NEXT LETTER >
Sometimes it seems that all we want from a relationship is for our partners
to be -- or learn to be -- as cute and nice as we are. To react in a consistent
manner to our stimuli. To learn to speak our language. To help us out by
getting snippy if we're not paying enough attention, yet to say "me love
you" from time to time, no matter what.
that's not a relationship, that's a Furby.
For those of you who don't have children whose lives you saved by buying
them one (i.e. they held their breath until you did), Furby -- who looks like
the three-way love child of an Ewok, a Gremlin, and Gleek -- is the latest
world domination strategy from Tiger Electronics. Last year, Tiger brought us
the Giga Pet (like the Tamagotchi), the world's most stressful toy. Now think
Giga with fur ... and a brain. As you interact with Furby, Furby will respond,
learn tricks, wiggle its ears, open its eyes and raise its ears when excited,
react to other Furbies (collect 'em all!), speak back and on its own, learn
English as a Second Language (first: Furbish). For real. Unlike Giga, Furby
does not die if ignored; instead, it whines for attention. So I'm not saying
you won't want to kill it.
But matter how you may feel about Furby, we are talking serious wizardry.
(And to think Breakup Girl held her breath until she got Simon.) And yes,
consumer-wise, Furby is the next Tickle Me Elmo -- which, by contrast, now has
all the appeal of the rotary phone (unless, of course, Furby turns out to be
the next Felicity).
As for those of you who grew up rolling hoops and playing catch with hog
bladders, don't forget that there is also: Adult Furby. Last week, BG got an
suspicious mass email hawking the artificial intelligence programs
"Virtual Girlfriend" and "Virtual Boyfriend." Not only will
these cyberBetties and Baldwins remember your name, your birthday, and your
likes and dislikes, they also "take off different clothes." (Think
Giga ... without fur.) Even more realistic: (1) "each time you start the
program...they have a different personality," and (2) "you can say
things that will upset them." Keen!
So what does Furby have to do with love, Breakup Girl style? First of all,
okay, okay, I want one. AS A TEACHING TOOL. The point: for worse and for
better, we all Furbicize in our relationships. Meaning what? That to some
degree, we grow and change and wiggle our ears in reponse to our partners'
stimuli. We develop learned behaviors, we acquire new languages (with words
But here's the key difference: we don't necessarily have a
"different personality" each time. Often, the things and theories
and habits that our little chips pick up from our first partner (such as
"I suck at relationships") carry over to the next, and the next --
thus getting reinforced, if not all but hard-wired. We develop patterns that
become so ingrained we don't even see them as patterns, and even if we do, the
idea of dismantling them seems tantamount to dismantling our very selves.
So, with Furbymania upon us, I've chosen this week to feature a hilarious
and inspirational letter about
Reprogramming Your Relationships
NEXT LETTER >