Let's call a spade a spade here; I date. A lot. Surprise! In the last few years, the face of dating has changed significantly due to changing technology. In the age of online dating, Facebook, Twitter and texting, it's no wonder that dating has turned more cyberspace than courier pigeon, but is it for the better?
On a recent date with a certain handsome gentleman, upon parting at the El stop after our first date, I received a text that read, "I had a great time. Let's do it again sooner, rather than later." My heart skipped a few beats and I giddily replied, "How about Saturday?" He replied that he couldn't wait, and before I went to bed, I re-read the exchange and fell asleep with a giant smile on my face.
It's always the same familiar scenario; boy meets girl, girl thinks boy is charming and handsome, boy sweeps girl off of her feet, and the minute the girl thinks he couldn't get any more perfect, the man can't seem to pick up the phone to chat. What is that all about? Lately, it seems that I meet men who, more often than not, rely solely on communicating through text message. As a big texter myself, I get it, but I rely on texting mostly for playful, flirtatious banter and quick hellos, not long conversations about my day, and especially not conversations that might involve emotionally charged content. My dating life seems to be stuck somewhere between cyberspace (Match.com), and, well, cyberspace (texting).
When I say that I understand the texting craze, I really do. My phone is sometimes like another appendage and rarely leaves my side, but those texts being sent are usually about securing quick plans with friends or what Lindsay Lohan's latest troubles are (now you understand why my phone is always going off! Poor LiLo, she'll never get it together). Texting seems to fill an ever-narrowing gap in modern communication tools, combining the immediacy of a phone call, with the convenience of an answering machine message, and the premeditation of e-mail. And if they happen to be from a crush and pop up late at night, they have the giddy re-readability of a note left on a pillow (like the situation above). However, I believe the growing preference for texting has a lot to do with its impersonal nature. It's much easier to launch a new relationship by exchanging texts than it is to talk. It's also very easy to say and do things over a text message, than it is to do face to face or even to say over the phone.
With the adorable man in the above scenario, after about a month or so of casually dating, we ended up having heated (albeit, usually alcohol-enhanced) conversations about the state of our "relationship" via text, but every time I would pick up the phone to call and talk through the issues the next day, he would text back saying that he doesn't usually like to talk on the phone, and would then continue to hash out the details of our argument over a series of 160 character text messages and abbreviated words and sentences lacking punctuation.
Here's a clue, men: women prefer a man to call, rather than text. Crazy idea, I know, but it's true. We enjoy the sense of emotion conveyed through verbal communication, and texts are very emotionless. Calling a woman tells her that you think she's important, you care how her day was, and you simply want to hear her voice. While texting is an efficient and easy way to communicate, calling requires more commitment, focus and thought. Furthermore, if you're not picking up the phone after at least a month of dating, than there might be other issues at play there, don't you think? It got me thinking that maybe emotionless texting helps men keep things more casual in dating? This way, I'm still at arms length, and he doesn't feel like we are getting serious and "dating," but instead, we are just "hooking up" or "talking," because lets face it, you always pick up the phone for a girlfriend, right?
With all of this new technology and social networking, do you think that romance is being ruined? What happened to the days of sending a hand written letter or card? Or simply just picking up the phone? Was I born in the wrong era? Have men have lost their sense of romance, or maybe just their balls? Whatever the case, it's a trend that is driving me nutty. So I ask you, in an era of dating and techno relating (as my sister would say), how do I change that behavior, because as I type this, I can see the red message indicator light on my phone out of the corner of my eye, blinking at me ever so menacingly...