I Wonder What Dating Was Like Before Social Media.

Wildflowers Unscripted Writing Challenge Day #3: A story–setting 70s, 80s or 90s

As I plan to do several times this month during the writing challenge, I’m taking some editorial liberties with today’s topic. Because 1) no one wants to read my fiction; my fiction is pretty abysmal and 2) if I wrote a story from personal experience based on one of these decades, I’d be writing from the vantage point of a fifth grader. Also not appealing content.

For those who want to argue that I’m not fully living up to the “challenge” of a writing challenge by taking a detour from the topics, I would like to invite you to kick rocks. And I wish you a good day.

If I were, however, to write a story set in the 70s, 80s and 90s, it would be a love story. And, when I thought about that, the first thing that came to my mind was “Wow, love in the pre social media era. I wonder what that would have been like.” I imagined the kind of characters akin to Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosley, getting to know each other’s psyches, souls and silhouettes without the interference of social media.

I was having dinner with my best friend this past weekend and we somehow started talking about when is the appropriate time to post pictures of the person you’re “talking to” on Instagram. Let me tell you that I have done this twice in my dating life and both times, the score was Instagram: 2, Tyece: 0. Both situations were ephemeral at best and only caused way too much speculation from friends and strangers alike once they were posted.

Instagram also includes the social politics of “liking” someone’s photos. Like a photo too soon (i.e. 38 seconds after it’s posted) and you seem desperate. Like a photo that was posted weeks ago and you’re labeled a creep. God forbid you actually, oh, I don’t know, really like the photo you’re seeing. With all the social politics, you better just like it silently in that little heart of yours and not actually click anything.

Then there is the endless stream of assumptions that accompany any interaction you ever have with any human being on Twitter. Any and everything on Twitter can be taken out of context. All I can say is thank God people have finally retired that “one of my followers” bullshit because that got me into trouble more times than I would like to admit.

There is Tumblr, the dark and emo cave of social media where you go to drop subliminal messages about your dating life. “Today was a good day.” And probably because you got laid, not because you didn’t have to use your A.K.

And, finally, Facebook. The place you go to completely romanticize every detail about your love life. The place where you go to receive 289 likes for your engagement ring photo. Or, if you’re me, the place you avoid at all costs. Either/or.

Yes. I wonder what life was like before all of this.

We could lament the fact that it feels virtually impossible to date in today’s world without the intrusion of social media. Or we could just work our hardest to still forge genuine connections with people. I had a conversation with a friend many months ago and he dropped a piece of advice that I still hold close to my heart: “What matters is if he shows up.” I sat there overanalyzing all the fickle signs like texts and tweets. Then he said that and it’s an adage I’ve always remembered. 

Social media will send you into a tailspin trying to figure out someone’s moves and motives. But, when you cut out that noise, you are left with a person. You are left with what they are truly giving you or what they are truly keeping from you. You can twist a tweet to mean anything you would like. But when a person shows you who they really are, you don’t have much of a choice but to believe them.



2 Replies to “I Wonder What Dating Was Like Before Social Media.”

  1. I think before social media dating was the same, but just a little less nosy. It was less nosy because people who hadn’t talked to you in years didn’t have automatic access to see what you were doing.

  2. 1) Tyece, I read your blog regularly and really enjoy it. Keep being awesome.

    2) I started dating a guy in October who said he wasn’t really into social media. We talked about Facebook-friending and all of that business and he said he’d rather get to know me and learn to trust me through our in-person interactions instead of just what I post online. It was a really refreshing perspective, especially for someone like me who has historically Facebook-stalked new guys that I’m seeing. It’s not February and we’re seriously dating and we’re still not Facebook friends or connected in any social media. It’s kind of awesome so yes, it’s possible!

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