Online instead of the linden tree
How complicated things used to be when it came to finding the right woman or the right man. Even the meeting place itself: Where should new sweethearts meet? Where were they safe from detection? At the well in front of the gate? Beneath the "linden tree"? Of all places. This is where their puritanical parents themselves had once kissed. They were warned.
These days we just type in www.partnersuche.ch. Or partnersuche.de for those who prefer to cast the net further afield. No good for kissing but perfect for an introduction. One in ten German men finds the love of his life, wife or partner via online flirting. And the same is true of German women, of course. A track record which puts that old linden tree in the shade.
Of course all the cultural pessimist can see is decay and loss of immediacy. At the same time, of all people, the guardians of western culture ought to see: on the Internet we achieve a closeness, so pure, so spiritual, like at one time in the minnesong and later on in romantic love letters. Provided we don't botch things up by rushing to supplement our amorous e-mails with photos, we put our faith in the allure of language alone. Isn't this what all beautiful minds always dreamed of? That it is not the external appearance which decides love but instead the inner worth which is revealed irresistibly in the form of poetic words?
As much as this realisation might need some getting used to: there is no more romantic place for lovers than the Internet. Nothing but words. Simply texts. Their magic can work unimpeded, inflaming passion, before the eye sees the real figure. But what does "real" mean? Of course, texts can be full of lies. This deceit is soon blown apart. And people fare better in online flirting than is normally the case. But "better" need not be lies and deceit - it can be the truth. Looking for the seductive words many people discover in themselves a few chords which do not get the chance to be played in everyday life - alluring, reflective, humorous. The words do not recount in banal fashion what the man is doing and what he has; they bring to the fore how he could be if he were to make a bit more of an effort. Now he makes the effort, at the time of writing the man is as he could be, and this is what ignites the passion of the woman. And vice versa.
Passion does not startle whenever men and women meet for the first time in the flesh. The potbelly, receding hairline, the Valais dialect; all that is not important, and for that reason he writes e-mails like a poet. He is basically a fine fellow.