After my twelfth relationship in as many weeks fell apart, I realized what the problem was: millennials. We’re so preoccupied with swiping right and doing a twitter that we have no time for what really matters: me.
Is it uncool to ask for your nude pictures back? Do you take a “selfie” at a funeral, even if it’s your own? What is a ‘Mark Zuckerberg’? These are questions that our grandfathers didn’t have to worry about — they were too busy fighting dinosaurs. The 21st century has ruined dating, not just for my generation, but also for me. And for the sake of thickening my portfolio of narrative first-person essays, I set about to change that.
Ding! Click! AhOOOOGA! The sounds of technology were all around me as I sat across from my then-girlfriend Kelsey at a coffee shop. She was in the midst of explaining why we had to stop seeing each other. I was boring, she said. I told her it was her technologically overstimulated brain that made her think that. Maybe if I came with a Facebook Share button, she would like me. She said I was an extreme narcissist who had to make everything about himself, and left. Luckily, I pulled out my laptop and wrote two more pages of my screenplay, bringing the total length to two and a half pages. I texted Kelsey about my progress, but her only response was Read: 12:56 AM.
Isn’t it amazing how the internet is supposed to connect us, but it actually disconnects us? Wow. Deep. [NOTE TO GRAPHICS TEAM: For the illustration with this article, I’m envisioning a bunch of businessmen in suits with iPhones for heads, looking down at glowing human faces in their hands.]
I turned to media outlets with their fingers on the pulse of millennial discourse: BuzzFeed. Medium. WebMD. They spoke of a brand-new phenomenon: hookup culture. Unlike our grandfathers, who married the first women they saw, millennials hook op with dozens of people. Hooking up, I learned, is the Twitter of relationships. I decided to try it myself.
I wrote to the developers of Tinder. Hello, I’d like one account, please. And make it attractive! They sent me an account with all the trimmings, and I was on my way. Before I knew it, my first match popped up. Her name was Sabina, and she was a professional model. Her bio said that she was a chatbot from HornySingles.com, and she wasn’t looking for anything serious. Just a man with many flying dollar bill emojis. I set out to save her from the millennial Hook Up culture.
I wrote to Sabina explaining that I was a tenderhearted essayist whose English degree hadn’t led to the lucrative publishing jobs I knew I deserved. She responded with her rate — $0.99 for ten minutes, then $4.99 for the next ten. A steal at half the price! Unfortunately, when we talked over Skype, Sabina took off her clothes immediately. I told her I couldn’t do this “hooking up” thing. It wasn’t the kind of content my readers — wealthy forty-something white people — wanted. I asked Sabina if she had a disease or criminal record I could help her get through. She disconnected.
After that, my heart was (as my millennial peers would say) a frowny face.
As I reached the end of my allotted word count, I asked myself what I had learned, and whether I could distill it into a compelling subtitle. In the end, only one thing was clear: this is the worst generation, and iPhones are singlehandedly stopping me from getting laid.