By Julia Stiles
“Who could refrain, that had a heart to love? And in that heart, courage to… text message?”
I met a young couple recently, in the throes of their newly formed love affair. The kind where they can’t keep their hands of each other, tipsy in their own bubble of pheromones. I asked how they met, because I love those stories. The wicked part of me is rapt watching a couple squirm, or swoon, if the stories are different. Two people can reveal so much in the retelling of their early memories. When “boy meets girl” doesn’t match “girl meets boy,” how they treat each other in front of an audience is the key. I also relish the stuff of old movies — unexpected love-at-first-sight, spontaneous eye contact on the subway, and stolen kisses in a rainstorm. If you scripted it, you’d win a Razzie.
This particular couple met on Facebook, sort of. A friend of the Dude wanted to set him up, but before this Dude could commit to a blind date, he had to see what the Chick looked like. And so, Facebook to the rescue! It all worked out in the end, and the Chick even giggled proudly at the origins of her spring romance.
It’s customary now for people to exchange social media accounts instead of phone numbers, even if there is romantic interest. It’s less risky, too. Becoming a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower doesn’t reveal too much about anyone’s intentions. Courtship in the virtual world allows for a somewhat imaginary exchange, full of connection and surprise, but always at a distance. The more communication via text message outnumbers actual physical encounters, the more conceptual the interaction becomes. We are essentially talking to little blue and green cartoon bubbles on a screen, and our memory of the person at the other end.
Read More Julia Stiles: Love in the Time of Technology.