March 2008

He Says, She Says: Texting

Author: Keith Kelson & Jean Wharton

He Says
By Keith Kelson

I was channel surfing one Sunday afternoon after an NFL Playoff game, and I saw a commercial for text messages that insinuated that a man should use text messages to help him woo a woman. I had to laugh as nothing could be further from the truth. Guys, if you want to be successful playing the dating game, heed these words: A man should never, ever e-mail, instant message or text any woman that he’s trying to court.

Talk about reckless behavior. Use the telephone the way Mr. Bell intended for it to be used and be done with it. I like technology, really I do. But it seems like every twenty seconds some new gadget or some new feature on a gadget is ruining male/female relationships. I’m sure the phone companies have good intentions, but there’s a certain road that’s paved with good intentions, and we all know where that road leads.

One of the unwritten rules of manhood is that, when courting a woman, a cell phone is to be used like previous incarnations of the telephone were used. All real men know this to be true and they know that the telephone is a tool to be used sparingly. That is, when you do call a woman to ask how she’s doing or to set up a date, you keep the conversation light and brief. Fellas, that means you get off the phone first. Let her girlfriends and her mom have those marathon phone sessions with her.

Keep having those long conversations with a woman, and you’ll end up being that “nice guy” she used to date. Her friends will ask her, “What happened to Josh? Are you guys still dating?” She’ll sigh and say no and then wonder aloud why the spark and sizzle vanished from the relationship. I’ll tell you why the music died. It’s because she’s an independent woman who doesn’t need some clingy, wishy-washy passive-aggressive wuss who calls and texts her thirty times a day. Sorry, Josh—tough love man. You’ll thank me later.

E-mail? Text messages? Ha! First and foremost, unless a woman is head-over-heels in love with you, don’t expect her to answer any of these newfangled modern forms of communication in a timely fashion. I’ve sent letters via Pony Express and gotten faster responses from women than with any form of digital/electronic mail. As most men find out, a woman’s friends, family members and that guy who cleaned her carpets three weeks ago will actually get their e-mails replied to in a timely manner. If you’re a guy who’s courting her, or heaven forbid, a platonic friend? Don’t hold your breath, dude.

Modern technology, not the women’s movement or Hollywood is responsible for turning men into these needy “Are you gonna call/text/e-mail me” super-sensitive types that women really don’t want anything to do with. Anyone who tells you different should Google “Nice Guys versus Bad Boys.” The bad boys are the only cats who can get away with using text messages. See, they’ll write a message to a woman using prose worthy of the bard, and the woman will be swept off her feet and feel compelled to answer right away (e.g. Bad Boy’s text message: Hey, babe. Wanna hang out? Later).

Of course, since the bad boy is sending that message to thirty women who love him more than a hog loves mud, he’ll get a timely response. Those women also believe that the bad boy is seeing no one else, and because he isn’t calling or texting every half hour, every minute he spends with a woman is special.

Texting? Who’s got the time to write a message using those tiny cell phone keypads while you’re slogging through the Amazon jungle? Be a man of action. Have a life and hobbies. Don’t be a slave to some doodad that ain’t gonna improve your relationship unless you’re a cunning ladies man.

By the way Jean, check your inbox…And call me.

She Says
By Jean Wharton

First off, I think we need to define what text messaging is, because many CH2 readers may not know about or use this function of their cell phone. Text messaging is a short, typed note sent between cell phones using the alphabet on your phone’s dial pad. The texting feature is so important to some cell users, that phones are designed around it, with full keyboard pad. Basically you can do just about everything from a cell phone that you could do from a laptop. We are living in the future; the Jetsons would be jealous.

Now that we all understand what we’re talking about, texting has a culture, shorthand and slang of its own, that needs to be negotiated in order to communicate effectively in this way.

I love Keith’s perspective on this subject, and I don’t disagree entirely. When attempting to woo a woman or catch her attention, text messaging should not be the first mode of communication. It is not romantic to ask someone out by typing the invitation using your thumbs and sending it on to the lady in waiting for her to read on the three by two-inch screen of her cell phone. It is best to talk with her over the phone, especially for the first dates.

When you don’t have a clear idea yet of who the person you’ve recently started dated really is, texting can be very confusing. It’s hard to detect humor and sarcasm in a text message, so sometimes using this as your primary form of communication can cause problems that could easily be avoided if you were just talking.

Texting also leaves a written record for further analysis by her friends. Most men don’t want to leave a trail, nor do they want their words to be torn apart and evaluated like a book club selection.

I resent the general consensus that women love talking on the phone. I spend my entire day talking. Granted I’m talking to people between the ages of six and nine in my classroom, but I often go out of my way to avoid lengthy chats on my cell phone. If I’m making plans with friends or calling to tell someone I’ll be late, I’d rather send a text so that I don’t have to talk longer than necessary. Texting is quick and to the point.

In romance, texting is a quick way to find the fish you want to throw back. Texting can be passive/aggressive, and a guy who uses it as his main way of reaching out to you may be trying to keep you on the defensive and therefore not risking as much himself.

And I’m not even getting into the fellas that text “inappropriately.” When I was in high school and my boyfriend called my parents’ house after 10 p.m., my mom would always say, “Jean, nice girls don’t get phone calls after 10 o’clock.” I’d roll my eyes and take the phone call in my bedroom. Old fashioned, certainly. But her statement rings true for texting as well. Don’t send your love interest a text at three a.m. that says, “What are you up to?” She’s sleeping, and you should be too.

Their is no spell check on text messaging, so aside from the grammatical atrocities, spelling is certainly not a priority of frequent texters. If you’re texting so rapidly that you use the phone’s function which enables automatic word choice, be sure to double check your message before sending, because it could be misconstrued if you have a typo or two.

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