by Maddy Shaughnessy
While social networking and instant communication through texting helps define our generation’s eagerness to stay connected, it is also annihilating true intimacy and the act of courtship. As my mom tells me, “We didn’t have cell phones, boys who were interested in us had to put in more effort and call our home phone, talk to our parents and then ask us to hang out.” Now people are given the opportunity to hide behind the shields of iPhones and laptops. They can avoid in person conversations due to the fear and anxiety of judgment and rejection.
However, this reliance over technological devices to start off a relationship becomes the foundation, the basis for the entire relationship. Automatically the relationship starts on this surface level, filled with casual and petty dialogues of “Hey, whatsup?” and “oh ntm, you?” Then when one tries to make something meaningful out of this exchange, the relationship falls through the cracks because how can you make something profound when there was never any depth to begin with?
Our hookup culture has evolved into being a cutthroat shark pool filled with disappointment and disrespect. We have our social media and advanced technology to thank for that. Now, one is “courted” at parties by “freaking” on the dance floor, quick hook up sesh, then only sometimes an exchange of numbers. Following this sequence of actions comes the texting and Facebook stalking. The only “voice” heard, is that of emojis and terminology. Instead of going on a date where the strangers can get to know one another, they develop their relationship through mindless conversations.
Pitzer first year, Eli Glancy, states, “Our constant use of technology allows men to simply ‘hit woman up.’ Rarely do you see men taking the time to actually go up to the girls they are interested in and make conversation. Things are more superficial these days.” What Glancy speaks of is this disrespect that goes along with the hookup culture of today. Women are usually viewed as a one-time “hit-it-and-quit-it,” a fun one-night experience. They are not treated like an individual lady but just “some girl.”
According to Pitzer first year, Miranda Roehrick, romance has negatively changed in the face of technology. “For me, the hookup culture, in its reflection of the casual and disconnected nature of social media, in which I believe it has its roots, has led to a generation of people who lack the basic common courtesies of former generations when it comes to romance. Romantic and/or sexual relationships have been cheapened by technology: communication becomes planned; edited by screens, and much of the delightful awkwardness of face-to-face contact with a new partner is lost in this game of digital flirtation. I wish we still lived in an era where dinner dates were the normal way to get to know someone, rather than drunken texts that lead to drunken sex. The system is backwards now, and it’s hindering love and intimacy.”
Another aspect to look at is how established relationships can be negatively affected by the use of technological communication. If you are constantly engaging in little, shallow conversations with your significant other, you are ruining the real connection you both have. It can make the actual face-to-face conversations awkward because you are so used to having this “texting identity.” Leave the conversations to be in person because that’s when you can go in depth about a certain experience or story rather than just giving the overall gist of something in a text message. With texting, it is less organic.
According to Scripps first year, Eliza Lewis, “Many relationships are based on purely technological resources like texting and Facebook-ing and those relationships just don’t become relationships of depth. I think this is because over technology people can easily come up with responses that are perfect because they have time to debate over a response. But in real person the responses are a lot more spontaneous and genuine because you aren’t spending time pretending to say something you wouldn’t say in a person-to-person conversation. So I feel that technology has kind of diminished the sincerity of the game.”
It is very important to always have a voice in your relationship, and not a silent one depicted in the blue bubble that pops up on your iPhone, but your true vocal voice. These technological devices also help kindle this “waiting game” of anticipating the text from someone and then waiting another long period of time to write back in order to play along and look hard to get. This game only makes us mad, makes us go against our desires to respond back. The game is “who can look the least involved and least likely to care?” This is meant to be our romance? This is meant to be the playing field for love? Even in trying to make everything meaningless we still search for meaning. Sounds pretty fucked up to me.