Smartphones can make you invisible. Think about it. You're sitting in a public park, and you spot someone you don't want to talk to approaching you. All you have to do is stand up, look at your phone, and walk away. Poof! You're invisible. Sitting on a train or a plane, all that's needed to vanish is to start texting furiously. I saw this actually happen this past week, sitting on a plane from Texas. Across from me were two people - a young hipster woman and some dude with more than three rings on each hand. As a rule, I avoid men who wear more than one ring on either hand. I saw her watch him from the corner of her eye literally lick his fat mouth. Before this guy could turn on the cheese faucet though, she whipped out her fancy phone (it looked like a Samsung S9) and it was almost like watching a genie wiggle back into its bottle. She was gone. The phone was like a plastic flood wall that went up right as his wave of chili con queso came crashing down.
Harry Potter has an invisibility cloak. Klingons have cloaking devices for their spaceships. We have cell-phones. It's a testament to our advancement as a civilization that there is no need to verbally shoot a potential suitor down in public. All one needs to do is check our e-mail. A hung head and glowing face is the new international sign for "Eff off, please and thank you in advance."
Forget texting or the ability to send pictures of your junk. Foursquare, that popular geo-targeting site that monitors your movements and let's the world know that all you do all day, everyday, is wobble back and forth from your fourth-floor walk up to 7-11, is a fleeting trend. Foursquare aspires to turn life into a game, which should be news to anyone who plays the actual life game called "paying your bills." Ignore the fact that the doohickey in your pocket packs more raw computing power than all of the computers NASA used to fake the moon landing. Smartphone shave radically changed how humans communicate. This is not news to anyone, unless you're a biologist who just emerged from an Arctic biodome. But cell-phones have also changed how we don't talk. This is radical, and I'm not using that word like a surfer.
It's impossible to remember a world without cell phones. Yet, such a world existed, once upon a time, something like one thousand years ago. During the dark ages of the 1990's, people were forced to communicate via messenger falcon and paper football. There were phones back then, but they didn't resemble the sleek, multi-purpose Starfleet-issue communicators we are dependent on now. They were large plastic beetles tethered to the wall that made a person who lived a mile away sound like they lived three miles away. But if you had a crush on someone at school, or glimpsed a beautiful woman at a bar, you had little choice but to walk up and blab. Conversely, if a person walked up to you, you couldn't just whip out your nerd device, pull up an app, and blink out of existence. Interpersonal interactions depended on good old fashioned awkward face-to-face communication. Everybody was forced to make eye contact and actually exchange strings of words called "sentences" that conveyed thoughts. It's not like there weren't options back then. When confronted with someone I didn't want to talk to, I'd usually just go limp and drool.
Thankfully, tomorrow is today and such awkward moments are going the way of dinosaurs, fax machines, and music CDs. Instead of shooting someone down with bullets made out of words, we can use our Smartphones to escape in a digital explosion of smoke, like a Tron ninja.
Senior editor and dating coach Alex Wise is a recognized expert on love, marriage and relationships (except when it comes to his own life, of course) who has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Mashable, LifeHacker, Today.com and more. Join him at Loveawake.com dating service and [...]