Monday, 11 June 2012

The modern love letter

It struck me the other day that text messages are the modern day equivalent of love letters. In decades past you waited by the mailbox for a letter. Then it was the phone call. I spent a significant amount of time in my late high school years willing the phone to ring. Now it’s the text message that we eagerly await to send us sweet, flirty messages that make us melt.

We all know that feeling, when you’ve just met someone you like and are waiting to be asked out. You try to pretend you’re not doing it, but you carry your phone with you, waiting for the *beep. Or those first few weeks of a romance when you can’t stop grinning uncontrollably and the object of your fancy seems to be living inside your mind. You wait for those text messages and when they arrive, your heart thumps, your stomach contracts and as you read the flirty words a smile stretches right across your face ‘til your cheeks hurt. 


Those text conversations that are flirty and make you fizz all over have become and integral part of modern relationships. When you’re too scared to call someone or you’re just thinking about them and want to share, you text. Occasionally you call. In fact, I think when you’re asking someone out for the first time, you really should do it in person or in a proper phone call, at least. After that first call though, it tends to be the text messagesthat fire in rapid succession between you.  

Some people will think this is strange I know, but I take the time to write out my favourite text messages onto a doc, print it and save it somewhere.  I’m also one of those people who actually gets photos Printed and in an album. So I’m clearly old fashioned. 

The thing is, reading back over text messages reminds me of the first time I received it and how it made me feel. Scrolling through a conversation I remember not just the warm fuzzies but the boy and the time we spent together, sometimes years ago. It has the same effect as if I could pull a letter out of a drawer and read what was written to me by the boy I loved when I was 18.

"Sooo.. Did you actually start to miss me?? be honest.. I did..:-) :-* it felt VERY good to have you near!! Hugs and KISSES!!" 
-Holiday romance 

What is that if not a love letter for a digital age?

I think we all of us keep messages on our phones – our favourite messages that we can’t delete. Writing them out, I’m going that one step further to preserving the memories. 

When you change phones or SIM cards, your messages disappear. It doesn’t matter that you kept them for years – they are all of a sudden GONE and they’re not coming back. So I write them out from time to time so that when I can no longer scroll through them, I can dig them out of my box of letters and cards and relive the magic all over again.

So I say that texts are the modern equivalent of love letters. Letter-writing is apparently making a come back, as are many old-fashioned ways in the current backlash against our overly digital world. For most of us though, we’re not going to go out and buy nice paper and envelopes and dedicate our feelings in a loving epistle. We will however make someone’s day with 50 characters and ‘send’:

‘Thinking about you all day. Can’t wait to see you.’

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