Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's In a Text ... Besides a Booty Call?


A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Shakespeare was on to something ... but that was then and this is now.

And a TEXT MESSAGE read by any other person ... could lose it's meaning entirely. Which is a problem for everyone who uses a cellphone. So, just EVERYONE.

Begging the question ... What's in a text?

Recently the "New York Times" published an article -- that was widely circulated amongst every girl in their 20's -- about how dating today has changed (no shit). And how everything is based on a "hook-up" culture of late-night rendez-vous, friends with benefits, and group get-togethers ... coordinated not by conversations, but by digital messaging (text, email, bbm, or dating sites).

No one picks up the phone anymore and says, "Hey, let's grab a drink Friday at 8." Instead, it's a text -- vague at best -- starting something like, "Hi." That's it. Groundbreaking stuff.

"Hi" turns to "What's up?" to "Doing anything fun tonight?" to some sort of elusive plan to "text me later" ... and then later it's "hi" all over again. Until at some point it's 1 am and you're forced to decide between trekking across town for some booty or just ... not.

Adding to the mess of "What's the actual plan?" ... the intention is often times unclear, mainly because -- with so many ways to hook-up -- people (men) like to keep their options open, just in case something better comes along. ('Cause ya know, that Victoria Secret model might really Tweet ya back)!

The murky messages lead to murkier questions ... are we friends grabbing a beer? Are we potential hook-up buddies? Holy crap, are we actually on a date? And even murkier ... does it even matter anymore thanks to our let's-just-see-what-happens mantra?

Why is it all so whishy-washy? Great question. A lot of it centers around the fact that texting is impossible to decode ... because there's very little context. Body language and tone -- the things that clue you into what another person is thinking -- are sadly missing.

So when someone asks you out via text ... it's hard to tell if they're actually asking you out. Or if they really DID just want to try that new restaurant on 3rd street.

And if someone says, "Sure come over" ... it's hard to tell if they want you to come over, or just feel obligated to ask.

But many of my guy friends tell me ... girls are stupid -- and read too much into a text. Just take it at face value they say ... meaning "come over" really means "come over."

But I myself have shown up on what I thought to be a "date" ... TWICE ... only to find the guy brought another girl along. Seriously, it happened twice ... years apart.

Reviewing those messages, I realize I was NOT  in the wrong, it definitely sounded like a date. But then again ... read by someone else, maybe it was clear that it wasn't.

And so I blame technology for this embarrassment.

The real question is, how do we fix it? If we're all hell-bent on texting more than calling (which let's face it, I basically forgot how to dial) ... how are we ever to progress to bonafide adulthood where we make actual plans, and talk about our actual feelings ... sans emoticons?!

Maybe we can't. Maybe we're all just stuck with "let's see what happens" ... and we'll all just ... see what happens.Which is also known as ... Life.

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