Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 4, 2009


Monica Hesse, Washington Post - The relationship did not end because of Elizabeth Fishkin's boyfriend's text aversion. On the other hand, it didn't exactly help.

Like the time when they were supposed to meet for dinner, and Fishkin texted him to say she was waiting at the restaurant bar. Thirty minutes later, she finally spotted him. Standing outside. He'd never gotten the message -- didn't even realize what his cellphone's buzzing had signified. No disrespect intended; he just wasn't a texting kind of guy.

But Fishkin, who works in advertising, is a texting kind of gal. Nothing obsessive, maybe five times a day -- she just likes the ease, the directness, the speed of the medium. Texting is her language. . .

Months later: another date, another guy, another technological incompatibility. This time she was out with someone who wanted to text . . . everyone.

"He kept talking about Twitter." Fishkin rolls her eyes. "Ashton Kutcher. Twitter, Twitter, Twitter."

Can a texter love a Twitterer? Can star-crossed lovers overcome wire-crossed gadgets? Can these relationships be saved?. . .

The process of asking someone on a date can historically be described as such: Twenty years ago, you either did it face-to-face or picked up the phone.

Today, you can be a phone person, an e-mail person, a text person, a Skype person, a Facebook wall person, a Twitter person, an instant-messaging person, or you can just stare creepily into your webcam like that manga girl on YouTube.

Each form of communication has its own followers and rules, which means dating today is a law of inverse proportions: As ways to communicate increase, the chances you will date someone who speaks your technological language decrease.

Sexual compatibility, out. Textual compatibility, in.


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