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Monthly Archives: March 2011

I’ve always been slow to accept new technology. I don’t really do gadgets, never have. I don’t have a smartphone, an iPod, or any Blu-Ray DVDs. And I’m pretty sure somewhere in my bedroom there lies a Walkman that just never made it to the trash pile 10 years ago.

Still, I’ve slowly been opening up to the idea of broadening my technology horizons. An iPad, perhaps. A Kindle, maybe. After all, we’re not exactly gonna go in reverse. Technology is only gonna get more intricate, more prevalent. Am I missing out in love, life, and the pursuit of all things happy by clinging to the tried and true?

It’s been a month since I closed my Facebook account, and so far all is well. Not even a chunk of sky has fallen. So in the interest of figuring out if new(er) technologies {or Facebook reactivation} are in my future, I’ve come up with a list. Is technology good or evil for my quasi love life?

The Pros

  • No more waiting. For the phone to ring, that is. Now that texting and IMing have become the norm, we gals don’t have to sit by the phone for the guy to call, because he won’t. Ever. We can just tell ourselves that he’s been driving…for an entire week nonstop…and is diligently keeping both hands away from that touchpad.
  • Online dating. You know, if that’s your thing. A menu of options whenever, wherever.
  • What distractions? Seriously, who needs to sit and wait when you can stalk your friends/enemies/exes, play Scramble, and stream music all at the same time?
  • Instant consolation and advice. Technology means we’re just one status update or Tweet away from plenty of advice from any of hundreds of contacts.
  • Fewer bad first dates. That’s what a quick Google search is for, right? Weed out the bad ones, at least on the big stuff that can be gleaned from that questionable profile photo.

The Cons

  • No filtering out creepers. Technology is CONVENIENT. A lot of great, awesome guys take advantage of that convenience. And a lot of weird, lazy loser guys who might not make any grand effort otherwise also know how to use technology to be…creepy.
  • No privacy. You need only Google, well, yourself to see how much info is out there to all, not to mention prospective love interests. (Double con if your name is not very common!)
  • 24/7 contact.
    Great for emergencies, but it also leaves the door wide open for unreasonable pressure to respond…on someone else’s timeline. It seems the greater the number of ways you can be contacted (and seen logging in and status-updating), the less likely someone is to believe that you are actually busy. You know, that reason that used to be totally LEGIT for fully employed, gym-going, 7-8-hours-of-sleep-needing adults?

OK, so maybe I’m not quite sold. I’m just very wary of letting another gadget or social media outlet into my life. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the pros though, so feel free to clue me in!

Have you ever wondered what kind of first impression you give? And, are you good and quick at reading others right away? I mean, you know the old saying, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, blah blah blah. We all grew up with that somewhat depressing adage, more as it relates to landing a job than anything else, but obviously it applies to dating, too.

According to a survey by Match.com, more than half of all singles can tell within 15 MINUTES if a date isn’t going well.

Yikes. That’s fast. You know what I’m thinking within the first 15 minutes of meeting someone new?

Hmm, this is a nice place. (Or not.)

What am I ordering? I’m STARVING!

Should I go with appetizers and a meal? Or just one big meal? I’m hungry. (Did I mention I like eating?)

Am I asking enough questions?

Wow, whatever he ordered sounded good. Hmm…should I change my order?

Was that a pop culture reference? Crap, it sounds familiar. Do I pretend I got it or ask what that meant?

Now, granted I’ve mentioned before that I suck at conventional dating…the meet-today, date-tomorrow type of thing. So, if I only get 15 minutes, I’d better work on my first approach. (Or, my non-approach?)

Obviously everyone is looking for different things, not just in a potential mate but also the type of relationship they’re seeking at any given time. But with over 50% of singles saying they can tell where the date is headed within just a quarter of an hour (which isn’t even enough time for the appetizers to come out!), it begs the question: what does 15 minutes really tell you? Is that really all it takes? Maybe I should stop focusing so much on the food…

Well, now it’s legit. The “less than” symbol and number three combo, <3, has officially been added to the Oxford English Dictionary! That combo in conjunction with its symbolic counterpart, the heart symbol (♥ ), are now synonymous with love in verb form. Here’s the explanation given:

♥ to heart: The graphic symbol – which will be found alongside the word ‘heart’ and listed as a verb meaning ‘to love’ – is the first of its kind to be included in the comprehensive reference work.

