I attended a wedding in New York last weekend. Without going into much detail / spilling too many secrets, I'll allow that it was a crazy time; many high school friends and acquaintences who hadn't seen each other in years were, um, reunited. Some were really excited to reconnect, if you catch my drift. When you haven't seen someone since high school and all of a sudden they can drink legally, flirt ably, and wear a tuxedo without looking like a clown, it's undeniably appealing.
Of course the whole time I could only think about the story I wrote early this year, "Are You A Retrosexual?" The story's gotten a fair amount of play, in Time magazine, on the New York Times language blog, and even internationally (a French newspaper is going to print it, and Jeff and I will talk about the phenomenon on "Get Connected," a Canadian technology radio program, on Saturday).
Several of the points I made in that piece resonated in these scenarios. Consider what "Gillian" had to say 10 months ago: "There's a level of familiarity . . . that can
actually make things awkward at first. Like, you're seeing this guy who
you've gone through so many years with, but now you're both naked. [It]
can be almost comical. . . . But it can also be amazing, because
there's this sense of connection that, although it might not be a true
love connection, is unique in that there's a finite number of people in
the world you knew in the high-school context." (I think several of the weekend's participants would agree today.)
Post-wedding, as we all nursed hangovers and dished details, the inevitable "what-now" conversation arose. Suffice to say, everyone has a whole new batch of Facebook friends this week. ("The popularity of social-networking sites —
okay, really just Facebook — has made retrosexing all the easier.
Whereas potential retros used to have to wait for their five- or
10-year high-school reunions to have old acquaintances fall into their
lap, now they can simply search Facebook for high-school classmates and
fellow college alumni, and re-establish contact without too much
gumshoeing," I wrote in January.)
Will these online connections lead to more long-term staying-in-touch? Only time will tell. But it certainly makes it easier to maintain the gigglefest -- to learn more about these guys and girls who otherwise might disappear again into the ether. (Would that be for the best? Another unanswerable one.)
(More Time-Phoenix connections: The Second Maine Militia meeting that Rick Wormwood wrote about in last week's Portland Phoenix showed up on Time.com on Saturday.)