I’m not an overly nostalgic person. I don’t dream of being in Paris in 1920 (although Hemingway and I would be great drinking buddies) or the renaissance or wish that I was part of India’s beautiful fight for freedom. I like 2012. I like that I don’t have to kill myself trying to remember little details: For instance, who was the guy who gets into Michel Cera’s car in Nick and Norah’s infinite playlist? Who knows? Wait, I’ll just google it (it’s Seth Meyers by the way). I like that we don’t use twigs and have really awesome flavoured toothpaste to brush our teeth with and I really, really love that a thing like instant soup exists.
And that is why I’m usually in a minority when people say that romance is dying in the digital age. Oh, you kids don’t know about yearning with all your instant messaging and skype-ing. Do I see the beauty in pining and writing long letters? Yes I do. But I also love that you don’t have to miss people and you still can. The most romantic stories I’ve ever read usually involves misunderstandings and lack of communication that could easily be fixed with one text message. Oh, and I love text messages. As a writer, who is not completely in control of her emotions when fighting, that perfectly composed text is a savior. I’m an annoying fighter because instead of using the effective, “Fuck off and please don’t talk to me again,”, I will wield powerful sentences with multiple commas, semi colons and em dashes in them. (I’m a little ashamed to admit but sometimes I will go back and re-read a text fight if only to admire my own work).
Is over information ever a bad thing? Oh, let me know less about this disease I have; let me put all my money in this stock. What is this research thing you speak of? No one ever says that and I don’t see the point in getting to know a boyfriend/girlfriend/date over time. Because really, if there is something gross or fundamentally flawed in a person, I’d like to know that upfront, thank you very much. I don’t want to spend a month with someone and then realise he uses ‘babez’ un-ironically.
I recently re-watched Amol Palekar’s Choti Si Baat where Palekar, in bell bottom pants and polka dotted shirts stalks a girl around Bombay. Stalking is totally a legit love thing; we just use Facebook now. Facebook stalking is kind of a boon. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Information is power and knowing you’re ex boyfriend/girlfriend is dating someone whose favourite band is Limp Bizkit is extremely empowering.
We take love seriously too. We are not a generation that doesn’t care. In fact, we spend a considerable amount of time ‘researching’ someone before we do and I do not see the problem. There is no charm in a beautiful husband in a suit who drinks scotch and sleeps with his secretaries while you stay at home and make a pot roast (though seriously, if Don Draper was on Facebook, he’d probably have two profiles. One for family and one of him dressed only in bathing trunks).
I wish people would stop talking like idiots sometimes. Stop talking about your relationship like it is a math problem that needs work. Stop talking about how beautiful the concept of dating used to be. Stop talking and wanting. Nostalgia is an indulgence. And I don’t mean that what’s gone is trivial. In fact it’s very well documented and that is why we know about it. You wish you were born in a time when people listened to jazz? Well, guess what? You have the internet to listen to whatever the fuck you want. It is absolutely ok to look at pictures and spend an evening drinking Old Monk and discussing that epic road trip sometimes. But you cannot live there. You are not that person anymore and this is not that time.
We are a generation of people always holding on tightly to a time that made us happy and comfortable. We really need to stop whining all the damn time.