Modern maiden

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 09:52 10/08/2012

Today, we kick off a new blog, Modern Maiden, from Taryn Utiger, a young Witt journalism student with a refreshing take on life. We hope you enjoy what she has to say. But firstly, we asked her to tell us a little about herself.

"The lunatic, the lover and the poet" - that's going to be the title of my autobiography when I write it. Emma Stone will play me in the movie and Colin Firth will jump at the chance to be one of my partners. I'm Taryn. Born and bred in the Naki. My mother tells me the world became a brighter place when I was born 26 years ago, but I think that's only because I appeared with a flaming mop of red hair.

Despite what my mother says, I'm just a woman with a weakness for red wine, who likes to muse on the modern world and quote Shakespeare. Oh, and buy dresses. A girl can never have too many dresses.

I spent half of my life growing up on farms with my parents, the other half growing up with my grandparents in town. It's fair to say that's made me look at things in a rather interesting way.

My blog Modern Maiden will be gracing the Taranaki Daily News website every Friday. I will be writing about, well ... me, and the changing world of a young woman. Brace yourself for my insights into what I am learning about dating, careers, becoming an adult and shoes. Pencil Modern Maiden into your diaries because I'm looking forward to our Friday dates.

Taryn X

All it takes is a visit to your grandparents and it's clear - the digital age has ruined romance. We have all sat eager eyed to hear the stories. Great grandad walked six miles in the snow to visit his beloved, giving her a photo of him before he went off to war to fight for freedom.

They got married before their twentieth year and had children. Those children, our grandparents, met their love at a local dance. Hair curled and hands dressed in little white gloves.

Then our parents met, at a music festival, arms linked, daisy chains in their hair, singing 'Imagine all the people, living life in peace.'

I know you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. My generation is lamenting the loss of romance. Growing up with Disney movies us girls have romanticized the idea of romance, and yet we have swapped our little white gloves for manicures, stomped our high heels to demand independence, and now...well now we feel like we are missing out.

I had yet another birthday last week, and perhaps I'm just getting old and cynical, but I wanted to trade in my youth in exchange for hand written love notes and memories of holding a gentleman's hand while he walked on the outside of me on a sidewalk. Not seedy emails from a dating website and text messages riddled with english I can't even read.

Most things in our digital age are available at the flick of a switch, the click of a mouse or in an inbox of some sort. This technology, cooked up to make our lives easier, is feeding our ability to have much more meaningless contact, with many more meaningless people, all at the same time. Leaving us starving for a simple hand written love letter.

We know everything about an acquaintance being cheated on by her 'boyfriend' of two weeks. They aired their dirty laundry on Facebook, rivaling Shortland Street for drama. Yet, we know very little about our friends who are not online. The way we communicate and therefore the way we grow to love someone, has changed, and some of us haven't quite figured it out yet.

If by chance a young woman meets someone special in real life, or RL as it's commonly known online, it's not long before they have to fight the preconceived digital-aged idea that all women want to jump in to bed immediately, and behave like internet porn-stars. It almost makes you swear off men entirely.

But, as I write this, in the last few minutes I have updated my Facebook status, checked my interactions on Twitter, won an auction on Trademe, text my Mum and set up recordings of two movies on MySky, all while having a glass of Merlot. Alone.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I've fallen in love with technology and traded my romantic ideals for gadgets.

Perhaps someone will email me a picture of a single red rose. I'll make sure I keep it for my grandkids.

Who knows, in their day my emailed flower may be as rare as hand written love letters are today.

- Taranaki Daily News

38 comments
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Kyle   #1   10:55 am Aug 10 2012

Beautiful Taryn! I'm going to love reading this every week =D

Kieran   #2   11:24 am Aug 10 2012

I have to say that i agree with much of what Taryn talks about in regards to the proliferation of meaningless contact and interaction with people. But what i dont agree with is the notion that the digital age has killed romance altogether.

Romance is still alive and well in the hearts and minds of both men and women in modern society, its just that the traditional ideas of love and intimacy that our forbears shared have change substantially. Ill give an example; I am a musician. I like to write my own music, and on occasion (ok many occasions) i have found myself enamoured by a young woman who makes such an impression on me that i simply cannot just let her know im interested, but i absolutely have to write a love song for her in mind. Some people may call this old fashioned and out of touch, some even creepy, but to me, it is the pinnacle of my emotional expression to that person.

