Texting 101

Dec 19, 2013 by

          Just over a week ago, my little sister and I went downtown for burrata and roasted grapes at Campagnolo. Beside us sat the most awkward pair of first daters that I’ve ever eavesdropped on (and I eavesdrop a lot!). Amused by how uninterested these two were in each other, my sister and I exchanged raised eyebrows and I-can’t-believe-they-just-pulled-out-their-phones-again glances as we cut through our appetizer. We were dying to get back to the car so our silent communication could go verbal.

          Upon leaving the restaurant, the door barely closed behind us when I burst, “Oh my God! That was one of the most brutal first dates I’ve ever witnessed! I felt awkward for them! I’m having flashbacks to my Snakes & Lattes date,” I said as I dramatically fanned myself.

          “I felt so bad for the girl!” my sister said. “The guy was so full of himself, and he would not get off his phone!”

          “Her? I felt bad for him!” I exclaimed as I unlocked the car doors and got into the driver’s seat. “She was such a bitch! She barely answered his questions, and she texted throughout most of dinner,” I said in his defense. “Ugh! Other than in emergency situations, use of phones on dates is unacceptable.”

          “Did you see his legs?” my sister asked as she stretched her seatbelt across her chest.

          I laughed at her randomness.

          “His legs were crossed! They were crossed! Like, come on, could he be more gay?” she questioned rhetorically.

          My laughter persisted. (FYI: This pretty lady gets her hilarity from her older sister.) “What I don’t understand is why the hell they would order dessert. They were so bored by each other,” I said while starting the car.

          “Yeah, and it’s not like his money is going to impress her enough to go out with him again,” my sister continued to hate on the guy.

          I began driving toward the Gardiner. “That in there is exactly why you need to start dating now that you’re in high school, babe. I didn’t date in high school; but, if I knew what dating in my twenties was going to be like, I would have been a lot more proactive! Remember them. They are twenty-something dating. You need to start now!” I urged. “It’s so easy to meet people in high school. You have a lot of friends that you see every day. The close proximity and frequent contact makes school an ideal setting for feelings to develop. I didn’t take advantage. You still can!”

          “There’s no one hot at my school. All of the hot guys go to Aquinas, which makes me so mad because I almost went there!”

          I sighed. “That’s what everyone says about their own high school. I’m sure there are hot guys.”

          “Yeah, in Grade 11,” she retorted.

          “So befriend them! They’re only one year older than you!” I encouraged.

          “We don’t have the same lunch,” she explained.

          Aw, high school boy problems, I thought to myself with a smile at the memory of my own high school days. Remember when different classes or lunch periods were the biggest barriers between you and your person of interest? I’m barely in my mid-twenties, and conflicting schedules have already been replaced by wedding rings. (Yup, still traumatized.) Talk about inaccessibility.

          “That sucks, babe,” I empathized before moving the conversation to texting: “Hey, when you’re busy, do you think you need to explain to someone why you’re not texting them back right away or can you just let the conversation die when there’s nothing left to say?” I asked her opinion.

          “No, you can just stop texting when there’s nothing left to say,” she said.

          “Agreed. Some girl was texting my friend and sent, ‘BRB.’ I got chills. That’s so clingy! What is this, MSN?” I paused to look at my sister. “Oh God, please tell me you remember MSN.”

          “Yes,” she said, relieving me from having to feel old as fuck. “Wait,” my sister turned toward me, “it’s different if you’re texting someone you’re interested in. You can stop texting your friends without a reason. They already know that you take forever to answer anyway. You can’t just stop texting a guy. Please don’t tell me that you text guys the way that you text everyone else.”

          “Of course I do,” I responded nonchalantly. “I reply to texts when I see them, no matter who they’re from, and you know my phone is usually on silent.”

          “You can’t do that with guys!” she scolded. “They don’t know that you’re a dry texter; they don’t know you yet. They’re going to think you’re not interested in them,” she broke down the logic of guy-girl texting for her technologically uninclined older sister. “And can you stop using periods? No one else texts like that. It makes you seem pissed off. I actually have to remind myself that a text is coming from you so that I don’t think anything of it.”

