Technology, You Little Fucker
I started my dating life in college in the late 1980s. In spite of my lousy game, my lack of confidence and my low self-esteem, I got plenty of dates with hot chicks. To an extent, I attribute this to my being young and in the right places. But I also chalk up some of my success to the lack of widespread technology.
Imagine a world without the Internet or cell phones. Kind of a doomsday scenario by today’s standards, but back then, none of this existed, and we never missed it.
When a girl said she’d call you, your options were to either stay at home waiting for her call, or else go out and periodically check your answering machine from a pay phone. Typically then, you had to memorize her number, or wait ‘til you got home to look up her number. You didn’t have a cell in which to store hundreds of phone numbers.
Just take a moment and envision a world in which people had to actually memorize phone numbers, and how that would impact their willingness and ability to connect with other people.
It’s not like we had caller ID at home, either, so a girl either answered her phone whenever it rang or screened the voice message, picking up if she wanted.
Texting hadn’t come into being. You called girls, every time. Text messaging has allowed greater communication, which has been both good and bad for dating. You can easily access chicks now. But on the flip side, so can other people. While you’re on a date, she may be communicating with her girlfriend telling her about another better bar she should come to, or a couple guys trying to hook up a booty call (back when a booty call was actually a call). I’m sure you’ve been in a bar gaming a girl who keeps pulling out her cell to check her texts; that would have been considered rude once, but now it’s acceptable behavior. Competition for that girl’s time has gotten fierce. Chicks have no remorse not responding to your texts, because they get bombarded with dozens or more of texts all day. Girls never received that quantity of phone calls back in the day, so each call meant more.
In short, the advent of text messaging has probably made guys more disposable.
If you were connected to the right people, you knew where the happening parties were. Otherwise, you didn’t. You never had the luxury of Meetup.com to search for events, let alone be able to scroll down the list of attendees to see if it appealed to you. You took a chance, got in your car, and went to the party. Again, you couldn’t be as selective, and neither could chicks.
We didn’t have Facebook to learn more about the person we just met. While this can be of benefit, it also can hurt you. Girls couldn’t see your unflattering photos, read your lame status updates, see how many girls you knew and their caliber of hotness. Background checking (a.k.a. stalking) for girls was limited to doing drive-bys to see if you were home. That’s it. Now if your Facebook page isn’t up to par, there’s more reason for her to weed you out. Facebook also likely gives many people a false sense of having a large social network. Why pursue real connections, when you already have hundreds of virtual ones?
Yelp and other business sites hadn’t been born. So if we wanted to know which spots we should take chicks on dates, we read about them in bookstores, or asked friends, or investigated them in person. If a venue was a bust, we couldn’t simply do an iPhone search of nearby venues to find something better. We sat our asses down on the date and made the most of it, getting to know each other. The focus wasn’t on the venue so much as the date.
Online dating wasn’t an option. Even after it came to be, there was a long period of being stuck with the creepy factor. Once again, fewer choices for women, less accessibility to potential dates. She met guys out and about, or from a friend, or at work. Girls made the most of these connections, without the comfort of knowing that thousands of other men awaited them online.
I am not totally bashing technology. I love that I can send texts to a dozen people at once. Facebook has been a great help in staying connected with friends. The web has given me immediate information to me, sparing me hours of research. All this has been a godsend.
But I also can’t escape the feeling that girls have changed, that they’ve become far more jaded. You now not only need to contend with the other dude hitting on her, but her cell phone that keeps blowing up, her bazillion Facebook friends, her dozens of potential internet dates. Aside from its benefits, technology has created a very loud din through which every guy now needs to shout to be heard.
About Dr. Evan Marlowe Evan Marlow is the dean and founder of Man School. You can visit at Manschool.cc