What Love Would Look Like Without Smartphones

by Dennis Williams

Think of a 21st century, utopian relationship where your significant other knows your eye color off the top of his or her head. Picture one of those idyllic affairs that you always thought was too good to be true.

You got it in your head? It should be easy to imagine, but hard to recall any real experience of it. I, personally, have only seen it within the confines of a television screen. However, that was love before the smartphone, or as I like to call it, before Steve Jobs' societal intrusion.

Don’t get me wrong, Steve Jobs’ contributions to the world have been more than monumental, but his effect on the intangible aspects of life have gone unmeasured. Technology as a whole has ruined traditional romantic progression.

In today’s world, we hold our phones more than we hold hands. In the "Mad Men" era, we would have to learn about one another through an actual conversation rather than getting a stalker-esque report from someone's Twitter bio prior to your night out (calling it a “date” these days would only aggrandize the situation.)

I know half of you are thinking, “OMG, how else would I express my feelings without emojis!?” But if I had to describe what love would look like without smartphones, I could narrow it down to one word: real.

Above all, people would have more of a connection with one another instead of being connected with the entire world. Dinner dates wouldn’t be interrupted by nagging phone notifications and people would actually get to enjoy the company of those in front of them instead of those who are merely virtually present.

Metaphorically speaking, smartphones are the life rafts that give people an “out,” whether that is because of a lack of interest, or a new age habit. Nonetheless, without this outlet present you are forced to get to know the person in front of  you, which can ultimately cut out the bullsh*t filler that consumes so many dates these days.

The concept of first impressions has been drastically affected with the introduction of social media. How can one have access to someone’s timeline of Twitter thoughts and Instagram posts but still claim stranger status?

After a few minutes of thumb scrolling, I can find out a lot about a person. Just think about the type of effort that love in the relatively medieval times must have required. The hand cramping letters that took hours on end to complete because they wanted to get every word perfect.

Nowadays people have simplified emotions to 140 characters. People can "fall in love" with a status and online presence, which leads to relations that lack substance.

Anyone can create a presence that breeds a thirsty following, as long as their selfie gets enough likes. Not to mention, smartphones are needy. They demand your attention throughout the day, and when you aren’t on them, they are pulling at your pocket, buzzing and annoying you like a child.

The essence of time and patience has been lost. We are all so eager to take pictures with our significant other just to throw a filter on it. Believe it or not, there used to be real cameras that didn’t connect to the Internet, and we had to wait for the image to be developed and printed.

Those pictures were of better quality; they took time before we saw the finished product and that product was timeless.

As a member of this generation, I believe we should take the same approach when it comes to love. Everything in our lives works in such a speedy manner these day. Communication is at our fingertips and we never miss a text, but we are missing those events that are happening right before us.

It’s amazing how the life raft analogy now serves as a double entendre; I forgot a girlfriend’s favorite band the other day, but instead of admitting my fault, I was saved by my Facebook mobile app.

The significance behind the band is irrelevant, but without my phone, I would have been forced to admit I was in the wrong, or actually listened with my undivided attention when she originally told me.

To save face, I forfeited authenticity at the hands of my smartphone.

Technology, smartphones in particular, has managed to strip the necessary authenticity between two willing people. To build something healthy, we need to base our relationships off of the proven theories of the past.

Face-to-face interaction and substance through constructive conversations is what we should be striving for. Once your phone dies and those relationship gaps are staring you dead in the face, you will see technology can’t ever substitute real, human interaction.

Photo via We Heart It