Thinking about epistolary romancing for last week's column (Please mister postman), I wondered, Do romantic emails excite the same kind of response as the old-fashioned love letter? I used to think that they could not. Yes, the process of composing one is letter-like, but the speed of their transmission puts them into a different category. The young still embrace wanting, they being young and wanting being instinctual. But the pleasures of anticipation — not the pleasure anticipated, but the pleasure of anticipating – has to be learned, and nothing in their world teaches the young how to wait.
On the other hand, their brains seem differently calibrated than are those of people of my age. For them, an hour waiting for a reply must feel like a week does to us. No wonder they text instead.