Technology is inevitably playing a huge role in your love life right now. Maybe you spend your days winking at potential spouses on Match.com. Or perhaps you've been sharing naughty thoughts via BlackBerry Messenger, ala George Clooney in Up in the Air. You're most certainly texting with anyone and everyone in your romantic sphere.
It's impossible to have any sort of love life these days without engaging in at least a bit of techno-romance - i.e., the rampant use of technologies to cultivate and explore romantic, sexual and flirtatious interactions.
But what if we could use technology not only to meet and communicate with our paramours, but also to navigate our way through entire relationships? Let's face it, most of us are 'very busy people' and aren't sure if we truly have enough free time to invest in the nuances of a full-blown relationship. So what if we could simply...outsource it?
Not the parts of a relationship that are actually fun, of course - spending time together, having sex, vegging out on the couch in sweats. But all the time-consuming stuff around that. Figuring out how to meet someone new, dealing with your friends' opinions, being expected to always know the right things to say. Breaking up. If you're like me, you can think of a million other things that you'd rather be doing (Real Housewives of New Jersey, anyone?).
Luckily, some romance-savvy web developers and app makers have recognized this conundrum and are creating new tools to address it everyday. Here are seven ways to technologically outsource your relationship, beginning to end:
Before you can embark on your tech-fueled romantic adventure, you need to actually meet someone. Preferably someone single and looking for love. But who has the time to surf online dating sites all day or hit up the crapshoot bar scene all night? We live in a 'Multitask or Bust' culture. Thankfully, now we've got SubMate.com to make our morning commutes, and our search for love, a little more productive.
SubMate e-introduces you to potential mates by having you create a profile where you input your typical subway commute and then matching you up with other users who make the same commute around the same time of day (I have 85 "mates" on my daily "trip!"). There's no longer any need to wonder about someone's romantic status, or struggle to come up with something clever to say to the hottie reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo across the platform. Just memorize your matches and, when you see them, strike!
So you finally spot the commuter of your dreams and start a conversation right as you're both exiting the subway station. You get above ground and realize - quick! You'd better exchange non-SubMate contact info before you head off in different directions and possibly never bump into each other again! Oh gosh, it's so hard to make your cell number heard above the loud hum of city traffic!
Thank god for the Bump app. Instead of the awkward "did you say nine? or fine? or sign?!" exchange, you can simply bump your smartphones together and transfer all your contact info, photo included, to the other person's phone. Less than ten seconds later, you can be sure that the stored numbers and email addresses are correct. The whole process is so fast that you might even make it to work on time.
You've followed up on the subway conversation and made plans for the weekend. This is usually the part where you Google your date's name, right? Just hoping to find some background info (and any police reports) before you see them again? But Google-stalking can be tough when your prospect has a too-common name or a lack of Google-able achievements. Is he the John Smith who saved a child from a burning building? Or the one with 900 comments on a Dungeons & Dragons blog? Hm.
Instead of wasting time asking around about your new friend, you may want to check out WomanSavers.com. The site allows you to "Rate-A-Guy" who you may have dated and also search the profiles of guys who have been rated by other women. (For the record, this website creeps me out, woman-saving intentions aside. According to the testimonials, every other guy is either a meth addict or a pedophile. But hey - to each his or her own!) Let the outsourcing continue.
It's a few weeks into the relationship, and you're head over heels but realize that you need to get some second opinions from your friends. You can't be expected to objectively judge your new potential soulmate during the haze of the honeymoon period! But you're skeptical about introducing your latest love interest to your friends - they always claim to love your new hookup, just to turn around and insist that you were way cuter once the relationship ends.
Well, why ask your friends for approval when you can get the whole internet to weigh in instead? Post a picture of you and your romantic partner on CanDoBetter.com and let the site's visitors vote on whether "He Can Do Better" or "She Can Do Better" (or maybe they'll think you're a "Perfect Match," but that's pretty rare). If the masses agree that you're shortchanging yourself, then voila! The site also provides a social dating network where you can find someone who better suits your photogenicness.
But let's go ahead and assume that you both pass the CanDoBetter test and progress into knees-deep relationship territory...
Now you're in the relationship, and every day is an unpredictable journey - to put it nicely. Not only do you need to deal with your own mood swings and bad days, but now you're supposed to cope with someone else's as well.
The solution (for guys anyway)? Code Red, an app that tracks your woman's monthly menstrual cycle and offers daily suggestions on how to treat her accordingly. A "PMS Alert!" lets you know when she may start acting illogically mean or sad, while her hormone-heavy ovulation cycles are noted with careful advice to "Send a random I Love You text. Don't abbreviate with a "U."" Look at it this way: you can either cross your fingers and take a guess about your lover's day-to-day mood, or you can consult your iPhone and just do what it tells you.
It's unfortunate that Code Red only helps guys out, but I imagine that a similar app cluing women into their men's daily needs would basically revolve around "Have sex with him" and "Get him food." Let's take that app development money and invest it elsewhere.
You've had a good run, but the time has come to end your relationship. Hoping to outsource that awkward conversation to someone else? Done! At iDUMP4U.com, you can pay some Iowan named Bradley $10 to dump - and berate - your significant other. He'll even post a recording of the exchange on YouTube, so that you can make sure there weren't too many hurt feelings on the other end. Cowardly, yes. But complicated and drawn-out, nope.
So there you go! An entire relationship outsourced. Now it's time to move on...maybe you should switch up your commute?
Follow Jessica Massa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessmassa