “Can I just go back into my mom’s vagina and come back out when the internet has been blown up and/or people start getting less weird?”
We have so many rules now, so many games we have to play, that it’s easy to just get exhausted before we even begin. At 24, I thought I would be driving around in some boy’s car and going to the movies and showing up at his front doorstep when I wanted to hang. The internet would be there but it wouldn’t be such an invasive third party. Unfortunately, that’s not what ended up happening with my generation. Now, it often feels like I’m dating the internet more than an actual boy. It doesn’t help that I’m a blogger either obviously. It’s my job to be up the internet’s ass 24/7.
So here’s how people date in 2011. You meet someone on the internet or maybe in real life. It doesn’t really matter because a big chunk of your correspondence is going to take place online anyway. Either before your first date or after, you’re going to experience the internet equivalent of a handjob, which is G-chatting. G-chatting with your crush will be fast and furious. You’ll message each other at work and send videos back and forth. “OMG, have you heard this song yet? You gotta!” Emoticons will be used and virtual boners will occur. All of this tension will lead up to an IRL date, in which all of those virtual erections will result into an actual boner.
Or maybe not. Maybe the lead up has taken too long and seeing each other in real life now feels strange and unnatural. The very thing that built the flirtation up is also the one to tear it down. This is why if I really like someone, I try to minimize our internet contact and texting because I don’t want us to get stuck in a flirty online K-hole. I make the transition quickly to let the other person know that I want this to feel real, that I want to be with them and touch them and build actual memories or whatever. Otherwise, it will just get lost.
And boy, do relationships get lost when they exist online. You spend three weeks texting and G-chatting and video chatting constantly with someone and then it just stops. The person falls off of the earth or maybe you do because things have just become too belabored. You wonder what the point of all this correspondence is and decide to sign offline for good.
All of these forms of communication have made us have no responsibility or ties to anyone. We can come in and out of someone’s life as we please because we’re not actively involved in it. We don’t see them in their apartment cooking dinner or socializing with friends or reading a book. We just see their name pop up on Facebook chat. We owe them nothing. Furthermore, they owe us nothing. In the back of our minds, we know all of this. After all, it takes two to tango. But we find ourselves in these weird dating situations all of the time. We want something “real” so we go somewhere “fake” to get it.
The internet has also done wonderful things for romance. That goes without saying. What I’m talking about here though is how social media has effected how people relate to each other. The more we know about someone via their internet presence, the less of a chance we seem to build a connection with them in real life. And I wish I could offer some kind of solution to all of this, but I don’t really have one. I will say this though. Use the internet to meet people and start relationships. But also know when to get off of it, know when to tell someone “BYE!” on Gmail and meet them in a park. Don’t get stuck in the 2011 dating K-hole.