I used to babysit for a worldly kid. One day, his mother (a screenwriter) texted me while I was babysitting, something simple like, “can u stay late?”. Her kid asked to see the message when I told him it was from his mother.
“I think it’s funny that your mom uses ‘u’ instead of ‘y-o-u’.” I said to him.
He was a spunky little thing. “Ugh, I know, right? Like, c’mon Mom! Your job is that you’re a writer. It’s not hard to add another two letters.” I think about this conversation often when I’m texting with menfolk.
I think texting is great for certain situations: keeping up communication with friends that you regularly have conversations with, sending addresses of locations that you’ll be meeting a person at, contacting someone when you know they’re busy (because you keep up with them on a regular basis). To me, it’s a great additional resource to a relationship that you already have. It shouldn’t be the core of the relationship.
I believe that texting may be the beginning of the inevitable downfall of mankind, as it’s already the downfall of gentlemanly behavior. It’s been my observation that in this day and age, heterosexual men are afraid. Afraid of commitment, of rejection, of giving something a go. Nearly every straight girl I talk to about their dealings with dudes has the same storyline as mine: waiting for a text, contemplating how to respond, wondering how long you should wait before you reply, making sure you don’t type too much, fretting over lack of response, worrying that he misinterpreted your words, wishing you’d sent nothing at all.
IT IS RIDICULOUS. Look, I quite enjoy the little endorphin rush I get from hearing the phone go off and looking to see the name of my current crush…but when that’s the whole thing? And it never progresses to calls? Or coffee/dinner/fuck, even drinks? What’s the point? We’re playing into this game that allows guys to be as flighty as they want.
Texts lack sociological undercurrents, don’t properly express innuendo or sarcasm, or can simply go unanswered if we detect emotion that’s a little bolder than we usually encounter on a daily basis. Admittedly, I express myself best though writing. But texting isn’t writing, is it? It’s short-form message relay. It’s modern day morse code. Cram as much information into as few characters as possible!
I was texting a boy I was into a few months ago, and I remember thinking to myself, “Okay…keep the text to under two lines. And don’t use punctuation, that’ll come off as weird.” That will come off as weird? Since when is punctuation weird? Why was I worrying that a complete sentence over 100 characters would paint me as some stuffy old lady? And why was I trying to come off as so aloof and careless? Grammar and a command of the English language are things that I expect from myself and the people I choose to spend time with…what did it say about the fact that I was making exceptions for myself and this guy?
And that said, I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I get nervous if I know that someone is into me but I’m not into them, and I thank the gods that texting exists so that I can be flighty and avoid hurting their feelings. My bad.
However, the more I realize that I’ve fallen into this modern trap, the more I’m trying to pivot. I don’t worry as much about texting “rules”. If a guy is weirded out by the fact that I respond to his message immediately? Fuck it. If I want to text him? I text him. While I understand that it’s human nature to be suspicious about a person who is immediately responsive (we’re built to enjoy the chase), I believe that overly-constructing a laissez-faire attitude is smug and pretentious. If I like you, I like you, and it’s really not a big deal. We’re not on the schoolyard anymore…technically, we’re adults.
So, dudes? Let it be known that I’m over “hey”s and “what r u up 2″s and “maybe lets hang out”s. It’s dumb. We should eat a fucking meal together. Converse. Laugh. Debate. Don’t be afraid; a night out doesn’t mean that we’re going to get married and have babies, it just means that we’re a higher form of human that can communicate away from the glow of a screen.