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Diss Connection

March 3, 2008

My parents were high school sweethearts. They have been together 41 years, save for a few months in 12th grade when my dad chased after some lusty big-boobed cheerleader. Mom never forgave him for that one. This led me to believe my mother was completely unqualified to give advice on dating and relating in the modern world.

It seems utterly ridiculous to her that I would turn to a web site to find a mate. To review information that someone posted about themselves and then write a few emails back and forth with that person before deciding they’re worth accompanying to the local Starbucks is, in her terms, “totally ass-backwards”. “How do you know they are who they say they are? How do you know they’re telling the truth?”

My spidey senses, Mom. Spidey senses.

Sure, she has a point. I have no context for this person. Having no religious affiliation (does Oprah count?) I can’t take my spiritual leader aside and grill them on my prospective date. I can’t ask our coworkers if Johnny drinks too much at happy hour, or if he’s secretly boffing the girl from accounting. I have no idea if this person is telling the truth about themselves and the reason they decided to take their love life online. And trust me, Sylvia and I have experienced the many interesting reasons why people are online, which is why we’re here.

Within mere minutes, one can create a profile of ourselves to suit our needs. With the proliferation of dating websites, we can create multiple profiles and let them duke it out for attention. (Note to self: create multiple online personae and see which one gets the most attention.)

As we move our work life, love life, and social life online, our very concept of “connection” becomes more and more abstract. Through our online communities, we communicate our job moves, interests, thoughts and moods – even our relationship status – via icons and drop down menus: “single”, “in a relationship”, (and my personal favorite) “it’s complicated”.

I’m no exception. I’ve spent an entire day paying bills, buying groceries, and catching up with friends without talking to a single soul. I’ve browsed my neighbors’ music preferences through, but I’ve never met them. I lived the most influential romances of my life almost entirely over email, IM, and webcam, only to discover at the end that he had been unfaithful. Talk about mulitple personae.

So I’ve decided to stage a counter-revolution. Today, I’m going to call someone rather than send them an email. Walk down to the post office and buy me some stamps rather than order them online, just for the thrill of a little interaction with Mr. Postmaster. Heck, I may even strike up a good old fashioned conversation with him, if my old-fashioned friendliness doesn’t freak the shit out of him.

And then I’m going to come home and blog about it.*


*word of the day: irony.

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