For those not in the know, I’m kind of obsessed with MTV’s “Catfish,” the show that brings people who have been talking online in a romantic manner for (usually) years together for the first time in person, for better or (usually) for worse. I highly recommend it, if only for the bromance of hosts Nev and Max.
So when friend Mackenzie sent along this Atlantic story months ago about a book that was basically catfishing in the 19th century, I knew I had to read it. The premise of “Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes” is simple: two telegraph operators meet through work — transmitting those dots and dashes of Morse code into the great beyond — start talking constantly, and then fall for each other, despite never having met in person.
I finally got around to it a week ago, during the 14-hour excursion that was my trip back from Vegas to D.C. I’d already finished two other books in this time span, so why not start another?
My only regret about this novel is that I didn’t read it sooner. It’s highly entertaining, with many misunderstandings and mishaps along the way. I understand why it would have been a bestseller for a decade (according to Wikipedia, anyway).
But the most interesting part is how prescient the author, Ella Cheever Thayer, was. There are a number of moments throughout the book when I thought, “Man, that is still SO TRUE.”
Here’s the part where it’s most evident, though:
We will soon be able to do everything by electricity; who knows but some genius will invent something for the especial use of lovers? Something, for instance, to carry in their pockets, so when they are far away from each other, and pine for a sound of ‘that beloved voice,’ they will have only to take up this electrical apparatus, put it to their ears, and be happy. Ah! Blissful lovers of the future!
You guys. She described CELL PHONES. IN 1880.