This week on the Couple blog, we’re launching a column that will be all dating, technology and relationships all the time. Meet our newest (and sassiest!) writer, Tess, author of our first-ever Couple Column about love in the 21st century!
Everyone has seen it– the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine Bennis, beset by a shortage of her favorite contraceptive sponge, begins a stringent vetting process in which she deems whether her current romantic
interests are worth using a valuable sponge with or not. After questioning their cleaning habits, their career prospects, and their style choices, Elaine decides in each case whether they’re “spongeworthy” or not– and either drags the lucky man to bed or tosses him out accordingly.
When it comes to dating (and sex, of course) there is a whole host of actions, attitudes and behaviors (just like Elaine’s!) that we constantly evaluate in real life situations to determine whether we’re attracted to or whether things could work out or not with a potential partner. Will he wear more than just a hoodie and jeans for date night? Is he courteous to the waitstaff at restaurants, or demanding, pushy and pretty much failing at the whole “table manners” thing? Are we looking for the same things in a relationship with another person or, in three words or less, will it be apparent that this was all a huge mistake?
Dating in its earliest stages is hard enough, but thanks to the ever-increasing role that technology plays in our lives, dating and relationships are more complicated than ever. In addition to trying to determine whether a love interest is kind, polite, and gracious, we’ve been put in the position of also having to evaluate their technological etiquette and online personas as well.
How we use technology in public is telling– and not just in the “oh, how polite, so-and-so put his phone away during dinner!” kind of way. You can spend the kind of evening that great love stories are made of with one person– only to find out later that he or she is the literal, absolute worst ever… the kind of person who is still circulating chain emails from 2007, spamming Facebook friends with endless FarmGameCandyDrawPopVille game requests, and ever-so self-promotionally subtweeting half of the evening you had both loved so much the night before. If you’re lucky enough to survive the first Google-a-thon of a romantic interest without incurring the above incongruities, get off the internet and start kissing that person immediately, okay?!
It usually happens around date 6 or 7– around the time that communication habits are beginning to form, and around the time that a clear record of the kind of communication I’ll have with a potential squeeze begins to come together. After thinking of him when I least expect it–“He’s having a long night at work…should I bring dinner? Caffeine?”– I can’t help but find myself asking, “ Is he ‘Couple-worthy?”
And then, well… then come the questions. What would the time we’ve already spent together look like were we to share it online… and what might our future timeline look like? Is he iOS compatible, or are we constantly going to be fighting over whose phone is better than whose and how to use the gadgets that power our communications? Would our moments be filled with awkward selfies, or quick snaps that capture a time well spent together? Would we social /ALL/ of the medias together? Or will it hurt his feelings if I want to keep our relationship away from prying eyes or anywhere public whatsoever? Would we get in fights over who liked what on Facebook, or would he rather be cuddling than negotiating the perils of status update drama?
In this not-so-brave new world of oversharing– it’s really more “web whatever goes” than “web 2.0”– your technological compatibility with your current can make or break your relationship. While it’s up to you to decide which technologies and social networks to share (or not) with your partner, the happiest path from “Single” to “In a relationship with…” will be with someone whose use of and opinions about technology are similar to your own. And if you do find that one special person who you want to communicate with in private, in public, and pretty much all of the time, anywhere, always… well… you know… there IS an app for that.