Enjoy this special post by guest blogger, Samantha Von Sperling.
Samantha is an international image consultant, style guru, etiquette expert, and much more. She is the Director of Polished Social Image Consultants. Check out her website, http://www.socialimage.net.
We used to meet at bars and in clubs. We would be introduced through friends or family. There were organized singles activities and occasional chance encounters pretty much anywhere, depending on your luck and skill level. But it took effort. You had to show up, look good, make an approach, start a conversation. Witty banter required thinking on your feet. The dating game was accompanied by a set of rules and code of conduct. Dates were requested, planned, and courtships ensued. Then came the world of cyber dating, enabling us to cruise people’s profiles like a restaurant menu while in our pajamas. People could now send in photoshopped pictures, well edited videos and profiles written by professionals like myself.
We can send well thought out written responses to messages sent by interested parties. Chatting, requires you to be clever in short sentences, typed as fast as you can talk.
Video chat is almost like a face to face conversation except that like television, we can stage our backdrop, do our hair and makeup and consult an image consultant to present ourselves at our best without having to wear pants.
I recently went to Social Exposure’s Nuit Blanche party, requiring guests to download a new social app called MeetMoi. The app kind of takes the cruising game back on location but through a middle man of technology, offering a layer of distance in the sense that a rejection can take place through your phone via chat before you meet face to face.
For example, I can be sipping a latte at my favorite coffee shop when I get an Intro to a man nearby. If we both accept, we can “chat” on the app. He might be at the bookstore around the corner. Since we are near each other we could decide to meet. Kind of exciting isn’t it?
Back at the party, I downloaded the MeetMoi app to participate in the event’s theme. I noticed that everyone at the party was walking around with their heads down looking at their phones. It was a little odd to take in at first, but it struck me that this app was presenting itself as an interactive high tech party game. Spin the bottle gone cyber space. Exploring the app was interesting. Would it lead me to an introduction to a person just 30 feet from me? As it turns out, there was a selection of people on the app at the party with me, just no one I wanted an introduction to. However, the possibilities were intriguing.
As I stood in the room, other thoughts crept into mind. Has the cyber world of dating diminished the quality of courtship? In a world where texts and emails trump conversations, are people still just as equipped to engage each other when meeting face to face? Does the loss of face to face communication affect our abilities to have happy functional relationships? Has intimacy been replaced by sleeping with my iPhone? Has the age of new medium changed the way we handle intimacy? When we have limitless profiles to peruse, does the human in front of you decrease in value? Do we “date ‘n’ mate” in sound bites? Do we profile, chat, meet, drink, copulate and repeat, like watching an episode of Sesame Street, where the segments change at the speed of a five year old’s attention span? Does our respect for other beings disintegrate with the abundance of choice?
In speaking to men, I have noticed an aggressive forwardness propelled at a speed which barely gives a gal a moment to collect her thoughts. Guys, please remember that there is a line between giving her attention and making her feel hunted.
We are delighted to have a range of people ready to meet, a virtual revolving door of contestants for our private game show.
The grand prize is everlasting love. Second place, a wonderfully satisfying relationship. Third place, a fling. Fourth place, a friend with benefits. Fifth place, a hook up. Land on something nasty and you’re out of the game!
The moral to this story is to do what you want to do, with people that want to do it with you and have fun. But the rules of the game are that you must be responsible and honest. Remember that through each encounter with another life we leave an indelible mark. Let’s make it an adornment rather than a scar. Last but not least, use protection. That is the minimum courtesy. Have fun and play responsibly. “Safe is Polite”.