I’ve had my personal email account for about 104 years. Ok, maybe not quite. Definitely 17.
On the right runs a weary list of things to do and demands for my time and attention. On the left are the chapters of my life, stored away in tidy folders. I am the queen of folders – pictures of clothes/jewellery/shoes I might buy (I won’t), emails relating to magazines I’ve worked on (they might be useful, one day), and of course, some involve relationships that didn’t work out. These are the e-chapters of my life.
Casually browsing this morning, I dipped into a folder with an ex’s name on it. It was like whirling off in a time machine.
There were fond and funny emails about weekend trips away, entertaining tic-tacking as we made arrangements for dates, some ramblings about how great I am (from him, clearly), and some mushy stuff that can only be described as e-love letters.
“I can’t stop thinking about you,” he of times-gone-by, wrote. “I’ve never met anyone like you before. Intelligent, witty…” I’ll stop there before you gag. You get my point.
Of course, it all turned to grey, baggy, back-of-the-draw emergency undies several months later, but with selective memory and thick, rose-tinted glasses, they make for a quick-fix mood boost. For a few seconds, I transported myself back to those few months when I was the centre of someone else’s world. By day I was desired and pined for, by night I was a young, thin, entertaining firecracker.
I clicked into another folder and found more. “Thank you for such a wonderful weekend,” this one wrote. “My sides hurt from laughing so much. Can’t wait to…” I’ll leave that one there too. We’ll call these ones 'e-lust letters'. Lordee, I was apparently good.
Before the digital destruction of paper, lovers sat thoughtfully on rocks with the wind blowing in their hair, gazing out across rolling fields and penned poetry to each other declaring undying love. Then emails strutted into the party and a miffed Cupid turned off the wind machine in a huff and ramped up the bandwidth instead.
Watch the 'Godfather' scene from You've Got Mail below. Post continues after video.
A new study says an email is deemed more romantic than leaving a voicemail when asking someone out on a date. People have been quick to comment that it’s because millennials are digitally obsessed. I’d go one step further and say emails are 100 per cent more romantic than voicemails. And not just for millennials.
Unplanned phone calls are seldom welcome. Who wants to get an unexpected call while at work, or in the middle of something important (like watching The Project)? Not me. I want an email that I can read when I’m ready, re-read 65 times, and analyse the bejesus out of before crafting my reply.
Besides, voicemails get wiped after 30 days, or whatever it is, I never listen to mine. Emails can sit in folders gathering digital dust for nearly 20 years and can be dipped in to whenever the mood takes you. Inboxes are the new post boxes and if that’s where love letters now dwell, I’m happy with that.
You get one shot at a voicemail and few of us are one-take wonders. With an email, you can write, edit, dial it up, tone it down, throw in just the right amount of keen, jazz it up, sleep on it, and then press send. So much more under control – even if all that honing effort is probably not required. Plus, you can ensure its read, filed in a folder and like a good kiss, is never deleted. You’re leaving a memory in someone’s email for them to stumble across in years to come.
Often relationships don’t end particularly prettily, so it’s reassuring to read the giddiness that drew you to someone. Feel the buzz, the elation, passion and thrills before the thud of turmoil..
Yes, it’s good to talk. Yes, it’s good to be connected. But perhaps on this occasion, do not pick up the phone…And if I haven’t replied to your email yet, sorry, I got whisked off in a time machine.