Every Thanksgiving, my family has a tradition (as I’m sure many others do) of going around the table and listing what we’re thankful for this year. It’s a wonderful ritual and allows us to reiterate how amazing family is and how life would not be the same without each other. I couldn’t ask for a more poignant way to show my thanks.
This year, of course I am thankful for my parents, sister, and Jeremy, who have supported me through thick and thin, even when I told them that I was quitting my job in economics to start my own business. (Though, I have to say, my parents were a lot more supportive after they learned that I had bought myself good health insurance… that’s what parents are for, right?) But this year, I am thankful for something else as well – technology. In this day and age, we can do anything with technology: read a book without flipping a single page, text a friend to let him know we’re running late, look at all of our ex’s Facebook pictures (wait a minute… that’s not advised!), and even find a date.
In our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, it wasn’t quite as simple as:
- Sign up for JDate.
- E-mail some people.
- Meet for a drink.
My parents were next-door neighbors. My mom was a teacher, and my dad was home from law school for the summer. (She was five and a half years older than he was!) She always saw this guy next door looking out the upstairs window while he appeared to be studying and wondered who he was… and whether or not he was Jewish. One day, my dad’s brother said hello as she came out of her apartment. She asked who he was, and he told her that he lived next door. She said, “No – that other guy lives next door,” and my uncle informed her that he was the “other guy’s” brother. My mom, chutzpah and all, then said, “I don’t normally do things like this, but would you and your brother like to come with my friend and me to a concert tonight?” The whole night, my mom didn’t know who she was supposed to be with – my uncle or my dad. At the end of the night, my uncle said to my mom, “I’ll call you.” Scandal of all scandals, my dad beat him to the punch and called my mom first. (It was all good. My uncle was only in town visiting.) And the rest is history. In March, they will have been married for 33 years.
As a side note, when my mom was trying to determine whether the brothers were Jewish, she asked my uncle what his last name was. When she heard “Ettin,” she asked what kind of name it was, and heard my uncle’s response as “Sicilian.” Surprised, she asked, “Sicilian?” He responded, “No, it’s silly.”
Let’s compare that to my experience. I signed up for JDate. I went on lots of dates. I e-mailed Jeremy. (Yep – I e-mailed him first.) He responded two weeks later. (I still make fun of him about that.) Some witty banter and calendar-matching later, we had a date. And the rest is history.
So this Thanksgiving, in addition to being thankful for my wonderful friends and family, my health, the success of my business and my clients’ relationships, I am also thankful for the technology we have that allows us to meet the person of our dreams, one click at a time.
Feel free to comment on this post with your parents’ meeting story!
Erika Ettin is, as the Washington Post has noted, a “modern day Cyrano.” She is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people with all aspects of online dating. Check out her interview on NPR here. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.