So my conversation went something like this…
Excited Student (showing me his smartphone screen): “So what do you think of my girlfriend?”
Me: Wow! Very Nice! Where did you meet her?”
Excited Student: “Through Instagram.”
Me: “Through Instagram? You mean the app, right?”
Excited Student: “Yeah! She liked and commented on my photo’s and then we exchanged a few DM‘s“
Me: “Oh right! So how was the first date?”
Excited Student: “We haven’t been on one, I haven’t actually met her yet. “
Me: “You haven’t? But you’re in a relationship, right?”
Excited Student: “Yeah of course, she’s my girlfriend!”
And for the remainder of the conversation I was looking a little confused (but fascinated with a concept I never thought could become a mainstream reality) as this student was telling me how he was in a relationship with a women he had yet to physically meet and this was further confirmed by his Facebook status.
One of the greatest throw away lines in cinema from one of its worst films happens in Die Hard 4.0 (alternatively known as Live Free, Die Hard) where the villainous character Thomas Gabriel says to John McClane…
“John, you’re a Timex watch in a digital age.”
To be fair I see myself as a Casio digital watch because I embrace digital culture, but it takes a while to catch up with the latest technological, social advancements. That is not necessarily a bad thing but sometimes my (pre internet) frame of reference cannot always be applied to contemporary culture.
I don’t think attending a single sex male high school during my adolescence was good for me socially, it took a while for me to feel totally comfortable interacting with women, especially women I felt attracted to. It would take a while to build up the courage to reveal my romantic intentions, so in order to offset potential rejection, I made an effort to move into a treacherous place called the “friend zone” which would give me an opportunity to absorb every nuance of behaviour and attempt to gather evidence before I would make the play…
It was something I worked hard on and in the process I was developing the art of listening whilst paying attention to the smallest detail. These founding principles seemed to work pretty well and although on the outside I would give the illusion of cool confidence with a warm smile; on the inside my brain cells were frantically scrambling around trying to piece together any clue that could offer insight, not to mention my heart pounded faster than Barry Allen could run within the speed force.
Are the pupils in her eyes slightly dilated? Was she comfortable being tactile? Did she smell good? Is she comfortable giving me eye contact? Was I able to get her to laugh? Was she comfortable when I leaned into her personal space? Did she want to see me again?
A lot of my romantic interactions were grounded in a hazardous real world experience, and I would rely on every sense naturally available to me to interpret signs that would give me subtle permissions to venture out of the “friend zone” (a zone that you don’t want to get stuck in for too long!) and propel myself into relationship territory. Which didn’t always work, but admittedly achieved more success than failure…
None of the skills I acquired over time would necessarily be relevant in an age where digital interaction is the mainstream melody of contemporary times…and I don’t knock it! If I could time travel into the past and drag my anxious 15 year old self into 2017 and show him that you can express an interest to the person of your dreams through the tap of an app (with accompanied emoji’s) it would have cut down half the work I had put into attracting the attractive…
Perhaps I’m just a little jealous? I would have saved quite a bit of money on over priced meals in over crowded restaurants, if I was able to claim to be in a relationship before I went on the date. It makes sense that technology in all its forms is utilised and absorbed to aid and assist romantic connections, can you imagine how revolutionary it was when the telephone was invented!? But no matter how fast or accessible technology becomes (I assume?) people will eventually need to meet up with the person they are going to enter into a relationship with and maybe even share the same physical space, so just maybe it’s a good idea to bank a few real world experiences…just in case?
Until next time.