“Are you online?”
“As far as I’m concerned, the internet is just another way of being rejected…”
-You’ve Got Mail
By Ophelia London
I don’t think I’m alone when I sheepishly admit that I’ve dabbled a bit in the elusive world of online dating. Just once. Okay, twice. Both times I thought I’d met a normal, likeable guy, and ended up deleting my account, changing emails and coloring my hair because they were weirdos. (Okay, I was going to color my hair anyway.) Despite this, however, I adore hearing success stories of two people finding each other in the seemingly bottomless vortex of cyber dating. And I love the idea of first getting to know someone through letters—the words before the picture, so to speak. It’s kind of like The Voice’s blind auditions. We only “hear” the words on the other end of the letter. Not until we feel comfortable and secure do we move on to the big commitment of face-to-face. If we’re lucky, we get Adam Levine. 🙂
As an author, of course I love the written word. A few of the sharper guys I’ve dated know this and use it to their advantage. They know how to really get under my skin is to write me a killer love letter. I’m especially a huge sucker when he takes the time to find an actual piece of paper and scribe the letter by hand. (Cue goose bumps!)
This got me to thinking… Is the art of letter writing—more specifically, love letter writing—a thing of the past? Has it gone the way of square-toed boots and Barry Manilow?
In Falling For Her Soldier, my two characters, Charlie and Ellie, connect online before meeting in person. At first, they are simply exchanging information about Ellie’s solider brother, who is stationed in Afghanistan with Charlie. But after a while, their emails turn personal; they open up to each other, they share feelings and stories, and slowly but surely, they begin to fall in love. It’s because of the openness in their emails—the way they can say anything—that allows them to develop feelings strong enough to see them through the missteps that happen when they finally do meet in person. The letters bonded them in a way nothing else could. (Cue more goose bumps.)
And I get it. Like I said, big sucker here for a love letter. Is there anything more touching and endearing that seeing the physical, tangible evidence, the “I love you” on a piece of paper? Yes, by hand is preferable, but even a printed out email does it for me. There is something romantic and exciting about waiting for that next message or letter to hit your inbox. The anticipation of what he might say next.
So, what do you think? Is the love letter dead? Or is written romance still alive and thriving in this virtual world?
Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes. Ophelia is the author of Definitely, Maybe In Love, Abby Road, and the Perfect Kisses series including: Playing At Love, Speaking of Love, and Falling For Her Soldier (Jan 2014). Visit her at http://ophelialondon.com. But don’t call when The Vampire Diaries is on.