I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This is a repost from my previous blog:

My grandmother used to tell her grandchildren stories about the way things used to be when she grew up in Hazen, Arkansas. She told us about the Friday-night-sings they used to have where everybody just sort of showed up at her house and they all sat out on the front porch playing spoons and singing. She told us about how mothers used to watch out for each other's children and every child knew that if they got too far out of line, their mom was going to get a phone call. And she told us how people looked out for each other. When one family was low on food, another family just happened to have "a little extra."

This might seem a little too "hickish" for some in our modern society, but deep down, I think that most people long for such days. Remember the character named Wilson on the wildly successful sitcom called Home Improvement? He was Tim Taylor's eccentric next door neighbor. Wilson spoke in colloquialisms and quoted philosophers that Tim had never heard of before, but he had a gentle way of getting Tim to realize how self-centered he was. Tim responded by making the necessary corrections in his life and he always realized how important Wilson was to him.

Beyond the emotional bond that Wilson and Tim had, they watched each other's house during vacations, they attended each other's parties, and they hung out together in the local hardware store. They were very different people, but they cared enough to be involved in each other's lives.

With all of this in mind, not long ago, I read an article written by Greg Marago about a new website that made me shake my head. The purpose of the site is to provide a "service" for men who want to meet women. A man hires an "attractive, smart, vivacious" woman to accompany him to an event and the women serves as a way to "popularize him" among other females "and, if he's lucky, get him some action."  

"Sound like rent-a-friend?" Morago said in his article. "In a way, it is. But hiring someone to perform the roles or services that traditionally have been the responsibility of best friends is a growing trend. Need someone to take you to the airport, drive you home from a night of heavy drinking or help you score at a bar or nightclub? There are services happy to take your money to help you out.

"Aren't these things friends did for free? Isn't this the domain of your closest buddy or best girlfriend? Not anymore."

Thankfully, Morago found "pop culture expert" Susie Watson to quote in his article. Here's what she said: "If you look back, historically there was a time when a friend or neighbor was an absolute need; now they're a luxury. At one time, you couldn't survive in this country without good friends and neighbors. Today, what has happened is that these services have appeared, and because they've appeared, friends tend to sit back."  

Watson continued:

"It's not just because we're more busy. It's because we've become more self-absorbed. Think back to earlier times, when people would have dropped everything to help someone else. They wouldn't have said, 'I can do that next week.' They would have put their own needs aside to make themselves available now for others. It's a selfishness that sadly has become more a part of our daily lives. I don't think we expect as much out of our friends now."

Could she have nailed her analysis any better?


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