Hmm…what effect, if any, might this have on relationships? After all, it’s hard enough already to get to the “I love you” stage–no one wants to be the first to say it. Now that “to heart” means “to love”, are we gonna see more copouts? Will this redefinition of a very innocent symbol just add to the miscommunication? (New dealbreaker: any guy who thinks it’s OK to tell me he “hearts” me before ‘I love you’.)

I guess we should have known this was coming. After all, “I NY” has reached iconic status as a logo for New York  since its launch in 1969, but no one ever fought for the heart’s addition into a dictionary. It’s only more recently, now that you can type two keys in Facebook chat and Gchat and create the symbol, that the heart as verb has become a true phenomenon. And the editors behind the OED took note. Well, you know what they say: once something’s on Facebook, it’s official!

What do you think about this precedent? Do you hate it? Or do you heart it?

* Check out the full list of added words, as well as OED editor John Simpson’s thoughts, here. (My fave? “Rub-a-dub”! I mean, why not??)

I can’t remember where I read it, but apparently Wednesday and Thursday are the perfect days to set your weekend plans, whether making reservations, confirming a date, etc. And that makes total sense–I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had all these great ideas for the weekend that never happened because I failed to turn them into concrete plans. I’m trying to be more proactive these days. So, what are YOU planning??

There are some great things happening in or near the Hampton Roads area–and all of them would make really awesome dates, if you’re searching for ideas!

  • Busch Gardens! The Williamsburg theme park is kicking off its 36th season this Saturday!And who doesn’t love a theme park?  This is definitely on my list of upcoming to-do’s. I haven’t been since 2002. I’m really interested to see if the 9 years will have made me terrified to go on roller coasters–I used to LOVE them!
  • Picasso is in Richmond till May 15th. Go pay him a visit! That is, his art. You know what I mean. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond is the only stop on the East Coast (and one of only THREE in the U.S.!) for the worldwide tour of the exhibit “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris”. Apparently ticket sales have been breaking records in Richmond for this rare chance to see the nearly 200 pieces of artwork. Trust me, I don’t plan on missing it!
  • Visit a local farmer’s market. The 5 Points Community Farm Market always has tons of seasonal produce for all your fresh-food desires. Plus, this Sunday is the deadline if you’re interested in subscribing to their Community Supported Agriculture program to get fresh produce every week.
  • Catch a show. There are tons of musicals and theatrical productions playing right now – great if you’re looking for something indoorsy and classy!

I know it’s only Thursday, but it sure feels like Friday to me.  Reason enough to plan my Saturday/Sunday. Happy almost weekend!!

P.S. It’s SPRING! Can I just say how happy I am to see this warmer weather after our dreary/unpredictable winter?! Even if you decide to totally be lazy, at least be lazy OUTDOORS!

When it comes to matters of the heart, what’s YOUR best guide?

I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less I tend to listen to my brain chattering away, and the fewer people I go to for advice. And, I make decisions much more quickly. Hmm, I thought I was supposed to get wiser…shouldn’t it be the opposite?

Perhaps that is just it. After all,  inner wisdom and all that knowing thyself take time to develop. Nowadays, I’m definitely an intuition kind of gal and for the most part a follow-your-heart believer.

