Textual Tension

Somewhere along the way I realized that handing out my number may not lead to a first date or even long “getting to know you” conversations.  World, let me introduce you to The Bad Boys of Texting and their shameless ways of modern day courtship.

Live communication > phone communication > email > text. So why have I spent the last day of my current relationship in the following ratio:

Live comm.: 0
Phone comm.: 1 (less than 5 minutes)
Email: 0
Text: 32

I thought about this after receiving a text that said, “thinking of you.”  My initial response was, “oh how nice” quickly followed by, “wait, why is he thinking of me? Is it because he just saw a photo of us that he loves? Or maybe he heard a beautiful song? Did he see a couple madly in love at the farmer’s market? Or is he a few beers deep with his hand down his pants?”

Not that I would be opposed to any of the above, but it dawned on me that I have no idea how to respond appropriately. Moreover, I really don’t feel that 32 texts have given me a better understanding of the person on the other end.

So when my best friend Abigail asks me how my current flame is burning, I pause. “Well,” I say. “I haven’t seen him in a week. But funny you should ask, I just got a text and he is THINKING OF ME with three exclamations points and a smiley face. He could just be checking me off his social contacts, but with that third exclamation point, who knows? He could be in love!”

She laughs. “I just want to know what is going on when he says he is thinking of you. I mean, where is his mind? Where are his hands?”

She gets it.

“And,” she continues, “when did excessive punctuation take the place of saying exactly what you fucking mean? I never learned that in English class. Why THREE exclamation points? Is he yelling at you? Does he have a naturally loud voice? Is the third point supposed to add just enough enthusiasm to make you forget that he hasn’t called for a week? Why is half of text conversation a guessing game? There’s nothing sexy or fulfilling about guessing.  And a smiley face? Seriously, I stopped appreciating smiley faces when I stopped getting stickers from the dentist.”

Good point. “That’s the thing, Abbie. We’re limiting our love lives to a 160 characters.”

“Absolutely. Our love has so much more to say.”

Starting relationships with text is total suicide. We have perfect textual chemistry, full of wittiness and poignant comments, and I’ll even admit the occasional emoticon does it for me.  Unfortunately, we’re creating a relationship that is impossible to maintain in person. You may not like that it takes me five minutes to come up with something sexy, which was fine on text, because I was “busy.” And I may not like that without three exclamation points, your voice is actually rather monotone.  But it doesn’t matter now, because you already texted me that you “sweat me” and a slew of sweet nothings that I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have been disclosed until date 15…had we actually been going out.

Who is the social-masochist that invented text anyway? After hunting you down on Google, Matti Mackkonen of Finland, the original Bad Boy of Texting, I’d like to thank you for helping me find my friends in a crowded bar, and evading long phone conversations with a few brief words. But what I’d really prefer is a commununication upgrade that AT&T doesn’t have a plan for.

(blog co-written by Abigail and Jessica)

Little Miss Sunshine

I recently re-watched Little Miss Sunshine, the quirky 2006 Sundance Film Festival gem of a movie…

Olive: Grandpa, am I pretty?
Grandpa: You are the most beautiful girl in the world.
Olive: You’re just saying that.
Grandpa: No! I’m madly in love with you and it’s not because of your brains or your personality.