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My Latest Neuroses: Text Message Anxiety

23 Jun

After much poking fun at and generally picking apart all of my bad dates; I decided to change direction and discuss a good date. Yes, I have had a few, it’s just much more fun to eviscerate the bad dates in print and put them on the internet for the world to read. I freely admit to getting a thrill when I hit the Upload button and knowing that people everywhere are laughing at the asshat I had to endure. Sometimes Karma needs a helping hand and I figure that’s where I come in.

That being said, while dating at my age is hugely different than dating in your teens/20s, I’ve discovered some things never change no matter how old you are. Dating in your formative years comes with acne, braces, awkwardness and the underlying fear of a) making a fool of yourself or b) appearing desperate. Dating at my age comes with laugh lines (okay, fine, Mom, wrinkles!), personal baggage, awkwardness and the underlying fear of a) making a fool of yourself or b) appearing desperate.

Back in the day before cell phones, texting, IMing, gchatting and emailing, we relied on Ma Bell for our communication needs. During the course of a traditional conversation, there wasn’t time to formulate your response or worry about the wording of a text message; you just put yourself out there and hoped you didn’t come across as a neo maxi zoom dweebie.

Nowadays I find myself texting more than talking which brings a whole new set of issues I hadn’t considered… The Laws of Texting better known as How Not To Appear Socially Inept.

I’ve had four dates with this really sweet, good-looking guy. (I know he’s reading this so I HAD to add the good-looking part). Kidding! Mike really is easy on the eyes because I’ve already established I’m shallow and don’t date guys who are challenged in the looks department. The best part, by far, is that he likes dogs. Go Team Bud! So we’ve spent time together and I’m pretty relaxed around him. Until we start texting and that, my friends, is where it all begins.

Women are notorious for not being able to take anything at face value. We pick apart conversations word by word, analyze the sentence structure and most importantly, the tone. We call our friends and have them analyze then we compare notes to see if we reached the same conclusion. A 20-minute chat with a guy can easily trigger a 2-hour sit down with your female friends. Admit it, ladies, I’m telling the truth here.

So Mike and I were texting yesterday as he’s on vacation and I’m stuck here in wet, drizzly Minneapolis. It went something like this (creative liberty = just a bit):

M: At the airport in the TSA line, going very slow.

L: Text me when you land so I know you arrived in one piece.

Did that sound just friendly enough or too friendly? Caring or clingy? Crap!

M: The eagle has landed.

L: Staying with friends or hotel?

Oh great, now that’s the way to scare him off, Lisa. Be intrusive and nosy. Crap!

M: Breckenridge and camping out.

L: Have fun and I hope I’m a good reason to come back to MN.

I sound like a Harlequin Romance novel. Barf. Why don’t cell phones come with a Take It Back button?

M: Of course

Huh. No period on the end of that text. What does it mean? Maybe he was in a hurry; maybe he doesn’t like punctuating his sentences. Maybe my text was too much, too soon. I need to call in reinforcements.

Enter stage left: Chief Critic/Daughter Ana

“Here’s the deal, Mom. When a guy texts you, never respond immediately. Yes, I know you think it’s rude, but you’re busy. You’re always busy and in high demand. Wait at least 20 minutes before responding. If he takes 25 minutes to text back, then you wait 35 minutes before sending another message. Think about what you’re going to say and how will it sound to him. Keep it brief and above all, don’t sound too interested. You can be interested, but not too much.”

Gack. Who knew texting could be so damned difficult? I didn’t know there were all of these nuances I had to memorize plus I’m gonna need a calculator to figure out how long before I can respond. Okay, I’m a smart woman. I can do this. It’s just texting, right? It’s not rocket science.

Brrrrrzzzz. Phone vibrates with a new message from Mike.

M: Busy?

What do I say?

Yes.

Okay, that’s good. It’s brief and to the point.

When can I send it? Let’s see, it’s 11:50 a.m. my time, but he’s in a different time zone. So if I respond in 25 minutes (where’s my fucking calculator??) that makes it 12:15 p.m. for me, but its 11:15 a.m. for him and wait, does that matter? Ana didn’t discuss time zones with me so maybe it’s not an issue. But what if it is?

Screw it. I take the bull by the horns, type in Yes then hit Send.

I got your female empowerment right here, baby.

Til next time,

Lisa D 😀

Editorial Note: This Mike is NOT the crazy-ass, ill-bred, rude sonofabitch Mike from Dante’s Level 3 post. Not sure why, but he never called me back. Go figure.

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