By Annie Tran
As a youth stuck in American suburbia, I often find my eyes glued to a digital screen for the majority of the day: cell phones, iPods, televisions, computers, you name it. Technology has revolutionized and integrated itself into almost every aspect of modern human life. Along with this new integration, a whole shebang of new social norms has come into existence, and when it comes to dating customs, it seems as if the whole rule book has been morphed into some kind of unwritten code that everyone obeys. “Don’t text her back right away, it’s desperate.” “Winky face means he’s flirting with me, right?” The list can go on and on.
The billions of intimate exchanges sent by nimble fingers and blinking screens, catapulting from satellites in space to tiny servers at home, got me thinking—are we really in tune with each other?
By no means am I old-fashioned, but I don’t mind seeing a bit of old-school romance revived in this modern era. A love story used to start out with boy meets girl, boy calls girl, boy and girl go on date. Instead of aww-ing and sighing over romantic personal encounters, I find myself scoffing at the ridiculous new process of boy meets girl, boy texts girl, boy and girl IM constantly, boy and girl announce relationship on Facebook.
What happened to the build up of anxiety and anticipation? These days, it seems that boys and girls are opting for the occasional bland Skype session or a secession of flirty texts that seem to go in endless circles rather than say… an actual date?
Not only this, but there seems to be some kind of misconception among our generation that love can be found on the interwebs. I suppose through the evolved connections of choking wires, satellite beams and colorful pixels, you can portray confidence, suaveness or wittiness in any way you like, versus in real life where sometimes one can barely muster a word without blushing beet red in deep embarrassment when talking to a potential significant other.
The digital age has produced a new courting process where boys and girls alike can hide behind a cloak of digital text with a combination of abbreviated words that one can barely understand.
Grammar is sexy. Using actual spelled-out words is attractive. A generation obsessed with speed has somehow managed to degenerate the English language into a pile of incoherent abbreviations, all in the name of saving the trouble of a few more keystrokes. I am no grammar Nazi, but does one really need to shorten the ultimate vow of love to ILY?
I don’t believe that the Y-Generation has lost romance, but we are certainly neglecting it.
Whatever happened to perfume-scented letters sent through snail mail, or asking girls for a date in person rather than through a screen name?
I suppose in a certain sense, we can be grateful to the digital age for helping these antiquated methods for love gain new importance, but I believe many of us fail to see how much more personal a hand-written letter can be. Yeah, his handwriting may not be legible sometimes and may require a little bit of deciphering. But that uncalculated risk says more to me than any perfectly written email ever could.