One thing I love about social networking sites, read Facebook, is the ability to reconnect with friends, especially those you last met years ago.
Not even school alumni programmes have quite the same capacity to bring together almost everyone you have encountered in your life.
While taking advantage of this technological benefit, I have noticed how easy it is to reignite old flames just for the heck of it, chat up the girl who sat behind you in Primary Six, exchange messages with that other girl from a neighbouring school who faithfully replied your letters, or toy with the idea of calling the first girl you ever kissed and your college loves.
You may not go the extra mile of physically meeting, but you can look, talk back and laugh about the folly of youth within the safety of cyber space, even harmlessly catch up on what has been cutting in their love lives since you said adios.
If your love life isn’t anything to brag about, trying to reignite the flame may seem enticing. After all that time, you two got along so well. Who says that same magic cannot be rekindled 10 years later?
Folly, I call it. You see, whenever I look back at the people who gave me sweaty palms and sleepless nights trying to write poetry 10 years ago, most times the thing that crosses my mind is “what was I thinking?” I know I am not alone.
However, I greatly admire people who ended up marrying their first loves or high school and college sweethearts.
An everyday inspiration is my friend Bernard who married his high school sweetheart immediately we graduated. Unfortunately, these days marrying some guy or girl you have known forever is so outdated. Clearly, people who hook up at 15, 19 and 21 are not expected to end up married.
I have not bothered to do a follow-up on all the college romances I knew about but I wouldn’t bet on many of them ending at the altar.
For most men, getting married at 20 something is losing it. Thirty-two I’m told is the magic number. How is a man going to invest in his friends, families, stock market, house, car and at the same time invest in a hard-to-please girl who will settle for nothing less than a Rav4 as the ultimate proof of love and commitment?
Again immediately after college, most people have enough trouble getting a job and settling down to a career without having to think about going to negotiate on the number of cows to pay to the in-laws.
But despite the fact that we would not re-date leave alone marry most of the flames of our more innocent past, those relationships embodied a lot of what we nowadays long to have.
Part of me forlornly longs for the days I could risk being roughed up by the girl’s father and show up at her home; the days a girl would summon her entire friends and classmates to cheer you during your basketball game as if you were some star; the days a girl would do your entire school assignment in the name of love and hand it in before the deadline while you hanged out; the days one would withdraw their entire SFAR loan just to impress his new catch.
The beauty of it is that despite the fact that this love was foolish and immature, yet it was at most times more genuine than what we nowadays masquerade as love.
There was no pressure to fly her to Mombasa for Valentine’s Day, no preconditions for a car, and yes, no pressure to be anything more than the simple person you were. Oh, how I long for those days of simplicity.