Have been reading some of Napoleons love letters online this week, trying to educate myself in matters of love;
I particularly like this line;
“One night has taught me how far your portrait falls short of yourself!” which is a nice thing to write, especially as most portrait artists would take liberties with the (fee paying) subjects beauty, something that can still be a problem even this day and age when it comes to dating online and recent photographs.
In my mind I tend to think of Napoleon as the first Internet Dater, OK, I’m sure there were other men doing this before Napoleon but his letters are available online so he gets the award. What’s interesting is that whilst he was focusing on invading countries and organising massive armies, his thoughts were equally focused on the loves of his life, yes, loves, because there were at least seven , and I think it must be true what they say about power being an aphrodisiac and attractive to the opposite sex (and if you are into shortish megalomaniacs with allusions to ruling the known world then all the better!)
So Napoleon knew how to write love letters and he had the advantage of having his own couriers to deliver his missives so they got back and forth reasonably quickly between lovers.
So, unlike me then, my experience differed slightly. When I was a teenager I had penpals all over the world, (okay, America and Australia aka the English speaking parts of the world as far as a 13yr old boy was concerned) and little did I know that it was a pattern that was going to repeat throughout my later years. However, delivery schedules were erratic to say the least, sometimes it would take a month or two for a letter to arrive at it’s destination and taking up a hobby like invading countries to bring them a decent postal service was not an option to a 13 year old..well, not a careers option at my school, despite being a borstal :)
But as Bob Dylan sang, The Times They Are a-Changin’ and they have, as a young man in Norn Iron I tended not to date outside my local town, transport was a limiting factor and taking a two hour bus journey to your girlfriends house was a bit of an annoyance but as I got older (and more importantly, a set of wheels) I was able to broaden my horizons and broaden the pool of woman available for dating.
However, when it comes to long distance dating it seems things are moving much faster than I anticipated, even in the last few years there has been big changes in the dating malarkey. When I first started dating on-line I had to swap emails either at work or on my home PC and if I was away at a conference or on a road trip then I wasn’t able to connect and read/send emails, I went under the radar as far as my online amour were concerned. Phone calls were hellish expensive, and texting too, so long distance dating tended to have a lot of hurdles that dating locally didn’t have. Skype had only really kicked off and the quality of the calls very horrendous and not worth the effort, plus in this country at least, there was a reluctance to use the Internet for dating, it was viewed as slightly seedy and ‘not the done thing’.
That was then, this is now.
A few years later and how times have indeed changed, talk about a shrinking world, now we get our emails on our iPhones where-ever we are (unless like me, your office happens to be in the center of the ground floor of a six story building that is practically nuclear bomb proof) so we get emails almost instantly, we have IM, we have ways of making very cheap landlines calls and texts though-out the world and we have decent Skype and the obstacles to long distance dating isn’t are as insurmountable as they were even a few years ago.
And now of course we have social networking; Facebook and Twitter, which all makes it a hell of a lot more easier to keep in contact with your Josephine’s and friends, ask Napoleon, he was the trail blazer and apparently still is;