Single; In a relationship with; It's complicated

I was recently asked why I chose to set my novel in the 1980s.  At first I rolled my eyes and said, "Duh, because it was only, like, the best decade ever!"  And then I fessed up to another reason. You see, the story is essentially about dating, and I don't have the slightest idea how to date today.

Facebook, texting, and e-chat, oh my.  

All these forms of e-communications have to have completely changed the face of dating.  As Liz Lemon lamented on 30 Rock (something like):

 " Man, there are so many different ways 
for a guy to not call back these days."

Yeah, so there goes that little ego-cushion.  Back in the 80s, when a guy didn't get in touch, you could always tell yourself he lost your number, or the phone was busy, or a million other things. Even if you had the cutting edge technology of call waiting, you could always blame it on your roomate not clicking over in time (since no one had invented voice mail yet).

But now?  If a guy doesn't call, or text, or e-mail, or message through Facebook or You Tube or Twitter or whatever, it's pretty obvious that he plain doesn't want to talk to you...unless, of course, he's become suddenly and  unexpectedly incapacitated. Ah yes, there's always that hopeful scenario.

But short of unexpected incapacitation, it seems 
there's no mystery left to romance.  

Guys and gals are free to e-stalk the object of their desire all day and night, and no one needs to know about it. You can see who and what he's Tweeting, who's posted what on his facebook wall, whose photos he's commenting on and what he's saying.  Who he's in photos with.  In many ways this is great.  It helps people get to know each other faster, perhaps letting relationships run their course a little quicker, saving everyone a lot of time.  But also, I think it has the potential to put external pressure on relationships that doesn't need to be there.

Either way, the new face of dating did not fit well with the gradual love story with a touch of mystery that I wanted to tell, and so I did it sans modern technology. If anyone has any real life cyber-impacted romantic tales to tell, I'd love to hear them.  


Katie Anderson said...

Hey Nicki, I'm a bit of a latecomer to Karen G's virtual BBQ and stumbled on across to your blog :)

Love this post. I actually work as a social media consultant, but when it comes to writing fiction I tend to shy away from mentioning even the simplest of text message - never mind web 2.0. It just makes things a whole lot more complicated!

Nicki Elson said...

Hi Katie!

Oh yay, I'm so glad you liked this post, and I was so hoping I wasn't the only one to fee this way. That's hilarious that you work in social media and still tend to stay away from techno-communications in fiction. So I'm not completely crazy -- good to know.

Thanks so much for stopping by and for scrolling down a few posts to read this one. :)