The Internet is Really Really Great… For Porn

Ok this isn’t gonna be about internet porn, thats just a fun song. Check it.

(This show includes puppet sex. Its hilarious. Ave Q, off Bway, but tickets here.)

So puppets are fun, but that wasn’t totally just for funsies. I wanna talk about how this fast paced digital age is making love harder. And not just harder, but maybe even impossible. First, a love story.

Nice. Kicks.

(Short shorts alert.) That is my favorite photo of my parents, all time, taken on their first date. Sort of. See, they met in high school sort of, then became friends in college. (Daddy was an athlete and Mommy was taking his ankle. Precious.) Then Mom moved out to Arizona for a bit, during which time they wrote letters. As in pens, paper, and the USPS. When she came back it was clear they were in love, they got engaged, and a wedding ensued (if i could get my hands on the wedding photos for you I would. Ken had a perm and Patricia can’t stop crying. Classic.) They have been married for 28 years. I am lucky to be able to bear witness to their functioning, loving relationship.

I maintain that how their love unfolded would be impossible today. First of all, they got to know each other over many years, and they did so by spending time together face to face. No texting, no facebook, nothing even close to instantaneous. On that note, did you notice that whole letter writing period. That is an extended absence, a period of longing. They weren’t texting every day, or even on the phone, and they still made a concerted effort to write each other. There is something about the way time works. Now, I have relationships whose entire story arc is only hours long. There is this whole new communication that we all type and read, which is kind of weird and sometimes confusing. Also, we get to know people now in digital space, usually before we get to know them in real space. This, to me, is the hardest obstacle. I mean, its not like I’m not who I seem to be on facebook, but that sure as shit is the prettiest funniest most care-free version of me. And once you think you know someone, if it turns out thats not the truth or whole truth, its really hard to accept that they aren’t who you met on screen (personal experience.)

I know constant communication seems great, but isn’t there something to be said for learning someone slowly? I know couples who fight for days, simply because when they leave mutual real space they fight via text message. So the fight never really ends and no one has time to cool off, and it just spirals into jibberish. Not cute. And honestly, if you just met a person, what the fuck is there to say in a text other than “hey i wanna hang w/ u soon.” (or something less lame. Obviously I’m bad at dating. And texting.) I maintain that love is not just about knowing someone’s thoughts and feelings, but it’s about their physicality. You have to love how they laugh at your jokes, love how they stand when they are cooking or washing dishes. You have to learn the way they like to spoon and kiss, the way they look when they are concentrating, the way they sit when they think you aren’t looking. That stuff is not digital space stuff, and it won’t happen in the time it takes to text. I think if we don’t slow down, we are gonna lose love and have to figure something else out. I know it’s survived the entire course of human history, but this age is unlike any other. ‘All you need is love’ may be true, but just because it’s the thing, doesn’t mean it isn’t breakable or loseable or ruinable. Sometimes, I feel like I’m forgetting, like we are all forgetting, how to fall in love.

“No, this trick won’t work…How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

– Albert Einstein

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “The Internet is Really Really Great… For Porn

  1. Hm, I’m inclined to agree with you about the needing time to fall in love, thing. It’s a constant struggle to maintain a balance when you’re first starting out, of spending enough face-time together and then giving each other room to breathe. Mind if I share my story for a minute? My relationship with my bf obviously hasn’t been as long as your parents, and I don’t know what will happen, but the example you gave about letter writing really struck me.

    My boyfriend and I were friends for 3 years before we started dating – like, never ever even indicated anything more, totally platonic. And here’s the tech background for both of us: He’s a technophobe, but I’m not. I like my computer very much. However, this means that our friendship consisted of getting lunch/dinner every month because he didn’t have Facebook. We did email occasionally though.

    Then I went and lived in Japan (for a year), and when I was there he told me that he was developing feelings for me (and I felt the same). I knew I was coming back to the U.S., so in the months leading up to my return, we wrote emails to each other. Not exactly as romantic as pen and paper, and certainly digital, but we’d write each other one large email a day. We basically said, “Ok, we’ve been friends for a long time, what don’t I know about you?” and went from there. Because of the time difference, the emails were all we had time for. We did try to Skype once a week, and I actually really appreciated that b/c I wanted to see him. (It was my first time using Skype, I was REALLY amazed.)

    We didn’t text, obviously, b/c our cell phones didn’t match up. I don’t know if texting is detrimental to relationships now, but it was a point in your post, so I wanted to address it.

    I think the point is – that time we had, to write, to get to know each other, really helped when I came back to the U.S. and we started our dating relationship. It helped to ground us and deal with any problems we had starting out a “new” relationship. Sometimes I wonder what it would’ve been like if I had been in the same country/time zone when we decided to move beyond friends… our “honeymoon period” we spent apart, essentially, and maybe that sucks b/c we didn’t have the “LET’S HANG OUT TOGETHER ALL THE TIME!!” experience. However, I would never ever trade the experience of writing 100+ letters (emails) to each other, because I really focused on getting to know who he is as a person, and that’s who I fell in love with.

    Sorry this was long and a little sappy. 🙂 But your post made me think about all that, and how having time REALLY helped.

    1. I just am so into face to face interaction. And the physicality of love. And ov those things take time. And yea texting should only be functional, never conversational, as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, I’m glad this resonated with your experience.

  2. Once again, you spit more Truths than Sojourner.

    I don’t know what else to say other than to echo the fact that I too have often been in relationships that seemingly only last hours. My overeager tendencies don’t help this case, either. Growing up, it was a little more sincere; if I went out of my way to go see somebody or talk to someone, it was noticed, because they weren’t oversaturated with everything all of the time. But now, if I reach out to somebody, I’m just another digital presence. As a matter of fact, it’s seen as annoying a lot of the time, because they can now already access any amount of attention they want at any time. So those of us that actively try to give it are seen as irritating.

    It sucks, honestly, and that’s why I constantly make an effort to maintain the whole “physical interaction” thing, surprising people with my actual body in their presence is still my favorite thing.

    That being said, I don’t know if you can completely rule out the possibility of a relationship like that developing. Exactly like that? No, but I think that there are plenty of relationships that go at that pace without even realizing it. There are modern day versions of letters. Poster above makes a good point with e-mail; you tend to sit back and re-read what you wrote in an e-mail more than in a text message or facebook post, that kind of stuff is COMPLETELY instantaneous.

    As the world changes all we can hope to do is to adapt and change with it, and not just give up on romance because a bunch of 1’s and 0’s are moving really fast in front of us.

    I, for one, am always down for a good letter.

    1. I think part of the problem is that technology moves so fast, we all embrace it without understanding the consequences. I’m just saying that maybe love can’t sustain the pressure of this kind of momentum, and we’ll have to figure out something else. Maybe we can figure out something better. Maybe not. But we gotta start paying attention or we are just gonna lose it without a back up plan.

      Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you seem very into digital interactions. As we all are. Think seriously about what thats accomplished, cause I can only say that its gotten me into a complicated and ultimately heart scrambling situation. Situations*

What do YOU think?!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s