Love this. Zombification of public spaces is a crazy phenomenon to witness, honestly. Without pretending to be busy on your phone, you HAD to be present. There was literally no other choice.
That said, I think “dating” nowadays has become mostly unbearable because of the apps. Energy between people is dismissed in favor of two-sentence resumes that are painfully witty and/or snarky.
It’s possible to stack dates with 3 people in a week, so then people get burned out and think “dating sucks.” Yes, it sucks. You’re meeting people randomly on the Internet. The only connection is between you is Verizon!!
In the 90s, I’d like to think that this fatigue didn’t happen. You got excited when you met someone dateable, because you knew the energy first, the resume second. And you probably met one interesting person every 2 months, not 10 grab-bag profiles in an hour.