While it may not seem like it, technology has advanced more in the past 10 years than it has since we invented electricity. In the year 2003 there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no 3G, no HD, no Blu-Ray, no iPads, no 3D in cinemas, and hardly any high-speed downloadable pornography. Streaming films and TV online was impossible due to the internet running as fast as a VHS in rewind. You could still buy things in shops though. People still used MSN Messenger and very possibly a lot of people still had pagers and bought real books made out of real paper.
Has our advancement been beneficial? Well, in some ways, obviously. The fact that I can now sit in my pants watching the new Walking Dead illegally on a Sunday night is possibly the epitome of my week. And without MP3 downloads I would have to carry a Discman and a trolley full of CDs around to preempt any mood I might find myself in later. But there are so many ways that his technology has ruined us. And one of those is relationships.
I firmly believe that it is nigh on impossible to have a proper relationship anymore in the modern world thanks to technological advancements. This isn't just because I'm currently single, it's based on previous relationships I've had and plenty that I have seen unfold around me… with my friends, colleagues, celebrities, and the voices in my head. So I thought I'd explain to all of you why you and your current love bundle are doomed.
If you're in a relationship you may want to look away now.
1. Falsely enticing Facebook profiles are leading you astray.
Your Facebook profile is basically a lie. It is something you've set up to give people the impression of you that you want them to have in their mind when they think of you: generally that you are a fun-loving party monster who is at least 45% more attractive than you are in real life.
Honestly, take a look at your profile picture now. Are you dressed up in a short skirt and top that shows off your cleavage while you pull your best duck pose for the camera? Are you standing there with your top off flexing your muscles or with your boys in the nightclub surrounded by Page 3 girls? Have a look at your boy/girlfriend's profile. Pretty much the same thing, yeah?
Maybe you've gone more sophisticated. Maybe you're all suited and booted like you're going to the Oscars instead of Yates. Maybe you're drinking some champagne at the races in a nice dress and frock. Now have a look at yourself and your other half now. Lying on the sofa, watching HollyOaks, scratching your privates and farting while eating pizza off your own belly because you can't be bothered to wash any plates.
Now this comfortability may be all very well and dandy but with most people checking Facebook at least three times a day, seeing all these beautiful people on there, they start to think, maybe they can do better… maybe their other half has let themselves go… When in fact we all just treat Facebook like an online dating page and should really talk to more real life people instead. We should accept that we all spend our time sitting in our pants watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and eating fishfinger sandwiches while picking fluff out of our belly buttons. Which brings me to….
2. The Facebook flirting/spying game is making you insecure.
Yes, there's another reason why the book of face is detrimental to you and your partner living happily ever after. And I have a confession to make: I was once found guilty of this one. I was once caught with my hands deep in the cookie jar of Facebook flirting. I was in a relationship, left myself logged in, and my girlfriend came upon my laptop and discovered my messages. Nothing too major, but definite embarrassment. I felt like Jason Manford if it hadn't happened years before he got caught chatting up girls on Twitter. I felt like Leslie Grantham when he was caught jerking off on a webcam in the EastEnders dressing room.
First off, it is incredibly acceptable to add members of the opposite sex on Facebook when you're in a relationship. Picture the scene: You're out in a big group of people with your partner. Everyone is chatting and you notice them talking in the corner to an attractive girl or boy. You go over to introduce yourself and they have their phone out. Later on you ask why. They reply they were just “exchanging numbers.”
“Why were you doing that?” you ask. Your partner shrugs.
No harm in it is there? Many couples might see it as fine but many might see it as a bit odd if their significant other spent all their time out getting other people's mobile numbers. But surely adding people on Facebook is no different? In the days of smartphones you can message someone on Twitter or Facebook as easily as texting them, and you can add them right in front of your partner's nose. Now, coupled with most people putting this idealistic version of themselves on their profile, is it any wonder why men and women start with light flirting before embarking on to a sordid affair resulting in you coming home from work one night and your girlfriend with the guy from TJ Maxx hidden in her wardrobe?
But of course to get caught someone needs to be nosey. And that is the worst thing. I'll admit I was a bad boy once and was busted. But countless times since then I've had girlfriends go through my Facebook, my phone, and turn up in bars when I said I was just meeting the guys. If I go out for a night I'll be questioned and continuously asked, “Who's she in that picture?” or “Who's this you've just become friends with?” And this isn't one stalker ex I'm talking about. In some degree this is every girlfriend I've ever had and every girl or boyfriend my friends have ever had. It is even all of my friends at some point. Fuck I'll admit it, sometimes it's even me.
