“Look at those girls posing with the duck lips,” commented a friend looking a couple of young ladies taking selfies whilst twirling their hair seductively and squeezing their lips into a fake kiss. Yes, it did look a little weird especially as I was sitting in a busy café bar on a Saturday evening. I just shocked myself.
I was sitting in a trendy “in” café bar on Vojnovic on a Saturday evening. Believe it or not that is the first time I had done that, there is a first time for everything I guess. Did I enjoy it? No, not really. In fact apart from the friends and their conversation it was mind-numbingly boring. It was all show and no glow. Young ladies wearing next to nothing and men flexing their arms on the frame of the doors for no reason apart from to show off their tattoos and muscles. It felt like I was sitting in an episode of “Croatia’s Got Talent” with everyone auditioning for the part of the sexiest person on earth.
And yes I know I did the same thing twenty years ago. And yes I did. It just seemed much more interesting then, but that was probably because I was drunk most of the time. As Danny Glover said in every episode of Lethal Weapon “I am too old for this shit.” I found myself doing a social study of the theatre that was unfolding before me.
“She might look a little weird but that is how this generation flirts – through Snapchat and Instagram – it is the ultimate version of safe sex,” I replied to the friend still watching the duckfaces in the corner. “Think of it as an advert and followers and likes as a currency,” I added. He nodded in agreement.
The generation gap between our table of over forties and the rest of the bar was apparent. I put on my glasses to read an SMS and my wife kicked me under the table “Now you look even older.” The truth was I really didn’t care. I had passed through the stage of being anxious about what other people thought and I certainly wasn’t trying to impress anyone. The steady stream of young “hipsters” arrived in taxis. The men strolled across the road trying to do their best John Travolta impressions whilst pretending to be busy on their mobile phones. Funny how the “cool” guys always get calls as they are entering a nightclub. Whilst the girls whipped their hips with a cracking motion the way a red-arsed baboon attracts a mate. A song rolled around in my head “You pretend you're high. You pretend you're bored. You pretend you're anything. Just to be adored.”
And everyone was stuck on their smart phones. The selfie twins in the corner, the table of boys who looked like they were still in high school, the group of girls who had ordered a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket and even the waiters. The blue luminous glow of touchscreens was ever present. I had the feeling that the high school boys were “liking” the duckface twins whilst sitting only a few metres away. In fact the more I glanced around the fewer and fewer people I noticed that were actually talking to each other. Yes, they were all communicating in one way or another but they were communicating via satellite.
“It is a generation gap,” yelled my friend over the thumping bass of the music. “We would take a big swig of Vodka and then go up to a girl and try and say something interesting whilst really we were as nervous as a turkey on Christmas Eve,” she added.
Now you have this safe distance. You can create an online image of a superhero or a super model. And whilst your alter egos talk to other alter egos you can hide in the shadows. “Thank God I was born into my generation,” I replied. And yes I know it sounds like I am just being an old grandpa. But the funny thing is that this generation will be the old grandpas of the future.
So how will they look at their children flirting in smoke filled bars. In fact, how will their children be flirting? Smart phones will be old news in ten years’ time, imagine what they will have in their hands or strapped around their heads or even surgically inserted in their eye balls! In fact, how will this generation actually have children if they don’t have time to put down their smart phones, grab some courage and actually start a conversation without having to add smiley face on the end. Yes, I am old school, and I am proud of it!