What is your dating life like right now?
Is it an endless stream of unanswered Tinder messages, a few unwanted dick pics, and a massive amount of uncertainty?
Do you find yourself chatting with a cute boy online, only to meet him person and end up completely disappointed? Was it mayyybbeee because you built them up so much in your head while texting, that the real deal was almost certain to never meet your grand expectations?
Ah. Expectations. Hello, killer of connection.
How can this be avoided?
Go off your initial attraction to someone.
Quickly assess that the man isn’t a psychopath and then meet him in a public place the very same day (after of course informing your girlfriends that you are going out with a stranger). The longer you text back and forth, the more opportunity you have to build up some fantasy version of him. Give the guy a fighting chance, cut the online conversation short, and choose a time to have a real life drink. Stat.
This is exactly what I did with Trey, once we were in the same city of course.
How did that look? Well babe, let me show you.
I pretend to fit in
but I rarely do.
Tuesday. Texting: The Demise of Dating continued… In my mind, his last message hadn’t required a response… I closed the conversation and enjoyed the evening without looking at my phone again.
In the weeks that followed, the conversation between Trey and myself had continued intermittently via iMessage, as opposed to Tinder. Contrary to ‘normal’ social interactions, our texts were a series of sexual innuendos and insults. It was sarcastic, witty, and flirtatious. Sometimes it was Trey who initiated:
And less often it had been me who initiated:
I never bothered to respond. A month later and I still hadn’t responded, yet Trey’s name had flashed across my phone once again. It was a short conversation, likely resulting from a combination of alcohol and anticipation, but it had made me smile.
And that had been the totality of our ‘getting to know each other’ via text. Our rare interactions were always succinct and flirtatious. We never engaged in small talk, we never asked each other how our days were, and we certainly never attempted to form any tangible ‘relationship’. We exchanged words with intention and we anticipated our interactions to be entirely sexual, yet strangely intimate. We both understood that our ‘relationship’ was purely one of proximity. Which is why, three months later on September 11th 2014, I received an impromptu text announcing his arrival in Montreal. We met that night in his hotel bar and the rest is history (Column 1. Champagne and the City).
Almost a year of radio silence had passed since our night together in Montreal. The single exception was when I sent out a mass text indicating that my phone number had changed from a West Coast to Quebec area code:
I never responded to Trey’s message; I was certain he would not evaluate my absence of a response as a lack of interest.
There are three reasons why I could be so confident about this:
1. Text response time doesn’t matter. For real.
I am well aware of the paranoia that plagues the mind when someone fails to respond to a text message. I am also aware of the disdain women have when men respond too quickly. Everyone seems to have an odd fixation on text message response times and what it means. Apparently there are ‘rules’ on who is supposed to message first, the amount of time one should wait before sending a response (often given as a formula such as [[response time – send time] x 2], or some similar variation). Combine that with the confusion over whose responsibility it is to ask someone out on a date, who should message after having sex for the first time, what it means to meet the best friends or family, etc., and we have created the perfect storm of (unnecessary) complication.
2. Text message content – he means what he says. Really.
This is a common obsession. Was that text sarcastic? Playful? Flirtatious? Disinterested?
This uncertainty often ends in the recipient overanalyzing every word written. For example – are there enough emojis (i.e. the apparent comprehensive mood indicator? Did they use the dreaded one-word responses such as ‘k’? Or worse, did you receive the ‘Can we talk?’ text.
My thoughts – emojis don’t matter. I have also conceded to Chelsea Handler’s comedic evaluation that: ‘If you text me ‘k’ I have to assume you want to kill me’ – which led me to circumventing any potential damage by now responding ‘kk’. Apparently this goes over quite well… mind blowing – right? Who know what an extra ‘k’ could do for the texting world.
3. If a man wants to see you. He will.
I don’t think an explanation is necessary. Simply put – there is no need for stalking of any kind ladies, trust me.
As a testament to my theory, despite my silence to the ‘change in phone number’ text I received, Trey messaged me a few weeks later to announce his participation in a bachelor party that would occur across various towns in Eastern Canada, Montreal included. He made it absolutely clear that he expected my attendance in their nightly activities, not even remotely a request. I had no desire to decline. After a year long intermission, this would be our second date and the first was burned into my memory in the most pleasant of ways. Even better – I had a vacation to British Columbia planned for a week from today which meant his arrival would kickstart my vacation plans. I couldn’t imagine a better way to initiate the fun.
How many of you ladies cringed when you read the texts exchanged between Trey and I?
Why did you cringe? Was it the explicit content? Was is the chauvinistic demeanour?
If it was, no shame in that- our type of interaction isn’t for everyone. But – as I described, I knew what I was getting myself into from the very beginning and I had no expectations for Trey to change. I liked his arrogance, I found it attractive.
Why? Because he had a strong personality and he was being authentic. It might not be the type of authentic that makes you want to lock him down in a relationship (which is is precisely how I chose men – because I know I would never marry them) – but at least he is being himself. That type of man has a story, one that I am interested in finding more about.
The point is – I didn’t expect him to change into Prince Charming. What I saw is what I got. I didn’t anticipate his messages. I didn’t overthink his silences. I didn’t pressure him into a ‘lets get to know each other discussion’.
My texting is direct and explicit. Say what you want, when you want.
Who cares who messaged first? What does it matter if I respond instantaneously after a man sent me a message? (which happens more often than not as I am always on my Mac). Does it really matter if I fail to respond at all? (equally as likely as me texting back immediately) In my opinion – neither situation is detrimental, there is no such thing at texting rules. I doubted men were overthinking it, they aren’t judging my speedy typing or fixating on my silence. If anything, they appreciate my transparency and revel in the lack of complication.
And babes – that mindset saves me a lot of time and guesswork. It also happens to be quite attractive to men – I’ve polled and counted the votes.
So – what is your texting style?
Do you need constant interaction? Do you over-analyze the words for some hidden meaning, feel your heart race at a silence, or place to much value on the chivalry game (i.e. you text me first because you are the man)?
No shade – we all have our quirks and things to work on, but you need to really be honest with yourself about whether that type of behaviour is serving you.
Another simple fact – if you don’t like the way a man texts (i.e. too little and yes – in some cases – too much), if you don’t like his attitude or sense of humor via text (yes, they usually mean exactly what they say), if you can’t stand the arrogance, entitlement, sexual innuendos, or just conversation in general – a heads up ladies: it’s never going to change so either get out immediately or just enjoy it for what it is and stop expecting him to transform into prince charming.
Or, you could just talk to them in person while out on a real date.
Illustration credit: Megan Hess; @meganhess_official
Quote: Atticus; @atticuspoetry