We have changed into a society that is paranoid of our partners and practically yearns to call them out. Why? Because with all this technology it is so easily possible for them to cheat on us and so easy for us to spy on them that we assume it's the OK thing to do. But it isn't. I dream of a day when I can be in a relationship and not have to worry about us snooping on each other's online lives. But then again I just dream of a day when I can be in a relationship.
3. Online porn has skewed your perception of normal.
It's a well-known fact that the only time my generation ever got to see naked women when we were kids was when someone got a copy of their older brother's magazines, or when we found a page of Mayfair in the woods. Most people over the age of 25 can attribute the first time they saw a female breast in motion on film to either Kate Winslet in Titanic, Shannon Elizabeth in American Pie, or Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places, depending on your age. The first time you felt a girl's breast in real life was a remarkable moment, and the first few hundred times you had sex you didn't know what you were doing.
And then it happened. Broadband pornography.
Now kids from the age of 11 are watching women in threeways. That's got to change your attitude to sex when you finally come of age hasn't it? No wonder we've bred a generation of Skins characters: they've been bought up on filth. I'm not saying I never look at the blue stuff (not dead people), but now it is so regularly available that some of the magic of seeing a naked woman has been taken away.
And now all kinds of weird shit is considered normal. Long gone are the days of missionary and kissing during sex. Now if you're not defecating on each other's chests while spitting into each other's mouths within minutes of taking off your jackets you must be some kind of prude. Plus the fact that everyone in porn films is so well endowed and fantastic at giving orgasms within the allotted video runtime that we all judge our sexual partners accordingly. So if you haven't got a 6-pack, a 10-inch cock, and a guarantee to deliver three orgasms a night, you may as well become a vicar. And if you don't have a 34G chest, an ass like Beyoncé, and love anal/oral like you love Strictly Come Dancing, it's about time you became a lesbian because no man is going to want you.
Don't think porn has changed us? Look at the cast of shows like TOWIE or some of the human scum you see in nightclubs on a Friday night. If they haven't modeled themselves on porn stars then I don't know what they're supposed to be.
4. Convenience has eroded thoughtfulness.
I remember one day I went into town in the pissing rain. It was Valentine's Day and I hadn't gotten anything because I'm a rebel and an idiot. However, after the look in my girlfriend's eyes when she thought I hadn't bothered, I went out and walked to three different florists before finding the right bouquet of roses. I then walked 20 minutes to her house and presented them to her sopping wet. We kissed in the rain like a vertically sensible Spiderman and had an amazing evening together.
Nowadays I would have just gone on my iPhone and ordered some flowers to her house, which would have been there in 20 minutes, allowing me to stay in. The ease of internet shopping has taken all the element of thought and gesture out of anything. Booking a table at a restaurant never used to be this easy. You couldn't just do it online, you had to phone the restaurant and hold for half an hour before spending another 15 minutes trying to book a table for two in Punjabi. Need to buy your boyfriend a present but don't know what to get him? Don't bother asking around his friends or family, just pick something off his Amazon wishlist, and if he doesn't have one, just add some of the movies he already owns to your shopping cart and see what else it recommends you buy.
5. There's just too much to do in the digital era of distraction.
The big one. There are approximately 7,000 television channels to choose from; email to tackle; Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles to maintain; thousands of online radio stations plus your own iPod; FarmVille and whatever word game you're playing to contend with; 10 million hours of unwatched soaps and drama on your SkyPlus; a Kindle full of ebooks you haven't finished; 10 new 3D films at the theater you need to see (and then again in IMAX and at 124 frames per second); your evening blog to write (and that's before you get started on the PowerPoint presentation you need to do over a video conference for the board in Tokyo tomorrow); a Skype account to call your parents and your friend travelling around South America; internet history to delete before your partner sees it; a few texts to send to various friends; a YouTube video everyone was going on about in the cafeteria today to check out; and some food to order online because you're too busy to shop/cook (and when it arrives you'll have to eat it while talking to Sarah on your Bluetooth because she's having a really difficult time at the moment). And just when you've read the papers on your phone and sit down with your gorgeous partner for some quality time, Sam from work texts you about a new app he loves that you have to download too or else you won't fit in at the office tomorrow.
By the time you're done you're too shattered to even converse with another human so you just have a quick shower and use your vibrator or Fleshlight to bring yourself to a barely noticeable, let alone satisfying, orgasm before crawling into bed and passing out for only four hours because you need to be up nice and early for work. They're making cutbacks due to the recession and you want to impress.