April 15, 2015

Dating Advice You Should Probably Ignore: The Anatomy of a Text Message

Sometimes, when it comes to matters of dating, the text message is a vital part of early communication.  This is the truth of the world we live in.  A world in which no phone calls are made ever, and most communication is done through abbreviated text messages.  Because of this, a text message can make or break whether or not you see a person again.  It's all about timing and word choice.  And punctuation and emoticons.  Never underestimate the importance of a well placed emoticon.  And never forget that the first text makes the first impression, which lasts forever.  Or something like that.

The good thing about sending a text instead of calling someone you're interested in, is that you have time to collect your thoughts and think about what you want to say.  The bad thing about sending a text instead of calling....is exactly the same.  I've seen friends (guys and girls alike) consulting each other as to what they should say in a text, panicking as time progresses and the proper response time window is closing.  Someone somewhere made up a rule that you're not supposed to respond to a text from a potential date right away, but at the same time you shouldn't wait too long to respond either. It's a balance of showing interest, yet not seeming too eager.  The person who made up this rule is terrible.  There is no way of knowing when the perfect response time is.  There should be an equation for it.  Science should get on that.

This all sounds completely ridiculous, and it is.  It really is.  But, we all do crazy things in the name of love, so I must add "spends twenty minutes composing a text" to that list.  For example, this is a text that a guy that I was interested in sent to me:

It was good to meet you today.

I was excited to get the text, and then I got down to business figuring out how I should respond.  The following went through my mind:

What do I say to that??  I guess it's best to just repeat what he said back to him:

It was good to meet you, too.

But that sounds so boring!  I should ask him out.  I don't have to wait for him to ask me out.  I'm going to ask him out.

We should hang out some time!!!

Wait.  Don't use the word hang out.  Should I use the word "date"...or is the word "date" too serious?  Also, too many exclamation points...

We should hang out some time.

That's pretty good.  Maybe I should suggest where we should go...

We should hang out some time.  In my pants.

AHHAHA I'm hilarious.  Must delete that before I accidentally send it.  Okay - deleted.  Maybe a more appropriate location.

We should hang out some time at a bar.

No.  That sounds like all I do is hang out in bars.  Thank god he doesn't have an iphone.  Otherwise he could see how long it's taking me to type.

We should hang out sometime in LA.

That's vague enough.  Perhaps I should put a smiley face so it's a little flirty.

:) We should hang out sometime in LA. 
We should hang out sometime in LA. :)

Each smiley face position has a very specific meaning.  But, I feel like the second one is a little TOO flirty.  WHERE DO I PUT THE SMILEY FACE?!  What about combining?

It was good to meet you, too. :) We should hang out sometime in LA. 

Perfect.  Although...I hate when guys just say "we should hang out" and don't say when.  It's so open ended and lazy.  More specific?

It was good to meet you, too :) We should hang out sometime in LA.  I'm free Friday or Saturday night!!!!

Too many exclamation points again.  More like desperation points. But WHY do I even care?  You know what?  I will use those exclamation points.

It was good to meet you, too :) We should hang out sometime in LA.  I'm free Friday or Saturday night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah.  I see it now.  That is way too many exclamation points.  It looks like I'm yelling via text. Or insane.  Which isn't far off.  What would I write if I said exactly what I was thinking?

I think you're adorable and I would love to go on a date with you this weekend.  But not a date that involves eating melted cheese, because I hate melted cheese.  I need to put that out there because I know it's a deal breaker.  I also don't like being picked up because I was accidentally punted once. It's a long story. Everything else, I pretty much like.  And I'd really like to know what you like, or just anything about you really.

But the rules forbid me to say such honest and forward things. Or to write a text that looks like a novel. But....what if I defy those rules?  What's the worst that can happen?  Why can't I just say what I really mean when it comes to love?  You know what, screw it.  SEND.  I did it.

So, I was really proud of myself for sending that text.  It was a modern love note.  And I realized how freeing it is to not care.  Not in a complacent way, but in a way in which I don't worry about things I can't control.  There's a lot of power in saying what you mean.  If your potential date doesn't respond, the worst that can happen is...they didn't respond.  And even then, you at least know you told the truth.

I spent the next few minutes dancing around my apartment, raising my phone in victory.  Until I realized that while I was dancing I hadn't locked my phone, and I accidentally sent the toilet emoticon in a second text to the guy.  Why.  WHY!!!  Damn you emoticons, damn you.  Of all the emoticons to accidentally send, it had to be that one.  I stared at the toilet emoticon for a long time, willing it to be erased.

But then I thought, I am the type of person who accidentally sends toilet emoticons in text messages to boys.  And that is okay.  And you know what, that toilet emoticon got me a date.