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On another, though, it reinforces a consumer mentality around dating that often focuses on convenience and instant gratification.
Shopping for romance, relationships, or even just casual sex doesn’t always yield meaningful results.
Even if you personally don’t watch it, porn has altered the broader landscape of sexual attitudes and expectations.
Our phones have disrupted traditional protocols around courtship and dating, and we have dispensed with some of the most basic forms of social etiquette that evolved around more direct forms of communication.
That’s always a moment of truth, when you finally meet someone in person and experience the disconnect between who you imagined them to be, who they presented themselves to be, and who’s actually in front of you.
In that moment, you may experience natural anxiety, self-consciousness, and curiosity fueled by the unknown.
This new digital distance gives us a lot of space to excessively self-edit, imagine what isn’t, project fantasy, and ghost at even the hint of some small disappointment.
“Disjointed, abbreviated, and edited communication on different digital platforms creates an illusion of coherency, but the net experience is fragmentation, along with a lot of speculation.” Our use of technology also diminishes our capacity to attune to ourselves and others.
By attunement I mean a quality of attention that is connected, present, and responsive.
We even have a new lexicon for them: “ghosting” (ending all communication abruptly and disappearing), “icing” (communicating with less frequency and/or truncated responses, which creates distance, longing, and anxiety), and “simmering” (communicating sporadically, like if you’re pursuing someone else but want to keep your options open). Someone might not want to respond right away for a variety of reasons: They’re at work or at school, or they want to write just the right response.
Or they might be trying to project an air of nonchalance, not wanting to appear too available or desperate for attention.
The unfamiliar allows us to project our fantasies onto one another and drives desire.