We are all familiar with the popular bible quote from First Corinthians most often heard at weddings: “love is patient, love is kind…”. In a generation where faces are glued to iPhone screens and heavy sighs echo throughout the crosstown bus at each stop, I often wonder at what point the patience left the equation. Modern technology allows us to have instant access to just about everything: current stock prices, weather in San Diego, even answers to Wednesday Trivia nights in the East Village, given the MC doesn’t mandate phones to be turned off. It’s no wonder that the twentysomethings who have grown up in a world with immediate answers to almost everything do not enjoy the inevitable but enticing mystery of dating. But what our generation seems to forget is that love, like planning a wedding or watching Ben from The Bachelor make a decision on a chick, doesn’t happen overnight. And much to our 4G network’s dismay, it doesn’t happen over a few text messages either.
Being wedding band-less myself, I will be the first to admit that I am no exception to the modern dater. After witnessing my blazing thumbs text some new guy in my life a few years ago, Mom reminded me that she never called Dad for the first eight months of their relationship. I was a chronic New York City dater with a new touch screen blackberry, who didn’t want to hear it. Boys don’t call anymore, they text. And let’s be honest Mom, you had to call Dad’s house in order to get in touch with him and ask his parents if he was available to talk.
But waiting all week to be picked up at my house in a white Cadillac with Credence Clearwater blasting doesn’t seem like such an awful start to a date, compared to the modern set up. In today’s world, a series of 30 texts over the course of the week lead to the final date location, which usually begins with a cab fare. Add in a few female roommates with iPhones surgically attached to their hand, and that text message number is brought up to 130. And when the boy doesn’t reach out within two days, you’ve scored yourself a cranky roommate sitting in front of an episode of The Bachelor and avoiding the 56 wedding announcements tacked on the fridge.
Call me old school, but it all seems so rushed and overwhelming. Before cell phones emerged, people were forced to wait days for the prospect to follow up. Mom mentioned some line that she used to have to wait on in order to call her boyfriend Sunday nights in college. But I can bet these people weren’t standing by the family phone waiting. There seems to exist a direct correlation between impatience and technology: the faster the network, the smaller window of time the prospect from Saturday night has to text you back. Our fast-paced society often forgets that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and that technology cannot speed the development of many things; one of them being love.
As much as I depend on my phone, I sometimes think Mom’s generation nailed it when it comes to patience and enjoying the whole dating process. I’m not saying we need to resort back to pay phones and a life without Garmin in the car. But taking a step back from the hustle of it all – enjoying the time between calls more because we’re not constantly refreshing our inboxes – will help us appreciate the time that we do spend with the ones we are getting to know. Because one day I’m going to wake up next to the right one, a room away from my kids, and be satisfied. But also secretly miss the great stories that came from finding the horizontal man on my left.
Being over 50 myself, I relate to your Mom’s advice. Women have come so far and yet dating today seems to put us back. Looking forward to your next post
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