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Posted on November 19, 2012 by Flan

This happened last Saturday. Your phone was ringing. “Can’t talk now. On train. Will explain later,” you said hastily to Miele and then hung up. You were dizzy and trying to find balance, between the emotional tornado that had invested you in the previous two days and the fast and abrupt jerks of the Frecciarossa. Then you started texting her a thousand words a minute in order to tell her the tale of epic proportions, all the sordid details, the romantic expectations: You had met someone on line, had been messaging for two days, and had finally decided to meet half way. After having packed all the essentials in your bag – phone, charger, toothbrush, condoms, book – you were now heading to Florence to meet yet again another stranger. Now that a week has passed you can undoubtedly declare that you too have been hit by the new trend: falling virtually in love. Virtual love means taking buses, trains, flying, spending hours on the phone, getting naked in front of a computer, checking your mail every five seconds. And if you look at it closely, virtual love is essentially like having a boyfriend that you never go out with, and you end up spending most of the time alone, writing on various technological means. You just wonder if it is worth all this effort, all this physical solitude, all this money spent on travel, communication, dinners and drinks – by yourself. But in fact you have no choice, this is the way it is nowadays: everybody is at it. Even the relation with your girlfriends runs through the wireless lines: texts and pictures sent through the air, the sharing of messages from lovers and boyfriends, likes and dislikes, and all in order to finally pass it on to the next friend or publicly online through one of the social networks. You are a flâneuse, virtual love should suit you: you can still get lost in the city by yourself, and in the meantime make phantasy love to an imagined character, invented as you like, tormented, extremely witty, sophisticated. But, in actual fact, you find virtual love mostly frustrating and unsatisfying: after all it is nothing but – as Dalila wonderfully sang it – paroles, paroles, paroles. There is an advantage, though. Since virtual love is made mostly of words, you could exploit its nature and forward the same texts, pictures, music video links, book quotations to the next lover to come. This reminds you of that poem by Stefano Benni: “Sorry babe, I used our love song for my next date.” If you think about it, life and experience are built on a series of Copy and Paste. But if love is what you are really interested in, there’s only one rule: when you meet someone you like, delete the chronology and press the refresh button.