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3rd March
2010
written by LS Girl

Dating is confusing enough without new technology advancements trampling all over tried and true techniques.  Guys… you can unlock the car doors with your smartphone, but that doesn’t make you a gentleman. 

Whenever I hear or see a story on how technology is stripping our society of its ability to communicate face to face, I stop and take notice. Experts say that technology is making us fat, isolated, but possibly smarter and our thumbs have taken on a new life of their own due to game controllers and texting. In this post, I want to talk about something we are all familiar with. Let’s examine the automatic door lock.

In 1983, I bought a 1974 Pontiac Ventura with a gas guzzling 350 4-barrel V-8 engine we pulled from a 1976 Chevy. It was fast; it handled like a baby carriage, and it was red. The tan interior was ripped in a couple of areas, and its exquisite vinyl composition made your legs and back sweat. The stereo, although loud, had an eight-track player with a cassette adapter. The windows cranked up and down by hand, as did the door locks with their stylish golf-tee looking tops. It was a coupe. The seats tilted forward to let passengers in and out of the back seat. It may, or may not have had seat belts. If it did, they were crammed in between the bench seat, and the back, as not to get in the way.

If I went on a date, my date’s car was a similar configuration. One boy had some kind of cloth interior… that was a big deal. Oh, and let’s not forget seat covers. Occasionally you would get to ride in a car with soft, fluffy seat covers. My parents wouldn’t let me date anyone with a van.

When my date arrived, they had to come inside. There was no “beep” and go. At our oval kitchen table, with floral embroidered placemats, we would sit: myself, the date, and my parents would alternate talking with us. After a few minutes, we got the “ok, well you have a good time…” green light. Off we would go, down the stairs of my two family house apartment, to the driveway. As we approached the car, my date would walk me to the passenger’s side, and open the door, tuck me inside, and then close the door and run around the front of the car and jump in the driver’s seat. I would reach over to pull the lock on his door, so he could get in with out having to manually unlock the door. It was romantic, it had sexual connotations I could not grasp at the time. I was young and invincible… and above all, I did NOT know how good I had it, or how technology would take this most cherished event from me over the next several decades.

Fast forward several years. Cars (that the youth in my area could afford) now had automatic door locks… this allowed you to open the driver’s door, push a button, and unlock the rest of the doors. This was the first step towards complete annihilation of my cherished act of common courtesy. Although the act itself remained intact, the experience was different.

Fast forward to today. Technology in automobiles has advanced beyond automatic door locks. Your car now senses you approaching and unlocks its self, removing the tactile experience all together. Why would a date go all the way to the passenger’s door, just to open an already unlocked door? If you don’t have cool “I sense you approaching” unlocking technology… that’s ok, there’s an app for that. We are instant gratification, multi-tasking, overbooked junkies… do you know how much my date could accomplish if he didn’t waste his time going to the passenger’s door first, and THEN walking all the way around to the driver’s door? He’d be on WOW level 78; do you know what kind of Feral Combat is available at that level!

Technology facilitated one step towards leveling the playing field. Women earning more than men, having nicer cars, and picking up the tab contributed as well. We google our lives away, breakup via text message, have no sense of direction with GPS. We “use” technology to be lazy, discourteous, selfish, in touch, out of touch, up to date, find a date, get a life, escape our lives, manage our time, kill time, make time… we don’t have to remember anything because we can look it up, set a reminder, or phone a friend. We can work all hours of the day and night and let DVRs record our shows for future viewing… so when guys go on Match.com, meet someone, chat, text, google “things to do”, ask her out, meet her at a safe place, have the dinner they picked out 4 days earlier on the restaurant’s website, take her home, watch the last three episodes of her favorite show, google what wine should be paired with roasted red pepper hummus and triskets… finally…when the date is over, she hops in her car, presses “home” on her gps and follows the talking box. Rarely does a gentleman visit the home, accompany the woman to his car, open the door and tuck her in, drive to the location, pay, and bid her good night at her doorstep. If you are one of these amazing creatures… mentor a youth. Share your fantastic common courtesy knowledge with those you meet. Spread the word… because we all know what video did to the radio star.  The Wiki doesn’t even have a clear definition of common courtesy.  I wonder how it ever got its name.

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