April 25, 2011

Has Technolgy Killed Prince Charming

I am a bit of a technophobe. Despite this ever-growing secret online life of mine, I openly admit that technology and electronic gadgets scare me. Well, at least the ones that don’t intentionally vibrate.

For the longest time I never even owned a cell phone. I have a job where they are neither required, nor recommended. It was only when I crashed my car one slippery winter morning ­– and had to stand at the side of the highway for half an hour until someone finally stopped to help – that my husband marched me down to the mall and got me one.

It was only recently that I learned the etiquette of “texting” … thanks to my 65-year-old Mom.

When I started to commute on the train each morning, he bought me this cute little laptop to keep me occupied. I was duly reprimanded when I commented that the touch-pad was too small for an effective game of solitaire.

“Use your imagination …”

Um, where do the batteries go and how will this work if the train is crowded?

Not the imaginative response I guess I was supposed to offer up.

So, it seems more out of circumstance than real need have I acquired these electronic companions. But, I admit some of them have certainly made my day pass with more intrigue and excitement. I have become a blogging addict – if you can’t tell. And I even like my phone, although I probably use about two per cent of its capabilities.

140-Character Romance
Lately one of my younger, single coworkers has begun to ease back into the dating scene after getting over a break-up. At lunch she is constantly texting and messaging the guys she has met and whatever. I think it’s really positive for her, but my husband kind of made an unusual comment about how technology has killed romance.

“What happened to the day when you would have to spend the time planning your courtship? When you tormented yourself with ‘When do I call her’ and the surprise flowers at work, when you had actual conversations with the girl and had to use wit and charm to win her over … all that stuff?”

It does seem that people who are dating today, or “courting” as my surprisingly old-fashioned hubby would say, spend about 30 seconds connecting over the cell phone and mutually agree that is a step in building a romance. A minute spent crafting a 140-character text is not the same as an epic love poem; it’s not a love letter than I can keep in a special little box at the bottom of my Hope chest and pull out when I need reassurance that there is an emotional commitment as well as the financial one so many marriages seem to be about.

One of the guys I work texts his wife ­– which I thought was somewhat reasonable. You know, you don’t see each other all day; what a great modern way to say I’m thinking of you … forever the romantic in me until he commented about how they never talk anymore. Huh?

Another person I know is a speed-dating fanatic.

No Prince Charming?
What happened to the singles bar? What happened to cheesy pick-up lines you could giggle with your girlfriends over on a Monday morning? The effort, the nightlong process … the peacock-like posing and the crushing blows to the ego following rejection?

All good questions, but I wonder if technology has taken away some of the “pursuit” when it comes to romance. Rejection might be easier when you can just hit “delete” but that doesn’t help us build character and grow into the people we are through those experiences, trials and tribulations.

We need love, we need hurt, we need romance and we need effort.

Women long for that touch, the hand on the small of our back when you lean in to say something; the personal connection that says “I know you have a pulse and I would like to make it race.”

I fear for future generations of young girls who will not be able to fantasize about Prince Charming riding up on a white horse to sweep them away. The modern version has him tweeting and geo-tagging, then hacking the Facebook account of the dreaded evil stepmother and changing her status. A Vespa has replaced the horse, because Prince Modern is too busy to care for such a magnificent animal – and a scooter is cheap on gas.

Our youth (like I’m so old) have so many ways to connect with each other now that they have forgotten the art of personal and physical communication. Too many of them seem unable to share a moment face-to-face and just talk.

140 characters should be a number you never tell your next lover, not an alphabetical letter-count.

In this flirting contest I have ongoing with my husband, one of the comments I had made was about how difficult it is for a woman to attract a man’s glance these days because – and I see it every single day on my way to work – almost everyone has their eyes glued to some sort of PDA. It might explain the increase in shoe fetishes, but it’s not helpful in the necessary “battle of the sexes.” No one people-watches anymore – no one notices each other, except through photos on social media sites … and I fear that technology also means no one whispers sweet nothings anymore.

Wow … rant Andee, rant …

I am a technophobe, but I guess I am also a bit too narcissistic to give up on that human attention.

Andee     xoxo

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