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Imagine if Facebook existed in the 1950’s:

This Anne Taintor-esque video got me thinking about  how our romantic relationships have evolved in the digital age.

Allow me to break it down:

A typical love story circa 1991

Boy meets Girl.  Boy asks for Girl’s phone number.  Boy calls Girl.  Boy leaves message.  Girl calls Boy (after waiting a day just to make him sweat.)  Boy asks Girl out.  Girl says yes.  Boy meets Girl at the movies.  Or the mall.  Or the arcade.  Boy and Girl hold hands.  Boy kisses Girl.  Girl goes home to write in her diary and draw pink hearts next to Boy’s name.  Girl stares at the phone willing it to ring… (Boy is probably doing the same.)

This is how it was back in my day.

No Instant Messages.  No text messages.  We had conversations voice-to-voice, and  in person.  You know, when we weren’t gazing romantically at each other (and by gazing romantically at each other, I really mean making out.)

Romance blossomed over the phone – tone, inflection, nuance were carried through live wire.  The phone made it easy to feel connected and stay connected.  And ultimately, to disconnect: All my breakups were done over the phone.  Sure, while face-to-face is the “mature” way to go, when feelings are fragile, the phone made it less messy.

(And hey, more intimate than a post-it note.)

Falsh-forward twenty years.

A typical love story circa 2011

Boy Facebook-stalks Girl. (Or Girl Facebook-stalks Boy) Boy pokes Girl. (Or Girl pokes Boy.)  Boy pokes Girl.  Girl pokes Boy. Etc… ad nauseum.  (And all of this without a steak dinner!) Boy and Girl finally get around to friending eachother.  (And it’s about time! I mean, after all, they’ve been poking for a while now.)  Boy and Girl chat on Facebook into the wee hours of the morning for several nights. (They share a lot of LOL’s.) Boy and Girl exchange phone numbers.  Boy texts Girl.  (Or Girl texts Boy.) Boy texts Girl.  Girl texts Boy.  Boy pocket-dials Girl.  Boy texts Girl: “w2ho” Girl knows this is text-speak for “Want to hang out?” and she replies “wen” (because typing that extra letter and the question mark take waaay too much effort and/or make it look like she’s trying too hard.)  Boy and Girl go on a date.  Boy and Girl check in on FourSquare.  Boy and Girl change respective Facebook relationship statuses.  And the chats and the messages and the pokes fly over cyberspace.

“XOXO” and “I <3 U” fill the spaces on the screen.

Until they don’t.

Breaking up is hard to do.  But on Facebook, with a click and a drag, it becomes very easy.  Remember when Matt Damon blew off Minnie Driver on Oprah?  Well, it can happen to anyone – on a smaller scale, but still.  When a relationship ends, 1123 of  your closest friends will know about it.  But the good news is that hottie from your econ class who is lurking your page knows it, too.