V-Day Roundup: Lose Your Phone, Meet Your Husband

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Photo: Steven Puetzer/Corbis

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, the Internet is overrun with the kinds of essays and reports on the status of mating that usually pique our interest. Just in the course of one day, we’ve learned that love looks different around the world — but we’re partial to Cambodia’s Kreung tribe, where fathers build their daughters “love huts” to test-drive potential husbands. Here, the government has no idea how love works today — it doesn’t believe it’s real unless there are two kids, a house in the suburbs, and a joint checking account involved. (You don’t need any of those things to marry an inmate, however, and man, are there are a lot of eligible ones!) The government is, however, keeping tabs on how many women have used emergency contraception like Plan B — 5.8 million of them. And for the last time, that’s not the same thing as 5.8 million aborted babies. We learned that teenage girls have enjoyed kissing since at least 1976 and they have a much greater risk of STDs these days. The tech start-up scene has found a new gadget fixation in the vibrator, but the old-fashioned and painfully clever personal ad lives on at the New York Review of Books.

All good reads! But by the self-imposed rules of blogging, we may only quote extensively from one Valentine's Day–pegged sex and love trend story, and we choose this useful parable from New York Post experimental fiction writer Andrea Peyser. In the alternate dystopic universe Peyser inhabits, technology and feminism have turned courtship into an awkward dance of stalkers and flakes.

“Today, the alcohol-fueled ‘hookup culture,’ roughly defined as guys getting the milk for free, is aided and abetted by Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging. Everyone’s a stalker. The whereabouts of everybody you know, at all hours of the night or day, are an open book. And, contrary to what angry feminists say, the median income of young women today is higher than that of slacker males, giving guys a nifty excuse to expect women to pay for drinks. Then take off.”

If you’re single and female, Peyser writes, chances are you’re at home waiting for “a Skype or iChat from some mysterious doofus too lazy, too married or too nonexistent to actually hang out.” Indeed, the saga of Manti Te’o has struck a nerve with Peyser, who believes the only way for women to avoid getting Catfish-ed and find a good man is to abandon their phones entirely. Preferably in the chicest department store available.

My gorgeous friend Maddie, 32, is proof positive that old-fashioned game-playing is an effective tool in the man-nabbing arsenal. In one horrific episode, she visited a man in California. And promptly got dumped. She cooked another man an elaborate dinner. She got stuck with the bill, then she got dumped. Now she’s engaged. And the reason is as ancient as cat-and-mouse. Maddie lost her cellphone in Bergdorf’s, and didn’t know that the guy she’d recently met was sending her messages. By the time Maddie regained her ability to text, the man was desperate to nail her down.

Good luck, guys! Text us  Write us a letter to say how it went.