The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – November 5 – Let’s Have Textual Relations


In the olden days, relationships began in person, and with words. There was probably a glance at each other from across the room, or the bar, or a party at a friend’s house. There was something that made two people walk toward each other, have that momentary look-away flirtation, and the awkward first few words – just enough to start a conversation, but not enough to sound like too much of an idiot. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this is not the case.

Today, relationships start with the click of a few buttons. You log into whatever online dating world you’re a part of, click on some photos that you find to be “worthy,” read through a prepared statement, and fumble your way through an opening message. Then you play the waiting game. After the first few hours, you know that they’ve read your message, but you aren’t sure why they haven’t responded. Did you spell something wrong? Was your grammar on point? Did you “lol” somewhere in there. Did you give too much information, not enough information? Did you come off as bland? Is your picture not good enough? Where did it all go wrong? And then DING! You have received a message in return, and the courting process can begin.

After a few messages, someone asks the question: “Can I like, um, maybe, um, get your phone number?”

Now, back a generation or so, this would mean that someone is going to call the other person. Nope. That’s not the case. We don’t talk on the phone in the year 2013, we text. We want to have a textual relationship with the person on the other end of the digital device, because there’s nothing sexier than a textual relationship.

The texting goes on for hours at a time, over several days, until someone get the courage to set up an actual face to face meeting. But by then, what do you talk about? You’ve already given your life story via words on a screen. You’ve already built up the entire relationship over codes of 1s and 0s. Now what?

What happens when you get to the bar, and nothing is as it seemed over that small digital screen? You’ve already had textual relations, and they were fantastic, but the person is not what you wanted them to be. This is the reality of the new world, and we can only wonder where it might go from here.

Question of the Day:

Does having a textual relationship, prior to actually meeting a person, hurt or help the possibility of that real relationship working? Why?

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

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