Once upon a time, in a distant land called Virginia, there was a fanciful young pre-teen named Amy, who would go home after school every day of sixth grade with her best friend Katie Gould, and proceed to clinically obsess over her number one crush, Lei Lei Ni. With “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on repeat in the background, Amy and Katie would discuss Lei Lei’s many attributes: he watched Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, he had shiny dark hair, and he sat one desk over. Twas the stuff of great love stories. But the real high of the afternoon was when Amy would pick up the phone and tentatively dial Lei Lei’s number, wait until the exact second he picked up and said hello, and then slam the phone down, adrenaline pumping and hormones percolating.
I don’t know how to tell you this people, but that girl, she was me. And maybe it was immature (maybe?) but I look back on those afternoons as quite formative in my development when it comes to the opposite sex. I was essentially sticking my baby toe into the pool of relationships and pulling it out at the last second, deciding the water was too cold to jump in, and instead running to find the ice cream man. I wasn’t ready to actually kiss a boy, or hey SPEAK to a boy, but I could at least dial his number. Which at that age, is all you really need to fulfill your interest. Why else would Dreamphone be the highest grossing game in history?? (That’s totally made up of course, however, I do believe the game has made a social impact on color coordination, making it extremely cool to be not wearing anything yellow.)
Then, just yesterday, my girlfriend and I were sitting outside eating ice cream sandwiches during an extremely productive work break, when she mentioned her one problem with the new dude she was dating: his extreme tendency to text. All he does is text!, she explained. He never picks up the phone and calls, whether it’s to plan a date, ask how her trip to Spain was, or discuss his pretentious-y opinions on Tree of Life. We analyzed it for a bit, cause we have vaginas, and eventually we got to the root of the problem. After much iPhone scrolling and chocolate covered gesturing we came to the conclusion that it’s actually her fault. I know why he always texts me, she realized in a rare moment of clarity brought on by her sugar high, it’s because I always text him.
Ah ha! It’s the age old concept that can apply to so many problems in our relationships. The idea that if you act like you’re okay with something, it will perpetuate. If you accept certain behavior patterns, and even ascribe to them yourself, they won’t change. After all, how can my friend complain about the constant texting when she does the exact same thing? She doesn’t call to ask how his day was either, she writes. Via intensive snack break self-discovery, she even realized that in the very beginning of their dating history, whenever he would call – she would text him back. Hello, learned behavior! Then we realized that this thing, the text monster, is bigger than both of us.
Truth is, sometimes I really like texting. On one hand, it affords you the ability to stop and think. With texting you can strategically say the right thing (after texting a couple samples to your girlfriends for feedback) whereas in a phone call you have to think on your feet and try to remember to be cool. (“What did you do Friday night?” “Me? So You Think You Can Dance marathon. I mean…”) In a text, you can be sassy and/or indifferent even if you’re actually really excited you finally heard from him. Further, you can properly time your interactions. In my research I have discovered that the time you wait to text back a boy is inversely proportional to the time it takes him to respond to your text. If you delay your response for hours, he will respond in minutes, and if you wait days, mere seconds. It’s math. On the other hand, you’re left to interpret tone and intention in texts coming your way. Not to mention grammar-challenged men who say things like, “your going out.” What? My going out? Oh, you mean “you’re.” Is that a question or a statement or an instruction or a I GIVE UP.
Good or bad, I think we can all agree that the amount of texting that goes on in relationships now is out of control. After a great deal (well, one day) of thought, I have decided to chalk the whole phenomenon up to the fact that girls no longer go home from school and call the boys they like with their best friends giggling nervously in the background, hanging up as soon as they answer. Now, they shoot him a text from below their geometry books (they still teach that right?) in fifth period. As we have learned, if you start off a relationship by texting, that’s all it will ever be. So it makes sense that if you start off all of your interactions with the opposite sex that way, the rest will follow accordingly.
The point being, if you text with a guy you’re dating all the time and you hate it, but you stifle your annoyance and accept his texts as a thorough level of communication, well then, things are probably never going to change. If it bothers you, stop using the text to your own lazy, socially-challenged, advantage. Give him a ring. Drop him a line. Get him on the horn! If he doesn’t follow suit and he continues to text, and you can’t stand one more minute of it? Don’t respond. If he really wants to talk to you, he’ll call.View Comments