          “I don’t want to go out of my way to text guys. It’ll set the expectation that I’m going to respond promptly all the time. They need to know from the beginning that I can take a long time to answer back,” I justified my reasoning. “And no,” I laughed, “it’s proper punctuation to end a sentence with a period.” Though she certainly isn’t the first person to misinterpret the tone of my texts, I defiantly stand by my grammar.

          “A long time? That’s an understatement,” she remarked.

          “I’m in my twenties. You’re in your teens. I don’t use my phone as often as you do,” I pointed out.

          “Sometimes you don’t respond until the next day!”

          Valid point. I laughed and explained, “Because sometimes I don’t see a text until then.”

          “I know that. Your friends know that. Guys don’t know that! If you’re not interested, it doesn’t matter when you text a guy. If you are, do not let that conversation die!”

          “Ugh, texting is so annoying. I hate having conversations by text. I feel like I have to constantly check my phone,” I whined.

          “Yeah, if you’re interested, you do! You do what you have to do to keep that conversation going!”

          “What if there’s nothing left to say?” I asked.

          “Think of something!”

          “Okay, let me give you an example. This guy asked me about my day, so I told him and asked about his. He said he was going to go grocery shopping. I didn’t respond –”

          My sister smacked her hand to her forehead before I could finish. “That’s where you stopped the conversation?” she asked in shock. “If he said that to you in person, would you just stop talking?”

          “No,” I sighed. “Shit, I’ve probably made so many texting mistakes with guys without realizing.”

          “Yeah, you definitely have,” she agreed.

          “Ugh, I feel like such a bitch,” I said as I felt my intestines twist in guilt at the thought of the guys I’ve unknowingly brushed off with my weak texting habits. “I actually feel like a terrible human being.”

          “Good! You should!”

          I basically exhaled guilt.

          “When you text guys, do what you would do if they were Hot Bartender,” she suggested.

          I threw my head back against the seat of my car. “If I had to get over the idea of Hot Bartender,” I started as if I have (I am fooling no one), “so do you!”

          My sister is smitten by Hot Bartender. She’s convinced that he was my guy (I wish!), and she’s certain that I’ll see him again (kill-ing me with hope!). I don’t know who’s more distraught that I destroyed any chance of him ever speaking to me again by disclosing my age: me or her. She brings up the possibility of me running into him whenever we talk about guys and dating, which is pretty much every time I see her. (Admittedly, I find it entertaining, and I really appreciated it two nights ago when she sweetly texted me after she read that the guy from Niagara is seeing someone, “Who knows? You could meet Hot Bartender again.” Love her!) Her pro-Hot-Bartender stance is made funnier by the extremely low probability of that ever happening.

          “I’m sure he has beautiful children with the beautiful wife he must have married by now,” I continued on, pining for kids that I don’t even want.

          “Yeah, because you told him you were 18!” she reminded. (My sister is harsh.) “What would you do if Hot Bartender were texting you?” she persisted.

          Easy: “My phone would be on fucking loud! I would never leave it,” I dramatically admitted.

          “See? That’s what you need to do to let a guy know that you’re interested.”

          “Naw, I don’t think guys read into it that much,” I shrugged. (It turns out that guys do read into it that much. The guy I went out with on Saturday night admitted to thinking I wasn’t interested in seeing him because of the time lapses between my texts. He wasn’t even sure that our date was still on. The ironic part? I thought I was doing well! Since this conversation with my sister last Wednesday, I’ve tried to check my phone every few hours, which is frequent for me. Not frequent enough, I guess. Whatevs, I’ll take it as a sign that I’m into a guy when my phone begins accompanying me to the bathroom. [Dear the general public, I see you peeps do this.])

          “I have to write you a book on texting. You need it,” my sister gave up.

          I had her reviewing a guy-bound text for me by the time I pulled up in front of my parents’ house to drop her off. FYI: Fifteen-year-olds give fabulous texting advice, likely due to the fact that they text more than they breathe. For this reason amongst many others, I pity those who don’t have a teenage sister as cool as mine. And who are we kidding? No one does.

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