And even though my intuition has definitely taken me on some interesting adventures on occasion, I’m happy to report that that happens less and less frequently.  However, when it comes to love, I’ve found that there are some things you CAN do and SHOULD do to find a happy medium between the guidance from your oft-impatient heart and cautious brain:

  • Think it through…thoroughly. Take as much time as you need to make a decision. For the bigger ones, sometimes it’s best not to set a concrete deadline at all…just go with it.
  • Know that intuition isn’t always immediate. Maybe this is contradictory to the concept, but instincts can get rusty. Sure, you might get an initial FEELING and that reaction might be strong. But to become more attuned to your inner voice, it might take a lot of wrong-guessing and mental decluttering. There’s a big difference between something not feeling right and a general sense of pessimism that has slowly infiltrated your total outlook. Really, it’s huge if you can take some extra moments to sort through your gut responses!
  • Wait at least 24 hours before sending an emotion-filled email. Even an hour will do. Sometimes, if you send the email to yourself, that action can almost fake the ‘finality’ of a message sent. You might still be OK with your message…or you might find that you immediately regret the way you expressed yourself! (The heart is funny that way!)
  • Have an ‘escape route’ at the ready for whatever the situation entails…if possible. You just have to go into things assuming your heart is wrong, no matter what. Even if there is NO reason to need it whatsoever, having an exit plan ready can be a comfort. (Or maybe only for doomsaying situational-hypochondriacs (is there such a thing?) like me.)
  • When all else fails… Go with your heart if you’re pulled in that direction. Your brain will likely be able to pull you out if you were wrong! Sometimes you can’t search too deep for rational justifications.

Of course, the #1 no-fail method is to find that one friend who can always read you better than you can read yourself. That’s a gem!

Forget about whether or not giving your girlfriends or guy friends the scoop on your latest relationship or date is actually helpful. I’m still undecided if that’s ever a good idea, because let’s face it–many married folks can’t remember what it’s like to be single, and single people are, well, SINGLE. So we won’t delve into going to friends for actually useful advice-getting.

Nope, I’m just curious about how much people divulge to their friends and family–leave nothing out or totally withhold (or a safe in-between)? Are your friends in the loop on the down and dirty of what’s going on in your love life? How much detail are you comfortable giving, and when does it cross the line? I read a book recently (see my post from yesterday) that I’m guessing is a pretty accurate account of what goes on a lot between friends when it comes to their romantic relationships and how they figure things out (or just vent). But frankly, I doubt I’d EVER forward a girlfriend an email I got from a guy, asking her to give me her take on it. It’s not just the inanity of girls-interpreting-guys either–it’s too personal a thing for me! (And maybe not so nice to the guy.)

So, how much detail do you give, and how much do you prefer to hear? I like to think I’m in the less-is-more camp when I’m on the listening side, but I’m the first to admit that when it comes down to it, I’ll never turn down some juicy gossip!

I’m sure we can all agree–there’s a lot left unsaid when we come to rely on non-face-to-face and nonverbal communication. Technology makes it SO easy for us to simply screen our phone calls, hang up without leaving someone a voicemail, and just stick with texting, emails, Facebook back-and-forths, and Tweets. But–these gadgets of convenience might just leave lots of room for missed chances.

I just finished the book “Save as Draft” (Simon & Schuster, February 2011) by writer-lawyer Cavanaugh Lee and I loved it. The book chronicles the romances and related comic (and often not-so-comic) missteps of a female lawyer whose relationships are wholly affected not just by the emails sent between her and her friends, but also the ones that they write but save {unsent} in their Drafts folders. Lee touches on something really unique to our modern technology-saturated age: are we overthinking it? Sometimes the things we DON’T say are the things that could have changed everything…for better or worse.

I’m definitely guilty of doing it. Except I never let an email sit in a folder addressed to someone unless I know for SURE I’m going to send it. I have typed out venting emails in a fit of anger (or sadness, panic, despair), but if I have ANY doubts about truly sending it, I’ll be proactive and make sure to put my own email address in the “To:” field before typing–just in case I accidentally hit ‘Send’ instead of ‘Save’!

Lee’s “Save as Draft” is clever, creative and modern (the entire book reads as emails, text messages, Facebook posts, and Tweets between the protagonist Izabell, her best friends, and the men in her life), and a quick, fun read. Writers will wish they had written it!

Do you save, edit, and delete often? Has technology made it too easy for you to NOT tell someone what you really meant to say?