It’s time to farewell the awkward teen pash. With that farewell, we’ve lost the very foundation of the face-to-face hook-up. And that, humankind, could be the end of civilisation as we know it.
According to a report by The Daily Telegraph, online dating app Tinder is capturing a growing teen audience, with most gawky teens now opting for instant messaging, over instant attraction at the school tuckshop line.
“…Surveys show the Tinder app, which has a section for 13- to 17-year-olds as well as one for over 18s, is being used by more schoolkids than Australian singles over 35.”
Apart from the obvious danger of children potentially interacting with adults in a sexual environment there is precedent being set among our young folk, and maybe old folk too, that dating is nothing more than a well chosen sequence of emoticons.
(Which is, admittedly, a strong skill.)
It is with great sadness that I announce: this could be the end to awkward teenage dating as we know it.
Some might think that your teen years are merely used for growing into your teeth; or learning how to lie to your parents without getting caught - but they're wrong.
Your teenage years are for learning how to Romance.
Not the lovely, mushy, Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romance we (hope to) experience as adults, but the truly cringe worthy romance that you must master as a teen. Think of it as Level One in the game of successful love.
From the moment your best friend's voice breaks, to the last dance at your high school formal, these years of teenage dating will be a Navy Seal collision course of cruel fails, exhilarating successes and relationship learnings.
You will discover that, yes, there is such thing as too much bronzer - but also master the art of French kissing without losing your chewing gum.
Perhaps one of the most important skills that is set to disappear, however, is the Pick Up Line.
Invariably, it was the male faction who struggled the most with mastering the Pick Up Line.
In the younger grades, it generally took form as a taunt. My personal favourite was being called 'five head' by one young dude who keenly observed my large forehead. I can't remember doing much beyond just blinking at him from behind my Converse reading glasses trying to unpick exactly what 'five head' meant, and mulling over what the appropriate response should be.
In older grades the Pick Up line was dramatically simplified to three small words: 'Wanna make out?'
I remember the squealing-teenage-girl anticipation that used to surround these mixed events - parties, school dances, the school bus, Westfields - in which you would actually, really, totally have to SPEAK to a boy. Not just that, but maybe try and hold hands with or even KISS a boy. It was simultaneously terrifying and wonderful.
Skills were learnt.
Oh and, what important lessons they were: sparkly Lipsmackers, for example, were off-limits during pash sessions. School uniforms are never cute, no matter how high you try and hike the skirt up. And never, EVER let your dad answer the phone when your crush says he's going to call your house.
I mean, these were the years I really started to grasp the why females dance in a group around a handbag, or how feigning the need for a liquid beverage does attract the attention of the opposite sex.
These are lessons that cannot be communicated in 140 characters or less, people.
Watch this Tinder match goes nuts after a woman cancels their date. (Post continues after video)
I remember rocking into a school dance, age 12, with the most furiously crimped hair, a tight, black, sparkly jumpsuit, and more make-up than the stage cast of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. I strutted in feeling like a rockstar, and shuffled out feeling like loser. Not one boy had asked me to dance, let alone tried to shove his tongue down my throat. I was devastated.
Alas, it was a learning curve. As my mother so gently pointed out, maybe my getup was a little...scary? Maybe the boys were intimidated? As despondent as I was I refused to accept her suggestion, running instead with my own interpretation. I liked my outfit. It was the boys who had the issue.
The lesson learnt? Only fabulous men could ever love fabulous women.
Lessons are just as important for the lads.
After all, how will they ever learn that using an entire can of Lynx prior to a social engagement will result in a 2m radius of toxic no-go zone? Or that jabbing your tongue in and out of a girl's mouth is not actually a pleasant experience?
The nerves, the sweaty palms, the stumbled words - these are all part of the long journey towards actually being able to pick someone up. And certainly part of the even longer journey again to being able to make someone fall in love with you.
I am one of those rare mutants who was born into a non-tech society, only to emerge 27 years later as a fully-fledged tech addict like the younger generations. We look and talk the same, but we just happen to remember life before Facebook.
It's for this reason that I beg the teens to throw down their iPhones and pick up a can of Impulse instead. Stop writing on people's Facebook walls and start knocking on their front doors! Use your phone for its actual purpose, and CALL your crush's home phone, and nervously ask Mrs Harrison if you can please speak to Jack thanks?
Teen years are made for feeling embarrassed 90% of the time, and is a crucial period to being able to move forward into a marginally less adulthood.
After all, if you don't pass Level One...you'll never make it to second base.