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Friday, November 7, 2014

4 Romantic Gestures Killed by Technology

Romance is dead and, for once, it wasn't killed by my stained boxer shorts and "complete and utter disregard for everyone except myself."  This time, the culprit is technology. That portable phone/computer/camera/bottle opener you carry  around in your pocket all day just mere inches from your genitalia isn't just slowly making you sterile. It's also crushing any hopes of impressing the opposite sex in any kind of significant or meaningful way. Nowhere is this more evident than by taking a quick look at films from the last 10-20 years. What was once considered grand gestures of romanticism have been retired faster than a Beanie baby commemorating Hitler's regime. And on that terrible metahphor, let's move on to a few examples.

The Mix Tape
The entire movie High Fidelity is an ode to the highest and single most important art form of the 1980's (and early 1990's)-- the mix tape. In this film, John Cusack wins and loses the love of his life all on the strength of plastic, metallic tape, and songs recorded off a tinny tape deck off the radio.

I'll defer to a better writer here:

To me, making a tape is like writing a letter. There's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You Off My Mind," but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs and...oh, there are loads of rules.
What do kids do today... Send links to the YouTube? Swap MP3 players? I don't know. My kids didn't even recognize what a tape cassette was and now even CD's are a thing of the past. Everything is digital. Gone are the days of composing a 90 minute ode to the person you love. Now all we've got is three-minute links to an underage singer writhing around on a bed explaining how her big ass is something we should be super excited about.

The Boom Box Serenade

You know the scene- John Cusack (again) stands outside the girl's window in his adorably ruffled trench coat with a boom box blaring Peter Gabriel held over his head. The song was 'In Your Eyes' though most people couldn't hear it over the collective sound of a million panties falling to the floor. It is the single grandest gesture in the history of movies. And I'm including Sophie's Choice.
What do kids do today... If my street is any indication, they blare their car radios and honk their horns while their frustrated date tries to convince their father that the marks on her neck aren't hickies but an allergic reaction to wool and that she will, without a doubt, be home by 11pm in the same clothes she left in this time. Promise.

The Anonymous Love Letter
There's an entire movie dedicated to the anonymous love letter. It's creatively called the Love Letter because in the 1980's a much higher value was placed on cocaine than imagination. You know who writes letters now? Your grandmother and serial killers. That's it. You're either someone who still thinks of ballpoint pens as a pretty nifty idea or you're living in a murder dungeon sending taunting letters to the police. There are no in-betweens. what is sending an anonymous love letter going to get you? Either relegated immediately to the friend-zone or placed on a government watch list.

What kids do today... Texting I guess. But compared to leaving a hand-penned, syrupy ode to love in someone's locker, 'I can haz feelings for u. Howz bout u?' leaves a lot to be desired.
The Car Door Test


This actually turns up in a few films but my favorite is Singles. In it, the main character who is surprisingly not John Cusack opens his date's car door and then smiles when she leans over to open his. It's a simple little gesture that showed that she was not only appreciative of his chivalrous gesture but was thoughtful enough to return the favor. My best friend dumped several women on the sole basis that they failed this test. But he also had the luxury of being attractive to the opposite sex and not a loathsome person like myself which makes being choosy much easier.
What kids do today... Remote-click open the door. It's not a grand gesture if all you have to do is press a button. And if you escort a young lady to her side of the car these days all you're going to get for your trouble is an annoyed look and a snarky comment along the lines of, "So what, your car door's broken and you're too cheap to get it fixed?"


With technology killing romance faster than a choleric baby, it's a wonder kids are even getting together anymore.  Eventually we won't even need to have sex. Humans will reproduce only in cold labortory settings. Candles, cornish game hen, Marvin Gaye, and Mad Dog will be a thing of the past. At least until some maverick stands up and fights against the cold system. That'd make a great movie wouldn't it? And you can bet your edible undies it'd probably star John Cusack.