When it comes to social living, Carrie Bradshaw I envy you. Not because of your ability to go off and gallivant with your girlfriends, or because you seem to spend more money in one weekend then most writers make in their entire career. No I envy the real Carrie Bradshaw, Candace Bushnell, for her impeccable use of the written word to not only analyze, but more importantly understand the world that she lived in.
As with most popular social living trends, I arrived late to the Sex and the City craze. In fact at the age of 26 I can say I honestly did not watch a single episode until my friend Danielle took me to see the second movie when it came out in theaters in 2010. Now two years later I sit in my Manhattan apartment, typing out a piece for my news site turned personal blog, the BQB. Inspired by the countless episodes I have recently watched after Danielle insisted I take her DVD collection of the entire Sex and the City series, I ponder whether or not the age of the Internet has destroyed our social living scene as we know it.
Throughout the series Carrie Bradshaw, is not the most technologically savvy individual. Listen I cannot say how the dating world was back in 1998, all I can really do is compare the “Sex and the City” single life in 1998 to my single life now in 2012. Sure a few years may separate us in age however the drastic divide is that if a guy really was into you back in 1998, he seemed to let you know; face to face. There was no Facebook to post hidden meaning status’ on, or poke someone you thought was cute. There was no way to scroll through the entire population of Manhattan that was looking for a one night fling, relationship or just a friend. People went out; girls put more effort into the way they did their hair and makeup for a date than an online profile photo. Butterflies swarmed in the stomachs of those who suddenly found themselves victim to an unsuspected attraction. Finally people were forced to live by the law “what if this is the last time I ever see this person? What if this is fate that bought us together in this bar?” There was no online platform that one could go home to and troll until you found the complete diary of the girl you saw in the coffee shop or the guy you watched jog by with his black Labrador retriever wearing a shirt that said he participated in marathons. No instead you observed on the spot and were forced to either let them walk on by or take a chance and talk to them, face to face, without the help of an electronic device.
Social living during the time of Sex and The City was an entirely different beast than it is now. Sure is it weird watching the first few seasons of Sex and the City because Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda write down their numbers on paper for guys to have? But what is so romantic about the show is that guys bought drinks for the girls down at the other end of the bar in hopes to catch their attention, not just get them in bed for the night. A friend always knew exactly where her girlfriends were not because of a tweet or a status update, but because they were as much apart of her life as breathing is.
Growing up I remember the days when my mother and her childhood friend would go out of their way to get together and visit each other. Eventually my mother’s friend Lisa would move out to California and the distance was hard at first but the two still made their lifelong friendship last. Most of the time they would call each other and talk over the telephone, which they can still do now, however remember when people had answering machines that they listened too? Racing into the house as a kid, my brother and I always wanted to hear who had called while we were out. To be honest it didn’t even matter if it was for us or not, it still was fun to listen. Every week my mother would record Howard Stern onto a tape via our living room stereo and send it to California so Lisa would still be able to hear their favorite radio personality. Before cell phones, iTunes, and other internet streaming devices, the benefit of a good friendship was certainly not one to be undervalued.
To this day I cannot stand how people decide to text over almost everything. Serious conversations cannot be translated via text messages people. If you are trying to tell someone how you feel, giving good/bad news, reconnecting after a long period of silence or even letting someone know about your relationship status, realize that Facebook or text message is not the best way to go. Sure people used to write emails. I myself have recently been guilty of that, and it just goes to show you that sometimes an hour face to face conversation can clear up an entire month long mess of chain emails.
Here’s the thing people, texting, emailing, tweeting, they aren’t the same as receiving a good old phone call, or a handwritten letter from someone that you care about. I want to hear the voice of the man I love, not receive a text about how much he cares. When it comes to friendships I want to sit down face to face and make eye contact with the individual who I am discussing things with. It is so aggravating to have an ENTIRE conversation via texts. My friend Lisa and I actually will call each other when the texts get too long because honestly it’s annoying and time consuming. Trust me I get it that sometimes you need to just be quick and too the point however let’s face it, being social didn’t get it’s definition from the cell phone.
Therefore I ask you readers, is the art of social living aka being social dead? Honestly when was the last time you had the guts to walk up to a guy and say “Hey I think your pretty cute would you like to grab a cup of coffee?”
My friend and I spent one Sunday “adventuring” in New York City as we like to call it because we tend to have one set destination in mind, upon which we design our own treasure map along the way. Deciding to visit Belvedere Castle in Central Park, this theory of mind about the art of being social was actually put to the test. Do I have a problem smiling and making eye contact? No not at all and to some it seems absolutely ballsy and others ridiculous. Hey some people might flirt, I like thinking that perhaps smiling at one person changes their day for the better and in some cases even mine. It is kind of amazing when you realize the power of a simple smile, as a female it can really attract whomever you would like. Walking through a street fair right by my apartment, my friend was giggling at how many people we are able to attract, and just how many I actually exchange a friendly greeting with. Trust me I get it, its not always “normal” to be extremely outgoing but I decided to put her up to the test. For someone who was extremely outgoing I figured she would have no problems conquering the challenge. Sorry dude, but you epically failed. Passing by two guys in Times Square it was her moment to seize their attention and send a smile or a few lines their way… Stone faced she looked down, picked up the pace and awkwardly avoided the entire encounter.
Another thing that happened in Central Park however that day showed me that to some people social living is best used to achieve their dreams and goals in life. Five guys, three dollars and one James Blunt song later, I learned that the serenading speedos were actually members of the Fordham swim team who were attempting to raise money for their organization. Sure does that stuff only happen to my friend and I? Absolutely, but I found it refreshing to see people being original, living socially to set the stage for a fundraiser. Genius boys! Pure genius.
Whether you use alcohol or technology to come out of your shell, I am begging you to realize that being honest and open, is not really that difficult. In fact I have learned that by being social, friendly, outgoing and smiling; you can really stand out in this world today.
Think about it guys, 140 character posts have replaced the meaning of a flag at half-mast when someone of importance passes away. Extra Extra read all about it? Who needs that anymore? Walking to work the other day I counted that within five blocks, 25 out of 28 individuals were on their cell phones chatting. One guy missed the woman who was walking briskly, eyes angry and body motion ready to take out the first person in her way. Yep he didn’t move… Think about it guys! What do you miss when you are talking on your phones? The older lady who needs help getting onto the city bus at the 34th Street Penn Station stop, whom if only someone realized her cane was falling she would not have tripped or perhaps you missed your child’s first steps as you were trying to get your iPhone to record them. Memories are maps of our life, not technology. Am I guilty? Absolutely. But everyday I realize more and more the less I have my head buried in my laptop or my phone, the greater treasures that I see around me. Remember the art of social living should be enjoyed just as it was in Sex and the City, naturally and simply fabulous.