When it comes to relationships, teenagers of today have it easy. Although the first text message ever sent was in 1992, it wouldn’t be until years later that the rest of the world got to do the same. In other words, those of us who were teens in the late '90s and early '00s lived in an entirely different world when it came to relationships. We actually had to be old school about things in many ways, although not quite as old school as our parents, of course.
So what type of stuff did we have to deal with when it came to our teen love affairs that this generation will never have to? Here are seven perfect examples of just how much things have changed.
1. Passing notes in class.
Passing notes to your boyfriend or girlfriend in class was an art in my day, and one that was perfected by the time you were 12. Because texting was still years away and getting through the day without telling your first boyfriend that you’ll never love this way again was completely unbearable, one had to pass a note to convey the sentiment ― in purple or pink pen, of course.
2. Someone picking up when you’re on the landline.
Gah! If only I had a penny for every time my sister picked up the phone to listen to my boyfriend and I chattering away about Nirvana or our big plans to make-out in his mom’s minivan later, I’d be a rich woman. If it wasn’t my sister interrupting my telephone love fest, it was my mother picking up to tell me it was time for dinner or I needed to clean my room. Awkward.
3. Waiting at least an hour to get any potential sexy photos.
It’s only been in the past few years that sexting has reached the mainstream and everyone and their mother is sending tantalizing shots of which Instagram would never approve. Back in my day ― Wow! I feel like my grandpa when I write that ― if we wanted to get a nudie shot into the hands of our boyfriend, we’d have to take the photo with an actual camera, drop it off at the photo store, cross our fingers that it wouldn’t be tossed out for being “indecent,” then place it in a top-secret envelope before we could get it to our main squeeze.
4. Trying to impress with a cool AOL messenger name.
Because we didn’t have texting, but needed to be in touch with our love 24/7, as all teenagers do, we had to take to our computers to do so, and more than not, AOL messengers was how we’d communicate. Depending on where you lived, you may have also had to deal with a dial-up Internet, which may or may not have been reliable. What do you mean I need to wait until the morning to talk to my boyfriend about absolutely nothing again?!
5. Having to start the CD over during a make-out session.
It wasn’t until 2001 that the very first iPod made its debut into the millions of teenage make-out sessions out there. Before that, if you wanted to listen to music while getting to second base, it usually involved having to stop at some point to either put on a new CD or start the one you’re listening to over again. Nothing says mood killer, like having to get up to put on the new Oasis album.
6. Meeting someone online and having it be considered creepy.
Remember chat rooms? I do. I never ventured into one, but had friends who occasionally did. In those days, meeting someone online was considered both creepy and desperate. Today, meeting someone online is far more the norm than meeting someone the old fashion way … like being set up by your families so you don’t lose the family money a la Jane Austen’s era.
7. Having to check in with mom and dad via a pay phone during a date.
The last time I used a pay phone was after Hurricane Sandy knocked out the power in the New York City, and we were all forced to call our family and friends to either find a place with electricity or let them know we were still alive. Just like my fellow East Village dwellers that day, I was surprised that it no longer cost a dime to make a phone call. In fact, I put about $4 worth of change in and still couldn’t make a call. Teenagers of today are so lucky they don’t have to deal with that madness when their out and about with their first love.