Love and Technology

When I was younger, things were so different.

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, yet it seems like a whole other lifetime.

When I was young, you had a house phone.  Connected to the wall by a cord.  If you called a house and someone was on the phone, you got an annoying busy signal.  You called back.  Sometimes every 5 minutes, if you really needed to talk to whoever you were calling.

I remember when my house first got call waiting.  It was an extra $3.50 a month on our phone bill, but my parents thought it was worth it.  It was me and four of my step-siblings in the house.  We were on the phone constantly.

We had rules in our home, especially after we got call waiting.

  • We were only allowed to be on the phone for 30 minutes at a time.
  • If someone called for the parents, we hung with our friends immediately.
  • If someone called for another sibling, you were allowed to take a message, as long as you hadn’t been on the phone for 30 minutes.
  • We were not allowed to receive phone calls after 9:30 pm and absolutely no being on the phone after 10:00 pm.

The rules were made to make everyone happy and we usually lived by them.  It was just the way things were.

Same rules applied for the Nintendo.

When we had a boy that we liked, they had to call the house and risk our parents answering.  They had to be polite.  There was no being sneaky.

If you called someone and they didn’t answer, you could choose to leave a message on their answering machine.  At. Your. Own. Risk.  If you left a message on the machine and a parent heard it or a sibling, they may delete it or never give your friend the message.

If you went on vacation or a friend went on vacation, you didn’t speak to them.  You may write notes or mail a postcard, but you didn’t talk to them.  You got home from your vacation and after you helped your parents unload the car, you were able to make phone calls.  You would try to squeeze your whole vacation in a 30 minute phone call, with your siblings begging you to hang up, so they could make a phone call.

When I was 15, my parents got me my own phone line for my bedroom.  I received $20 a month for allowance and the deal was that I could have my own phone line, at $12 a month and receive $8 a month allowance.  DEAL!

For a teenage girl, who loved boys and loved to be on the phone, it was perfect.  $8 a month was plenty, as long as I had my phone.  Eventually, I even got my own answering machine.  It was a hand-me-down from a friend of the family, when they got a new one.

Fast forward 20+ years…

We now have portable phones that fit in our back pockets.  We carry them with us everywhere.  They are phone books, alarm clocks, mobile banks and devices that allow you to constantly post to people where you are and what you are doing.

You can download dating apps on your phone.  You can swipe left or right, depending on whether or not you think someone is attractive or interesting.  (Let’s be honest, usually attractive)  You can send someone a text message from the top of a roller coaster or while shopping at the grocery store.  You can send pictures to friends to see what they think of your outfit or hair style.

Technology is wonderful.  I love it.  I love being able to text my daughter to check on her or let her know that I love her.  I love being able to check my bank balance, before I buy a new shirt or pair of shoes.

But it has it’s down falls…

In the world of instant gratification, when everyone has their phone on them ALL THE TIME, it hurts when you don’t get a response.  You send a text to a man you like and they don’t respond.  You start to wonder what happened.  Did you say something wrong?  Did you do or not do something?  Were they talking to eighteen other people from some stupid online dating site and they found someone they liked better?

When I was 15, if I didn’t hear from a boy for 2-3 days, I didn’t panic.  I didn’t worry if I had said or did anything wrong.  I figured maybe they were on vacation or got grounded and weren’t allowed to use the phone.  I didn’t think they were doing anything wrong or talking to other girls.  It just was the way life was.

Online dating has ruined dating.  Instant gratification from texting has ruined dating.

Online dating allows you to meet and talk to multiple people all the time.  It allows you to be on the constant search for “Mr. Right”.  The one guy who can sweep you off your feet and make you whole.

You don’t like way someone dresses?  Move on.

You don’t like the same sports teams?  Move on.

You don’t like the way they spell?  Move on.

You don’t like that broccoli is their favorite food?  Move on.

It’s easy.  Too easy.

Ok, so you meet someone online. You chat for an hour or a week online.  Depending on the situation and the “connection”.  You exchange phone numbers.  You start texting from morning until night.  You text about likes and dislikes.  You text about kids and family and exes.  You get comfortable.  The texting may turn dirty.  You may start telling each other what you want to do to each other when you meet.  You then may start sending dirty pictures.  Just a hint of nipple, then maybe the whole boob. Finally, they send you a penis picture and you either send them a picture of your vagina or you move on.  That really depends on what the penis picture looks like.

You realize you have been talking to this person for five days.  You have not talked on the phone.  You have not made plans to meet.  But you know what his penis looks like.

Finally, you suggest that a phone call may be appropriate.  He calls.  He sounds like a muppet.  So you find a reason to hang up the phone and you move on.  Or maybe, just maybe, he’s got an amazing voice.  A Texas accent and gives you butterflies when he says “y’all”.

Now you can’t wait to meet him!

You hang up the phone with him and go back to his dating profile, to see his face.  To make sure you have the right penis face associated with the name.  Maybe you decide to read back through his profile to make sure things are what you remember.

Oh shit!  He’s a Lakers fan?  How did I miss that?

That’s it.  I’m moving on.

Technology has taken the fun out of getting to know someone.  Technology has made me question everything about myself, when it comes to dating.

Did he not like my hair?

Does he think I’m ugly?

Is he is talking to other girls that he likes more?

Does he think I’m fat?

Does he think my boobs are bad?

Technology sucks.

HOWEVER, today, my cell phone was turned off for 43 minutes because apparently AT&T has no patience for me not paying my bill.  That 43 minutes was horrible.  It was the longest 43 minutes of my life.  I cried to the guy at AT&T and then had to borrow money from my kid to pay the bill.

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