Love in the Time of Facebook: What Would Jane Austen Think?


     Times have changed for romantics. Those of us who ponder at every exchanged glance on the public transportation system or get a little gooey when we watch When Harry Met Sally are confronting challenges that past generations never had to deal with. For all of us who still think there’s someone out there whose farts we would put up with, even on Taco Night, there is something new in the air. And hopefully not gaseous.  

     It’s technology. Social networking has given us the opportunity to market ourselves, selecting flattering photos, poetic sayings and our foxiest friendships to post on our Facebook pages. We tweet our wittiest thoughts, blog our embarrassing admissions and re-blog the ones that we relate to. In today’s technological world there is more opportunity than ever TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF. And that is the chief tenet of flirtation, if I understand the practice correctly.

     To be specific, the potential for online overshare is tremendous. The number of unflattering, friend-zone-ing photos that your friends post to your wall is probably one too many to properly monitor. And anyway, you don’t want to be the girl that scans her Facebook profile for flirtability, do you? Well, I suppose it’s better than being the girl with a self-portrait wherein she’s gnawing a hunk out of a larger-than-your-head-sized piece of cheddar. Not sexy. The ability to Facebook stalk is alluring and the internet has made it hard to distinguish tall, dark and handsome from art school student with a great camera and deceptively good lighting.

     The internet has also made it easier than ever for insecure, neurotic types (see: people pleasers) to compare themselves to others. The number of places you check in to with whom at what time can be addictive. 

     With the temptation of social media glowing from our computer screens, I can’t help but wonder what some of our most romantic female writers would have to say about today’s Facebook-flirt culture. Don’t worry… if you can’t imagine it, I’ve written some examples for you. 

“You call that a sext?”

  Jane Austen

Dearest Elizabeth, did not he poke you only hours ago? It is that sort of uncouth display that makes him unfit for a Bennett. A young lady must ignore such advances if she is to ever hope to change her relationship status; that sturdy emoticon heart that every woman yearns for. Perhaps one day you and your sisters can be assured of as much.
Of course, Austen would check her 

Etiquette Manual

IF HIS FACEBOOK MESSAGING IS ERRATIC AND DELAYED: You cannot truly trust a man unless he is confident enough to post on your wall. That is the true sign of self-assurance and dignity. If he be stalwart enough to tag you in a post, you can be sure that a proposal of        marriage is soon to follow.


“Dude, we should totally skype sometime!”

Emily Dickinson

Two lovers radiantly meet
A hand, a glance to hold
Their union they must live-tweet
As lovers must be bold
Though Jenna612Flirty
Disapproves the match
There are, of course, one-hundred thirty
who favorite the catch.
Such sweet pairing, what full bliss
Lovers making the most
And when, at last, the pair may kiss
One’s mother will Re-post



“For sure. You should DEFINITELY tweet that. For the LOLs.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I creep thee? Let me count the ways.
I creep thee to the depth and breath and height
My wireless can reach,
Without disconnecting.
I creep thee to the level of Google Plus,
Which I still don’t completely understand.
I creep thee freely, as dogs pee in public;
I creep thee purely… as purely as Instagram will allow.
I creep thee with the passion put to use
In my old term papers, and with my procrastination’s commitment,
I creep thee with a creep I seem to lose
When other people walk into the room— I creep thee on Twitter,
LinkedIn, MySpace— and, if luck allows,
I shall find your unmonitored Xanga page
From seventh grade.

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