My Sunday afternoons are usually very chill. I often listen to CBC Radio while either baking cookies or watering my plants. Today they had a show on online dating and the whole thing was depressing beyond belief. It was really about how dating has changed with the advent of technology and the new “rules”, the new social faux-pas of the wireless world, the new “normal”.
I know statistically, there are now more marriages coming out of internet relationships but I wish for every success story they post, they would also show up the statistics of how many connections DON’T work out. That would be more honest and would give people a better idea before they shell out cash for membership fees. Now, I’ve done internet dating and my experience has been that most people unfortunately lie about themselves. I don’t mean the small lies like adding 2 inches to your height, but I mean big lies where they post a photo of themselves from 10 years ago and 100 pounds lighter. Or sexually unfulfilled married men looking for a side-dish of fun with no strings-attached. I think that’s why there are now so many online companies which offer background checks and the sort. There are even online dating sites which “out” bad online daters. (I say if you’re going to put yourself out there, you need to stay safe. Just look at that poor woman who met some guy through match.com and narrowly escaped with her life!)
Apparently calling someone to ask them if they want to join you for an afternoon tea is not cool anymore. Social decorum now dictates that you have to text them first or use some form of social media and ask that way first. Voice-to-voice contact is considered too “invasive” and not socially acceptable anymore. Herein lies the paradox that I wish someone would explain to me.
We’re the most connected species ever. Email, wi-fi, social networks. I mean, we’re literally one step down from mental telepathy in terms of staying connected to each other yet poll after poll shows that loneliness and the sense of alienation and isolation are on the rise. It’s not a secret that I dislike the effects rampant capitalism is having on us as individuals and as a society. The increasing sense of isolation many people feel, the atomization of individuals reducing them to single units so that they feel powerless and disconnected from their workplaces and from their communities. I’m almost positive the rates of depression and mental illness are correlated to this. I hate that.
I remember watching “Happy Days” as a kid and seeing the hang-out that everyone used to go to, “Big Al’s”. You’d just show up and a some friend or other was bound to be there, you’d sit yourself down, gossip and then hatch some crazy plan.
Now I walk into a café and they are all virtually silent. Everyone is too busy looking at their laptops. Myself included.
I think the longing to belong is one of the deepest, most vital needs we have as humans. We’re social creatures after all. It could be the longing to belong to one person, one group, one family.
My future husband Renaissance man Henry Rollins said something which sums it up the best,”Why is it we can fuck but can’t look each other in the eye?”
I’m not a Luddite, I’m all for technology as long as we control it instead of it controlling us. I do think however, technology and all these connective gizmos become one more excuse to hide ourselves from each other. Why?
From their “About” page:
“The world doesn’t need another website. Not another network. Not another app.
What she needs is really basic.
Simple. Bare-boned.& often forgotten in the race to get followers. & “Likes.”
Love. Pure, old-fashioned, never goes out of style Love.
Ridiculous, oozing, cannot pack this thang into 140-characters kind of love.
And so we can come in righttttttt HERE.
We’re going to tell you that we write and mail love letters, handwritten love letters, to strangers in need all over the world. We’re going to invite you to request a love letter for someone in your life who needs one. And we’re going to insist that you step out of your own shoes of Comfort & join us. You are going to think we are a bit crazy. A tad loopy. But you’ve been looking for a website that leaks love all this time… so we aren’t worried you’ll leave us.
It’s not about stamps.
Not about stationery.
It’s. about. your. neighbor.
The cracked parts of your own story & how you can use them to lift someone else. It’s about the stranger enveloped in sadness. The chance to pull off Twitter & step away from your networks to turn your best love letter into a lamp… a lantern… to light the path of someone who needs to read it tonight.”
I’ve signed up for it 🙂