Party of Two?

They’re words of wisdom that everyone should know: the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. One way to be romantic and spend quality time as a couple is to share a good meal together. There’s something about white linen table cloths, lit candles and being serenaded by live musicians that makes people forget about their personal problems and focus in on spending time with the person sitting across from them.

Until all of the sudden, something vibrates and a party of two looks more like a threesome.

It’s a problem that has taken over dinner tables across the country. Couples make plans to have dinner together but are too busy on their laptops, cell phones, tablets and other technological devices to pay attention to one another.

Ana Ogden, who has been married for 21 years, says she’s seen this phenomenon unravel in the past few years. She goes to dinner with her husband every weekend and says they have spent the last few months focusing their dinner dates on people-watching and observing how couples engage (or fail to engage) in conversation.

Ogden says that it’s become more like the idea of little kids engaging in parallel play, a psychological term used to describe young children in the phase where they seem to play more next to each other than with each other.

“They used to say that you could separate the married couples from the new ones because the married ones had nothing to talk about while those who were on their first or second date wouldn’t shut up,” she says. “Now it’s hard to tell who’s who because none of the couples around us are ever talking!”

Today’s generation has become accustomed to all sorts of technological gadgets ranging from iphones and blackberries to android phones and tablets and laptops to music devices. Lauren Coto, a 23-year-old journalist finds herself working 3 jobs and constantly having to check her phone. Her boyfriend, Carlos Alvarez, works in marketing and has 2 phones he has to keep track of.

“We usually go out for lunch and find ourselves paying attention to everything except each other,” says Coto. “As long as we’re both okay with it, it’s not a big deal. We both understand how important work is and being in each other’s presence is enough- at least for me.”

Desirae Garzia, 23, has worked as a waitress at several bars and restaurants in Miami since the time she was 16. She says this used to be a problem with the younger couples but that in the past year or two she has noticed that older couples have been adapting to this technology more than ever and the problem has spread to older customers just as rapidly.

“I actually had to tap a man on the shoulder the other day because both he and his business partner were so involved with their phones that they totally disregarded the fact that I was trying to take their order,” Garzia says. “I’ve seen couples text each other as they’re sitting across from each other, just to make use of their phones. It’s like a disease!”

Some think that this epidemic will spread beyond repair. Will couples replace real intimacy with a twisted version of it that might include Facebook messaging as opposed to posting public wall posts? While social media presents the idea that it brings people together, it is only a matter of time before people realize that it is contrarily tearing them apart.

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2 responses to “Party of Two?

  1. Starting with an “age-old” adage doesn’t quite capture attention. Start with a couple having dinner, until somebody’s phone rings and “that bond between the two is broken.” Or “Suddenly, the two- person dinner becomes a threesome.” Or “The two diners have been joined by a third party.”

    Not all fancy restaurants use white linens, candles or have live musicians, so it kind of distracts from the purpose painting a picture.

    “Something vibrates”- I get it, but could maybe be misconstrued as a naughty thing. A text message is received? An email requires an immediate answer?

    “It’s become more like the idea of little kids engaging in parallel play” -What exactly is “parallel play”? Is it a real psychology term or something? If you asked her that question during the interview, maybe you could paraphrase her answer, or look it up and write a sentence about what that means.

    Maybe have the pictures accompanying the text be off the side, instead of breaking straight through separate paragraphs; it doesn’t help with the continuity of the piece.

    While the last paragraph is not in 1st person, it sounds like a 1st person narrative opinion. It leaves the ending open-ended with the rhetorical questions. Maybe end in a more news-like, final way.

    Overall, it was well-written with valid quotes. Technology does get in the way of relationships, so the article made sense.
    Cheers!
    Suray

    • Thanks Suray. I made most of the suggested changes. I left the part about the vibrating because now I incorporated the word threesome, as you had suggested, so maybe it’s not so bad that it sounds a little provacative. I explained the quote by paraphrasing and removed the words fancy restaurant so now it’s just a restaurant that fits the description that I gave. Thanks for your help!

      -Monica

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