Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Defense of Techromance

Last week David Brooks wrote a very one-sided op-ed in the New York Times Cell Phones, Texts, and Lovers criticizing today's dating world as laid out in New York Mag's the Sex Diaries. He applauded Yang's anaylsis saying that "the most interesting part of the diaries concerns the way cellphones have influenced courtship. On nights when they are out, the diarists are often texting multiple possible partners in search of the best arrangement."

Guys, let me interpret that scenario for you: it's called a group text. And what is so wrong with trying to figure out your best option for a Saturday night?

I am here in defense of techromance and to tell Brooks and others who scornfully describe daters today as "using their cellphones to disaggregate, slice up, and repackage their emotional and physical needs, servicing each with a different partner, and hoping to come out ahead” that they are stuck in a time warp and bring an archaic criticism of dating. Fighting technology and dating is as futile as complaining about a crowded subway that you have to get on to. If singles today don't hop on, the reality is they won't be getting off (ha) at their final destination, a relationship.

Today our e-dentities are as developed as our identities, so it makes perfect sense that we use digital personas to express ourselves during the courting stage. In many cases these channels can help us reach out and connect with people in low pressure ways that allow us to be a more sincere self then the one that we project on our 1st, 2nd and third dates. One of my time-stretched girlifriend met a cute equally time-stretched guy on Jdate and decided that their second date was actually their third because they had texted, emailed and chatted online so much it actually propelled them into a more comfortable zone. Two months later they are going strong online and offline.

I am 29 and can barely remember the world BC (before cellphone) but thank my lucky stars that I never have to wait by my landline for a guy to call. In fact my current relationship actually sprung from a Facebook message I sent to him after meeting in a bar the week before, eloquently stating, "hey dude is this you?" after tracking him down on Facebook. He replied quickly asking me out that weekend.

Now we all know that every text, Facebook, video and IM doesn't result in a great romanTECH story. From starlets exploited after sex messaging their boyfriends to real life stories where a Halloween "text from the ex" results in a walk of shame where we damn daylight savings and realize that yes a Pochahantas costume DOES stick out in the east village at 10 am...but that is how it goes.

I am always fascinated, and Brooks wouldn't be the first one, when older generations weigh in on how our generation dates. I mean look at the divorce rate of the baby boomer generation. Do they really have it figured out? The other news flash is that Brooks and others operate under the assumption that dating for us is defined by how people dated 30 years ago, but the reality is techromance is dating to us. It's the only way we know.

Recently I had an interesting conversation with my teenage nephew and I told him about the first time my highschool boyfriend told me he loved me on the phone late one night. At that moment I realized he'll probably hear he is loved for the first time over text message, and I don't think it will mean any less.


  1. anyone who uses the word "disaggregate" is never gonna get laid. FTW!!!!!

  2. 29 Jewels? And still as beautiful as ever. You see I wouldn't
    Have been able to be that sincere in person thus illustrating
    your point. ;)