Darren Ho asks, “Have we, the children of the communication era, forgotten how to communicate?”
A few weeks ago, I brought my friend A to an event, where I introduced her to B, another friend.
A and B interacted for a while before I decided to play fairy godfather and whisk her away in a pumpkin-coloured cab. Alas, she did not leave her shoe behind, and Prince Charming decided to ask me for her number to ask her out.
I didn’t mind at all. It’s not the first time I did this, and I thought B was a pretty good guy to date. Decent dresser, not too bad looking, pretty clever, made a decent income. A was a great gal, and fun-loving. I thought they would hit it off pretty well, and at least they would have a common topic to start the evening off : me. B was a pretty smooth operator, and after an apparently good first date, they agreed to contact each other soon for a second date.
Well, the next day, they decided to keep in touch. Via text nessages, courtesy of our local telcom providers. Oh, and MSN Messenger, courtesy of Microsoft.
“Good morning : ) Hope you had a good rest.”
“I had a really good time last night.”
“How have you been?”
“Would you like to meet up for a movie tomorrow?”
“I’m not looking for anything serious right now.”
????? All these over typed words? It’s about as enchanting and romantic as having the computer read it it out in a monotone. On more or less the same as Darth Vader typing into his blackberry “Luke, I am your father” and being replied with a “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!” or someone proposing by texting you with “Hey sweetie, the Sngkg showrm lks grt. Let’s gt an apartmt there. I’ll book the ROM tmrw.” 88 characters.
Curious about this style of dating which I’ve not tried before, I pressured A to ask B why he didn’t simply call her to chat and save her fingers the exercise. His reply was that he didn’t like to talk on the phone unless it was necessary.
With so many modern technologies to keep in touch, it seems like men and women both have forgotten to use the simplest tool that they have: their voices. This is going to sound like a ripoff from Carrie Bradshaw, but I have to say it.
Have we, the children of the communication era, forgotten how to communicate?
In fact, I would say that it was with the advent of the mobile phone and the Internet that has led to this communication crisis. Why crisis? Because the old school romantic in me firmly believes that if you respect a person and want to get their opinion on a date, like what time to meet or where to dine, you should at least pick up the phone to ask. Vocally. What’s so difficult about picking up the phone to say hi?
Shockingly, after some self-examination, I realised that I did it myself. Despite the fact that it is less tedious to just dial eight numbers and talk, we prefer to carry on a conversation over the written word. Sort of going back to the era of silent movies. Simply because it is less personal.
We use the written word to make a date when we don’t know exactly where we stand with respect to the other person, or we don’t want them to think it might develop beyond friendships. Or sometimes, text messages make for an easy way to communicate with a fling. It’s much easier to turn down a date when you don’t have to reject the person directly, even if its over the phone.
Most importantly, it gives you time to think up of lame excuses to get out of dates you don’t want to go to. “Sry, busy wif work this wk. Mayb nxt wk?” 40 characters, and it’s guilt begone! Just make sure you don’t go to the same club this weekend to party.
But regardless of convenience, or cents saved, or if you’re not sure what you are to someone, is it healthy to keep this sort of silent communication going? The answer is of course NO.
Part of what makes asking someone out on a date interesting and exciting is the asking out itself. Part of what makes dating fun is the endless phone calls and chats into the night, and most importantly, listening to a person’s voice regularly brings an intimacy like your mother singing lullabies to you when you were a baby. Why do you think the first thing you do when you quarrel with someone is to cease verbal communication with them?
So, if you’re 20, or whatever age, and are, as you read this, considering messaging someone to ask that perspn out, don’t. Give that person a ring. It’s probably more effective to call and hang up, than sending someone “Wanna go 4 dinner?” At least hanging up lets the person know you’re probably nervous. “Wanna go 4 dinner” sounds like you’re planning on going to Macdonalds for a Happy Meal.