Writing left handed

The Trouble with Men (and Smartphones)

I like the middle-of-nowhere, I really do, but upon finding myself stuck in the middle-of-nowhere with neither internet access nor decent cell phone coverage for the majority of the weekend, I started to go a bit stir crazy.

Especially as I’d paid good money (an entire $1.09 for a cup of sh*tty coffee with sh*tty non-dairy creamers!) to gain wireless access at the “Lighthouse Cafe” only to discover that Verizon was, once again, on the fritz.

Thanksgiving is a bad time of year for me.  In addition to the ordeal of the Martini Bar Soiree and my fruitless efforts to land myself a date for the second year in a row (see Sunday’s post if you haven’t already), I always tend to break up with my boyfriends right before Christmas.  This means that I always find myself approaching the danger zone—the “let’s have another three-hour conversation to determine whether or not we should break up” zone— right around Thanksgiving.

When I was nineteen and going through my first real relationship crisis I spent the majority of the weekend huddled on the corner of the futon in the den.  Why?  It was the only place I could get cell coverage, and even then the calls kept dropping.

“Stop hanging up on me!” my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend begged.  “I know I screwed up but you’re not making this any easier!”

“I’m not hanging up on you!” I cried.  I wouldn’t get the courage to do that until several years later.

Fast forward to my first year out of college: I was dating a man I’d met back in Baltimore.  We were on the brink (obviously; Christmas was just a few weeks away and I’d already started buying presents for his family so naturally, we had to break up) and as such, we were text messaging each other approximately every three seconds.

“Why didn’t you reply?” he demanded.  “And why didn’t you say ‘I love you?’  Don’t you still love me?”

I had replied, and I did still love him, but the text hadn’t gone through.

That, mind you, was years ago.

By which I mean four years ago.

Obviously I’m way more mature now.

Which is why I didn’t actually invite Date #7 to come to the Martini Bar Soiree—I didn’t want to spend my entire holiday weekend obsessing over my romantic entanglements.  I wanted to relax.  And sit in the hot tub.  And write.  And do yoga.  And collect sea glass.

I did not want to spend the whole time wandering around with my cell phone looking for signal.  Or wondering how The Wedding Date was getting along with his ex-girlfriend, or running down my battery in an attempt to check my Facebook messages, or sneaking up to my parents’ bedroom to see if the signal was any better from the second floor…

I blame modern technology.

And the advent of the Smartphone.

I love my Droid but now I have half a dozen modes of communication at my fingertips: text messages, emails, Facebook messages, status updates, wall posts, plus phone calls… you know, the things for which cell phones were actually invented.

It’s too much (and it’s especially too much when you’re on an island in the middle of nowhere heading into what is arguably the most stressful time of year so far as relationships are concerned).  Is it just me or are Smartphones making relationships even harder than they ought to be?

PS: I forgot to mention that I’ve started writing for an online travel magazine called Travelhoppers– if you’re planning a trip to France any time soon (or even if you’re not) check out my first piece!

11 Responses to “The Trouble with Men (and Smartphones)”

  1. Rob Rubin

    Maybe your problem is that you love your phone sooo much that no man can possibly compare. I know in my case there any many times I would rather be alone with my iPhone than my wife. Just don’t tell her that.

    Rob, The Mainland

  2. Jenny Rebecca Winters

    Kat, I’m going to (once again) pull age rank on you.

    When I was young, we walked to school uphill both ways. Well, in all seriousness, I lived in Jerusalem in the early ’90s when I was in my 20’s and DID walk to school uphill both ways.

    But to address the other:

    Yes, I absolutely do believe that SmartPhones are making relationships much more difficult. It’s the age of instant communication gratification. I remember very well the first time I ever experienced instant chat over the computer. It was in college, about 1990, in a computer LAB (no one really had their own yet), and suddenly I realized that there was a way to write a short message to that gorgeous young man, Erik, who was sitting in front of me in the second row. We flirted until the dial-up konked out. Then we dated.

    How did we call each other? Landlines and leaving messages on answering machines (no voice mail yet, no cell phones). How did we confirm dates? No texting. No way to do that but calling. Could we check to see if the other person updated their status or was on line in any way? WTF was “on line”, much less a “status”? Much less an INTERNET? That instant chat I’d experienced was kinda creepy, barging into someone’s study time and telling them they were cute.

    That having been said, my first communication with my husband was though an email, and he wrote back saying to text him and left his number. But this was standard in 2010, of course.

    And THAT having been said, because of the Internet, I was able to find Erik again a few years back, friend him on FaceBook and learn he was gay by his profile.

    So…good old days…not so great. But keeping your finger on another person’s pulse at all times…not a good idea either.

  3. Lost in France

    Not smartphones per se, but certainly the amount of data that is available through them.

    I truly believe that facebook and twiter and any similar sites are the evils of the modern world, just making to much information available in real time.

    It is not the gun that kills people, but the person who pulls the trigger.

  4. Amy

    Yay for regularly scheduled programming! I hope you did spend some time relaxing in the tub and not searching for cell service 🙂

  5. lifeandothermisadventures

    Ugh. I am living this adventure right now! Texting is the worst thing to happen to my relationship, ever. It’s just too tempting to use this form of communication when I really shouldn’t.

  6. Jill

    O.M.G., Kat. You have your finger on the pulse…or maybe you ARE the pulse. I saw this billboard twice last Wednesday on the way into Boston: Marry her before she breaks up with you! Get hitched for the holidays! accompanied by a photo of a ginormous diamond ring (and not just because it was on a billboard that it was huge) So it’s not just you. It’s a Thing.

    • Kat Richter

      Haha- I love the urgency of “Marry her before she breaks up with you!” I wonder how many guys actual feel that way… too funny


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