There is a scene in the romantic comedy classic “When Harry Met Sally” that goes like this: A happily-coupled man and woman hang up their telephones after listening to the dating drama of two single friends and the woman turns to the man and says: “Tell me I’ll never have to be out there again.” That was in 1989, before texting, sexting, online chatting, Facebook relationship status updating, Match.com, FarmersOnly.com and that monster of random, embarrassing information collection called Google.
I suspect I would not do well dating in the digital age (with so much information floating around online about potential suitors, I think I would go a bit crazy) and so there are times when I find myself repeating that favorite old movie quote to my husband.
I was always a fan of the mix tape. Is that a thing anymore? And what about the anxious art of writing down and rehearsing those perfectly casual-sounding answering machine messages to leave at times when you know your person-of-interest is not home? Are blind dates ever blind anymore, with Google so eager to pull up every wrong-headed op-ed piece the guy wrote for his college paper or every bleary-eyed mug shot he ever stood for? Alright, I admit it might be helpful to catch that last one before heading out to dinner.
Enough of my Andy Rooney attitude and nostalgia over technologies like the cassette tape that didn’t exist until the 1970s. I was curious what World readers had to say about technology’s role in starting and maintaining relationships, so last week, we asked our World Facebook friends and Twitter followers to share their stories of dating in the digital age.
I was expecting tales of confused text messages, hilariously misinterpreted emoticons and an overall sense that something has been lost amid the sea of new technologies promising basic human connection — that feeling of being lonely in a room full of people. What folks shared were mostly sweet stories about finding the loves of their lives on social media and dating websites.
Alicia Schroeder commented on Facebook: “My husband and I actually met online on Twitter by accident. I was living in Nebraska at the time and a large part of the early days of our relationship was sending each other online messages and songs. I’ve heard a lot of people say long distance or online relationships never work out but this June will make three years we’ve been married.”
Facebook friend Valorie Partee-Ayres wrote: “My husband and I met via Facebook five years ago. We communicated a lot by texting, emails and Facebook. We are stronger than a lot of couples who have met the traditional way. It’s not for everyone. It’s just how it happened for us. And for Alicia.”
Dan Ottosen commented: “I lived in Wenatchee, she lived in Calgary when we met on match.com. ‘Not very practical’ were my exact words. We are approaching our 8th anniversary. Practical? Who cares?”
Like most things about our evolving technological world, it seems there’s a trade-off: we may have lost some of the mystery of the getting-to-know-you process, but new technology has enabled countless couples to find each other in ways that would have been impossible back in the days when I was leaving those oh-so-casual telephone messages.
Do you have a story about dating in the digital age? We’d love to hear it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or post to The World’s Facebook, Twitter or other social media pages.