Today we carry technology in our pockets and talking to the world and his wifi has become as commonplace as breathing. It’s a natural consequence that our dances of courtship would have to quicken their step to keep up. But have the stalwarts of romance (flowers, chocolates and crap poetry) been entirely superseded by flirty emails, social media pokes and dating profiles?
To Catch A Fish…
I asked a friend whether he could remember how people met partners before the emergence of the dating website. He reminded me of the glorious nightclub ritual, the Two O’clock Gridlock you know; before 24 hour licences came about and when chuck-out time came, those with partners would politely leave to go about their couple business and those who remained scanned the room to find a viable take-away option. Shudder.
But now we have dating websites (hurrah!), where at the very least, you can scan the catalogue of mating profiles in the comfort of your own home without the obligation to judge people politely or kindly. Which is much better.
But, as I say to my reluctant friends who worry that there’s still a stigma attached to the idea of their meeting a partner through a dating website (let’s clear this up now; there isn’t. Scout’s honour), the medium of meeting someone online is manufactured but the end result isn’t. You simply can’t manufacture chemistry that snap, that click or fireworks or the bells you hear when you’ve met someone you could fall for can’t be faked and should be very much enjoyed, without shame or embarrassment. In a world without the married friends throwing dinner parties for the benefit of all their single friends, the dating website is ably and admirably performing its duty of care to the love lives of the masses. And for this, we salute them.
Fish Suitably Caught Now To Court It
Jane Austen might roll in her grave at the evolution of the courtship calling card; now wholly replaced with a series of carefully crafted texts, direct messages or emails. But is this so bad? Swapping stories, sharing ideals and gently flirting through language is intimate, stimulating and exciting. The ping of a message tone can still induce a heart-flutter.
Fine; the love letter leaves you with a tangible memento for the ego, but a great email exchange can still leave you a smitten kitten. Just without so much clutter.
I still have every mix tape made for me by caring friends or spotty teenage boys (given to me when I was a spotty teenage girl so don’t add me to any kind of register). I loved them when I had the means of playing them over and over again and I love coming across them every now and again, despite no longer owning anything that plays a tape. But it’s the song list, carefully chosen as an expression of sentiment or with relevance to you, which sticks in the memory. So what that the mix tape turned into the mix CD and the mix CD has been usurped by a Spotify playlist? The care that goes into the playlist is every bit as romantic as slinging 50p into a jukebox and asking for a dance. And it doesn’t cost you 50p.
App-erly Ever After
Apps like Instagram have a built-in romantic, wistful quality by their very nature, offering instantly shareable images with all the character of a tea-stained treasure map. So what that it’s not authentically vintage? It can still summarise a day in the park holding hands with a dreamboat in just the way you’ll be remembering it in your head grainy, windswept and interesting.
So, although you’re less likely to be serenaded by sweet nothings at your balcony these days (who can afford a balcony anyway?!), modern romance holds its own just fine against the weight of tradition.
You can always throw in a compromise to the past by mixing up texts and emails with the occasional note left in your partner’s wallet for them to find another day. You can always create the Spotify playlist and include your sappy reasons right alongside it why the Back Street Boys remind you of your partner’s smile. You can always Instagram a picture of you in your sexy underwear glory while doffing your cap to Shakespeare’s romantic monologues by wearing a beautiful balcony bra
What are your modern-day tips for bagging the perfect catch?