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Once upon a time, back in an era when the television only had two channels and platform shoes weren’t just worn by women, courtship was like the stuff of classical Hollywood films. Couples would meet and fall in love. The next day the boy would surprise his new girl by turning up at her house unannounced with a bouquet of flowers and they would take long strolls in the park, talking for hours but which would only seem like minutes. It was the stuff of fairy tales or so my grandma would have me believe. Apparently this type of romance has been left firmly in the past.
The other day my friend met a guy she liked and then spent the next day filling me in on every single detail of their conversation. “So how did you leave it then,” I enquired. “He said he’d Facebook me,” she said. “Oh how romantic,” I giggled. I mean can you imagine what a different movie Casablanca would be if, instead of suavely uttering, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” Rick instead texted Ilsa with this cheeky wink “;-)”. Same sentiment, sort of, yet all the romance, sexiness and possibility has been drained out of it.
So this begs the question, in an era which has become overloaded with technological innovation, with everyone becoming more and more connected, are we now in danger of losing touch? Is this new form of communication shorthand to show you care or a cowardly way to avoid intimacy?
Even though I could quite easily use this article to rant and rave about the ways technology is now shaping our world, what is actually worth exploring is how it is affecting personal relationships. It is hard to exactly define romance, but a definition according to Answers.com is “a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful” (notice the use of technology to find the definition). Texting has now surpassed a surprise visit to see your loved one on the popularity front, with a simple text message declaring your love for your partner as more than acceptable in the romance stakes. However, I’m sure most people would agree that spending an impromptu 60 seconds to send a text message is not considered adventurous, heroic, or beautiful!
Dating is supposed to be personal and intimate whereas texting or social networking are two of the most impersonal forms of communication, where someone can hide behind their phone or computer screen. How are you every going to truly be able to get to know someone if all you’ve got to work with is a one worded text message “S’up?”. Surely if someone really likes another human being then naturally they should want to speak to them or is the world moving so quickly that romance has now moved on and we now don’t have the time for the dating process?
Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, whilst publicising his new film said: “Whether we like it or not, the digital age has produced a new format for modern romance”. It allows the modern day worker to fit romance around their busy lives. But every new innovation comes hand in hand with certain pitfalls. The use of these new forms of communication is making the real interpretation of the message difficult with the result that you don’t always come up with the right answer.
In today’s society, the world revolves around technology. In our constant search for convenience and progress, we have failed to acknowledge that technology is endangering our essential interpersonal skills, which in turn is causing problems for our personal relationships. Romance isn’t dead, but we are neglecting it. Sadly, the technological explosion that we are experiencing is preventing us from lifting our heads from behind our screens long enough to see the natural beauty that still exists in the world.