Instant satisfaction or instant regret

Sarika Jagtiani

Technology has altered rules of the dating scene

While computers and cell phones may keep lovers closer together, one shouldn’t forget the downside of 4 a.m. drunken calls and messages.

Credit: Andrew popik

There are certain rules set forth by the dating gods that we, as mere dating mortals, must abide by.

Rules such as “Don’t leave messages for your significant other while angry and drunk,” and “Don’t stalk your ex’s new girlfriend.” These rules are increasingly difficult to follow as advances in technology are embraced and, in my experience, used to unhinge seemingly normal, well-grounded people.

Insanity via technology. It’s a bitch.

Witness my friend. Let’s call her Lily. Lily is an incredibly capable girl. Woman, I should say. She’s 28, adorable, a new homeowner and successful in her career.

Capable though she is, she was recently driven mad during a heated intra-office e-mail flirtation escapade in which she actually had to leave work early to get away from the object of her obsession: Her inbox. Seems her office pseudo-boyfriend wasn’t responding to her e-mails quickly enough (I’m going out on a limb here but maybe he was working), causing her to incessantly check her e-mail and forgo any chance at getting actual work done.

Why isn’t he writing me? Did I say something wrong? Oh God, I shouldn’t have made that joke about the crazy shirt he was wearing. Now he’s going to think I didn’t like it. But I did; I just wanted to comment on something to make him know I was paying attention. Oh great, now he thinks I’m a freak with bad fashion sense.

So rampant was her inner monologue that she had to not only step away from the computer, but she had to escape to happy hour. This is where technology has gotten us? Great. Just what we need: Another thing to muddy the dating waters.

As technology advances, it makes it easier to know where people are and what they’re doing at all times. If used as it’s supposed to be, technology can be a blessing. Bringing people together via Internet dating sites, using special ringtones to let you know it’s your significant other calling and using instant messaging to chat with your boyfriend at home are all good things.

But then there’s the dark side.

The dark side allows us to Google our love interests and find out they play accordion in a Poison cover band. The dark side cajoles us into thinking it’s a good idea to call our boyfriends at 4 a.m. Sure, it’s a good idea when you hit the right speed dial button. Not so much when you call your dad’s best friend and tell him that you’re not wearing any undies and you’re on your way over. And the dark side makes us think it’s completely acceptable to text someone we work with and tell them what we want to do to them in the stairwell.

Do not succumb to the evil forces! Technology will seduce you like a man whore in Prada loafers. Resist, for the results may be treacherous.

Take Mark. His on-again, off-again girlfriend of over a year got drunk last week and text messaged him.

“I hate you. I always have and I always will.”

A few days later, after the fog of alcohol had cleared and she checked her outgoing messages, she called to apologize and say she wanted to get back together with him. I’m sure he was amenable to that. I mean, who isn’t flattered when someone says they hate you?

Then there’s messaging, where you can see which of your friends/love interests/booty calls are online. Please, don’t use this to play head games with yourself. You know what I mean, don’t act all innocent. You log on to see if he or she is there and then you wait to see if they message you. When they don’t, you’re hurt. Of course you won’t make the first move, but you’re upset they didn’t. Don’t do this to yourself. If you can’t handle it, don’t sign in. Don’t torture yourself unnecessarily.

So use caution when using technology. Instant gratification can also cause instant regret, and there’s no way to erase it once it’s done.

Sarika Jagtiani is a graduate student in journalism and the sex columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].