Showing up to a launch party geared for 40-something singles when you’re not one is, well, an adventure. I did that to get a sense of LoveBeginsAt, a new platform for those unmarried souls past their 20s and 30s.
Along with great food to nosh on and a helpful demonstration overview of the site I got—and talked about in an earlier column—I also was engaged in some unexpected and enlightening conversations with daters.
One stood out in particular:
The chat was with a man who I’d guess was in his 50s. John let me know early on that he was not a big enthusiast of the new forms of dating and meeting women. He was divorced, not super anxious to jump back into a relationship. Yet he was excited because, through Facebook, he’d managed to reconnect with a particularly incredible ex.
This was sort of the jumbled talk we had. I got random snippets about his love life, past and present. But what he was most interested in talking about was how human interactions have changed. Fine, John, I said. The topic interests me greatly; let’s jump in, I essentially said.
Reminiscing about how things once were, John pointed out the seismic differences experienced when someone has a crush now, as opposed to a decade or two back.
THEN: I love her madly. She’s so beautiful, so charming, so wonderful. I must have her. I will drive by her house and see if she’s there. Yes, this sounds like a grand idea. And then I’ll do that again. And maybe again. I’ll show up at her locker too, come to think of it. This surely isn’t stalking because I desire her. I want to be near here so I think this is OK. At some point I’ll gain enough courage to confront her, to talk to her and tell her how much she means to me.
NOW: I love her madly. She’s so beautiful, so charming, so wonderful. I must have her. But first I will Google her. I will discretely, secretly check her Twitter feed, her Instagram account, watch her Vine videos and then figure out if we have online friends in common. Even if we do I won’t go anywhere near her. I sure don’t want to get a restraining order for stalking her. Besides, why see her when I can message with her on Snapchat or find her on Tinder and hope she swipes right too. Maybe I’ll break the ice with a selfie showing my friend’s dog so she’ll see just how kind I am.
My point—fueled by John’s harking back to what used to be—might be obvious. But if not, it’s a bit anti-technology. For that, I’m sorry because I am quite fond of the increased connectivity that it brings.
We’ve lost a bit of the in-person dynamic that once dominated courtships. The getting someone flowers, trying to figure out their schedules to just be around them. Now being around someone means being able to message them quick and text it out.
I might not be 40 but I can still remember what was and compare it to what is now as navigate the digital age and dating’s place in it.