The Pitfalls of Dating in the Modern Times

Mary: I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting.
Mary, played by Drew Barrymore in the movie He's Just Not That Into You, 2009

Over beers at a quaint little place along Timog, a friend and I discussed about the wonders of the Internet. And how it wreaked havoc can wreak havoc to our dating lives. After much debate, laughs and cringing, our collective question was: In the world of mobile phones, emails, Skype, Facebook, Y!M, and Twitter, is there really no escaping communication? Of course you do know my love affair with the internet, yeah?

In a normal Philippine dating setting, a guy asks for your number, either from you or a friend. When you've reached a level of comfort, or a stream of mutual interests, he tells you, " I have to add you on Facebook, so I can post cool links on your wall." When either one of you is away, you rely on BBM {Blackberry Messenger} , Skype or email to bridge the gap and not spend an extra single cent. When both of you are in the same zip code, but can't talk, you send each other mobile messages/SMS just to let the other party know you've been thinking of him/her.

In this day and age, can anybody ever really escape someone anymore?

I've had my share of technology-driven dates, if that was the rightful term. By this, I'm referring to dates, semi-relationships flourished and nurtured by technology, some have gone awry, of course.

Take this one instance: I was seeing a guy whom a friend introduced to me. My friend warned me: he's a geek. He knows his way with a PC, can make it do whatever he wants and he has a team of researchers all at his beck and call. I really should've taken that as a sign, any guy who would go the distance of doing more than just Googling me obviously has nothing to do with his time.

But I went ahead with it.

Once during a time I was preparing for a date with him, my Yahoo! Messenger blinked.

Him: Ready yet?
Me: Not yet, maybe in the next 30 minutes I'll be out the door.
Him: Should I meet you in an hour?
Me: Can you make that two? I have no idea how bad the traffic is going to Makati.
Him: But you'll just be coming from {the street where I live}
Me: Yeah, it'll take me about an hour. And how do you know that?
Him: Oh, I can see your location from your IP Address, so I Google-mapped it. I can pinpoint your exact house but you live in a building so that wouldn't be possible. It says here that you're only 10 kms. away from where we're eating, so that should take you less than 30 minutes.
Needless to say, the thought of someone knowing where you live, how long it will take you to get to somewhere, what route you must take and geez, what sites you're looking at when online drove me crazy. The guy and I didn't date much after, for it really was turning out to be creepy, amongst other things. There were instances that I've shut down this very blog, for fear of reading too much about me, or copying my pictures and all that. Because he was too in love with the PC, too, that he opted for just online dating, we just kind of emailed each other, talked on YM or Skype, even though we lived 30 minutes away from each other. Soon enough, I just had to put a stop to the nonsense and I regained my peace.

The other times were not as extreme as this guy's cyber-stalking, if we can call it that. Many times, I've been involved with men who would be in and out of the country, where our only remaining form of communication would be texting, mobile calls, email, Skype and/or Facebook. I've dated men who seemed so perfect with their emails and chat messages only to be shy and grammar failures in person. I've been caught in that limbo: whether I should reply ASAP {then I would seem like I've been glued to my phone and therefore not-so-attractive}, or if I should take three? four? five? days before answering. Has he emailed me yet? Damn, he hasn't! How much is international roaming and why isn't he calling me? Should we be friends in Facebook? What if he doesn't interact with me there, not 'like' my statuses or find my updates shallow, superficial or stupid? How come he isn't calling me on Skype? For goodness' sakes, it's FREE!?

Truthfully, the dynamics of dating has been largely affected by the availability of technology. Today, it's much easier to expect a call from a guy who's asked for your number, for him to search for you on Facebook, or vice versa. It's easier to be let down because knowing all of these avenues to contact you are all there, all free and all so accessible ---- but he isn't. Won't. Couldn't. Then a girl proceeds to believe that the guy maybe lost his phone, lost his laptop, got mugged, fell on the bathroom floor, got amnesia and all sorts of radical excuses. I don't know about you but I've been in this stage before, I know it too well. It is in those instances when the reality sinks in, that he's just not that into you.

It is about the same for ex boyfriends. How do you deal with seeing his updates {whether begging you back or flaunting his new girlfriend}? How do you hide the wall update that says you are now single, with a little broken heart for an icon, not because you're depressed but because you see no reason in discussing your love life on Facebook, but just really want to be single on your profile?

And as if it can't get any worse:

Mary: He Myspaced me!
Nathan: Ouch!
Mary: Oh.
Nathan: Oh girl I don't know about that... My trampy little sister says MySpace is the new booty call.

My takeaway after all of this? I've resolved with myself to keep all human relations of the dating kind limited to offline communications. Sure text messaging remains to be an option, I respond {still not all the time} and I answer their calls. But as to the ones that really say a lot about me, or provide an avenue for messaging and what not, I avoid it like the plague. It is not the matter of being condescending. I like my dating life, relationships {or future ones, for that matter} based on real conversations. I want to see if he chews all his food before speaking. I'd like to know if the guy is as pleasant as his avatar, or if he is as witty. I'd like to be able to form relationships that are not the least bit muddled with spell-checker and thesaurus, Google Maps {for goodness sakes, I couldn't get over that} and reading every bit of entry on Google with my name on it.

Unless the guy is my boyfriend, I do not accelerate the dating process {I do try}by providing all ways to make me accessible {email, Skype, YM etc.}, and just let nature run its course.

This of course does not apply if you're committed or married to the guy. Then again, that is another topic.

What's your view on dating with the modern technology shebang?

UPDATE: While I do think the guy I dated is beyond creepy, I kind of remember he was just being himself, using the power of Google and technology, doing it because he can and not because he wanted to find where I live. Oh gosh, that makes him creepier! Eeek :|