What i have found however, is that young women are extremely resistant to advances of a romantic nature (rather than a sexual one), it makes men like myself utterly confused and hurt when we are told our love letter or love song in this case is creepy, or it made her feel like we are moving too fast. If romance is what you want ladies, then by all means men can and do provided it. It is not dead, you just have to nurture it, and reciprocate when it is given.

Shaun   #3   11:41 am Aug 10 2012

How true.... I think back to the day I meet my partner.. first it was a dating site, then instant message followed by a video chat, from this we got to meet without any boundaries or stranger danger. How ever a simple acting class could turn an total ass into a prince everyone wants - luckily not the case, 3 years have now passed no civil union or "marriage" yet, but an engagement to boot... In somewhat I have enjoyed the chance I took with the digital romance, because I got to dig out a true love from under the piles of lies and drama... 3 weeks it took till we meet in the "RL"... and with the pre-chatting up. It made the moment of meeting as if we had known each other for a while.

Social media has help the people of the GBLT Community who don't maybe have access to the Clubs, Bars and social groups that the bigger cities have. And for that I thank them.

Ours may not be a true love story that a producer may pick up, but it is a true love story that has lasted 3 years and every single day to come.

From Two Fanboy-Social Median-Techno-Gadget-Geeks

hannahbelle   #4   11:51 am Aug 10 2012

Taryn, just fantastic - it made me quietly and happily smile to myself, an enjoyable read for the end of the working week. No doubt we'll need to catch up for a wine sometime soon!

Alex   #5   11:56 am Aug 10 2012

I agree with you wholeheatedly, Taryn. Dating is tough these days! Pre-husband, I met many a man online. They wooed me with their emoticon smileys and roses (--{-{@) but once we met in RL they never lived up to what they had portayed over the net. Cue handsome husband - our eyes met in the elevator on one of my first days at my new job. That surprise, heart melting, face to face meeting is something that could never happen online.

Bel   #6   01:10 pm Aug 10 2012

Finally, TDN is publishing a blog written by a young person that is worth reading! Good work Modern Maiden, can't wait to read more.

Alison   #7   01:13 pm Aug 10 2012

Well this whole article is extremely sexist and makes me sad. Taryn, men used to walk on the outside of the street not out of romance, but because it symbolized that they were better than us, stronger than us, and that we, poor weak fragile women, needed protected. It went hand in hand with the fact we weren't allowed into university, and had to stay home with the children. I don't know about you, but I want better than that from my own life. My second point (there's lots I wish to make about this ill written garbage but this will have to do in the space I have)is the very sex negative attitude you have about women "jumping into bed" and "pornstars". This is what we call "slut shaming". You are shaming women for embracing their sexuality and right to choose to live their life according to the radical proposition that...Sex is nice! and pleasure is good for you! And women have the right to choose to have sex if they want to, whenever they want to, and no one has any right to shame them! Anyway, I'll wrap it up here even though every sentence in this article is degrading to women, but please, for the good of our gender, stop writing.

Andy   #8   01:15 pm Aug 10 2012

Great first up blog Taryn, you've hit the nail on the head.

The art of romance has been lost, and while there is some benefit to that (no longer needing to buy endless dinners in hope of a first peck on the cheek), the thrill of the chase has also been lost.

I don't get involved in most of these modern technologies (no facebook page etc), but I'm learning that Facebook is a modern necessity when it comes to assessing potential matches.

What happened to the good old face to face Q&A???

JayneB   #9   01:17 pm Aug 10 2012

Brought a tear to my eye, bringing back the memories. I want my daughter to have those memories too and I'm feeling sad that she may never experience it. There are some good men out there, hopefully they read your blog and understand what you are trying to say and do something about it. The women's libbers have a lot to answer for. Beautifully written Taryn, I look forward to each Friday.

Kate   #10   03:08 pm Aug 10 2012

Your great!! we so do miss it all :) never mind want it all but still to be independent lol sometimes i think we set ourselves up to fail they(men) will never get it right......until of course you have the right one :)


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