Every facet of society is in a constant state of evolution (or devolution…) even the way we (people in general) interact with one another. So by this logic you could argue that love also evolves; how we love, what we define as love, how we define a relationship, how we find said relationship and inevitably how we end a relationship.
So here we are in 2012 the era of technology and love has evolved into a formidable beast, it’s developed (an often limited) intelligence but it’s cunning, competitive and sometimes cannibalistic. We now live in a world where love has become a commodity. Sex sells and so does desperate and dateless. People have less time to socialize so we go online and let a machine with a fancy algorithm tell us who we should fall in love with. We can start and finish a relationship with the click of a button and even have a relationship with someone you’ve never seen in 3D. Romance might not be dead but it’s definitely choking on a plague of promiscuity bad behavior. We’ve been playing around with love’s DNA and we’ve created a monster, Franken-Love, a freaky love monster who is going to love us all to death if we’re not careful. What I want to know is how did we end up here, with Franken-love? And, can we do anything about it?
100 years ago relationships that didn’t end in marriage (or in many cases started with marriage) barely existed, and those that did were taboo and conducted behind closed doors and in hushed whispers.
70 years ago most relationships still ended in marriage, but what had changed (in most western societies) was that people had more freedom in choosing their partner, people could fall in love instead of having to learn to love the one chosen for them. Also, love had become less monogamous, no I’m not saying the world was getting promiscuous… that comes later on loves evolutionary highway. But people did have more freedom to experience more partners, people would often have had more than one relationship before running down the aisle with their chosen spouse to be.
50 years ago love was shedding its traditional skin and taking on whole new look. The biggest changes were in how people met each other, love’s habitat was expanding. 50 years prior people were introduced by their families, people were usually chosen for each other. Love was a business deal. There was nothing romantic about it, most of the time. 50 years on and society was changing, wars had been waged, feminism was on the boil, men (and increasingly more women) were setting the alarm and heading out the door 5 days a week to bring home the proverbial bacon. But one of the main differences (this is really like converting gills to lungs or swapping tails for legs) was that people made time for fun. Life wriggled into the Petri dish all work and no play, grew legs walked out and decided it wanted to go to a restaurant, see a movie, have coffee with friends and go to a dinner party. Social life (as we know it) was born. The primordial soup had been stirred and people were keen to enjoy a bowl, with each other. They went to dances, they went to university mixers, they joined social clubs, they held social functions, they got together every week and played cards, knitted sweaters, discussed comic books, watched birds, people joined fan clubs, people volunteered, threw parties, went on picnics, went to concerts, people even spoke to their neighbors (heaven forbid!) what I’m getting at is that people had a multitude of opportunities in which to bump into one another which in turn created endless new ways in which to meet prospective lovers, leavers and spouses.
In this era love was flamboyant and frivolous it was the era of love letters, courtships, long engagements, no sex before marriage, flowers, serenades, and grand gestures.
I think we’ve come too far, we need to devolve. Franken-Love is our ‘make an immediate U-turn’ moment. I think we should turn off the computer, slam on the evolutionary brakes, raise a hand (with opposable thumb) to the gnarled, slobbering face of Franken-love and say “STOP!” In the name of love.