“Texting” the Water

The beginning of this February break also marked the start of my career in texting boys.  Please do not be jealous.  I have been on this earth for sixteen years and the most romantic moment of my life thus far was when a boy ran up to me in Disney World (Little Mermaid exhibit) and smacked my butt to ask permission for a peck on the cheek.  (My cheek.  I was ten years old; he was probably three.)

For anyone reading this who are unaware of the art of texting males (population: zero), let me assure you: it is like texting a different species.  Though explained in this excellent video by an excellent youtuber, I am still trying to cope with this culture shock.  My female friends have absolutely spoiled me with their promptness of reply on instant messaging, to the point where I get impatient after a few minutes without a response.

Relieved that you finally got that hunk’s 7-digits?  Did you use your most casual efforts and asked for it so smoothly that sunglasses descended from the ceiling and landed on the bridge of your nose?  Well those shades will fucking shatter when you see the uphill battle that’s in front of you.  This rugged mountain with no peak in sight has only one chilling name: Texting a Guy you Like.

My conversation with my interest actually started out promising.

Me: thanks for sending that video!  At least feb break should be more entertaining now… 😀

Him: Yeah.  What are you doing for break?
Me: Just staying home.  Are you in barren-desert-Texas yet? (a clever reference to his description of the state to me the previous day.  I fervently apologize to any Texans reading this).

Him: Yep.  It’s dry.

Me: Shocking

Me: Ever watched Singing in the Rain? (I regretted the text as soon as I hit send.  On screen, the lovely characters  just burst into a singing and dancing routine.  There was no way–)
Him: Of course.  It was one of the only four times I sang in my life.

Me: Ahahaha.  Watching it for the first time it’s so great.

Me: The 1920s were so fuckin charming.
Me: I mean it sucked if you weren’t white and male but one can still appreciate how cute everything was
Him: Yeah.  But almost all culturally rich times were also characterized by tyranny and oppression.  But things turned out in the end!  Kind of.

To that last bit, my friend from shouted to me (over Facebook messenger) “HUSBAND HIM.”  Such soliloquies are to be expected from Interest.  His little intellectual remarks both charm and exasperate the hell out of me.

Though I was impressed with the quality of this first conversation, I was purposely quiet on Saturday.  Firstly, to not seem clingy.  Secondly, to see if he would initiate the conversation.  He did not.  No matter – I took another shot.  Sunday’s conversation bore interesting fruits – perhaps the nicest way of describing a school-related conversation that suddenly jumps to the 2002 TV show Monk.  Some sassy banter, trademark to our scattered interaction for the past four years, were fired.

Me: I can still watch it online…in TOTALLY legal ways of course

Him: Woah.  It’s digital anarchy.

Me: Oh please.

Me: I mean, please don’t tell anyone!!!  My life will be ruined forever 😥

Him: I suppose I don’t have to alert the authorities immediately.

But after that, the conversation ended rather awkwardly, and a few things were becoming apparent to me.

  1. Some boys suck shit at texting back in a timely manner.  One particular text took a seven hour wait, during which I binged on chocolate and complained loudly.
  2. Some boys (particularly this one) suck shit at initiating conversation.
  3. Some boys suck shit at texting in general.  At one point, he replied to one of my questions with one word.  My literal reaction was sucking in one long breath, as if dealing with a child, blacking out my phone, and setting it down, until finally, a new message lit up the pixels: “You?”  That’s right, son.

In pure spite, I avoided watching Monk.  But finally, after a few days, I tried the first episode.  Then the second.  As the credits rolled for the third episode, I was gasping into my pillow at three am, moved to tears.  The next morning, I hesitantly texted him the last words of the main character’s late wife: “Bread and Butter“.  No reply.

This week, I learned a great deal from silence.  In silence, your doubts speak up, and insecurities begin chatting in your ear like an old gossip.  Doesn’t even bother to reply.  Why would you go and say something so bold?  Look at the length of his messages.  Almost nothing.  He’s obviously not into you.  But…that night when we actually talked…  You blew everything out of proportion!  Like you always do.  Like you always do.  During the long gaps of waiting, I thought about rejection and coping and the dubious reasons I liked him in the first place.  I thought a lot about what I deserved.  I thought about what a weird time it is to be alive; my generation is the first to be immersed in this kind of communication, to talk to a small screen instead of a face, to convey casual dialogue with words alone.

When laying in bed and watching a phone in discontent, one gets the feeling that they are undergoing a “first-world-problem.”  But, considering the relationship problems people used to commonly experience, such as arranged marriages and forbidden romance between races and class, you get the feeling that those unhappy lovers of old would look at this situation and say, “It’s a good thing that this is all they need to stress about.”

On Saturday night, there had been no conversation for four days, other than my failed quote.   As I typed away on my computer, finally living comfortably with Silence and no longer Waiting, my phone beeped.

Him: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/im-comic-sans-asshole

“Oh my god,” I whispered, seeing the message from my lock screen.  “You weird little shit.”

Faith restored?  Not yet.  I took my time with the article and eventually sent back:

Me: Fave line “Johannes fucking Gutenberg.”  Gourd rant is still my favorite tho.

Me: Also, if you couldn’t tell from the quote I sent earlier, I started Monk.

I sat back and returned my attention to my homework, no longer impatient, because I knew how this worked now.  Okay, maybe my faith was restored a little bit.

Him: Extreme respect for that.

Faith restored.

As we continued to text that night, it became apparent to me that all the texting advice I had googled online was not one-size-fits-all.  As I had long suspected, this guy was shy around girls.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only female contact on his phone besides his mom.  His messages were short because he was concise, he always was, and I actually liked that a lot.

In short, texting a crush can be stressful.  Perhaps you’ll realize that your interest is just not good at it, as I have learned.  That’s okay.  It’s important to never rate the quality of your texts with a boy over your actual real-life interaction.  Mt. Texting A Guy You Like is full of rough terrain not fit for someone with poor-cardio such as myself.  But it’s a whole lot better than him frowning in Texas while I think about him frowning in Texas, with no communication at all.

I’m going to head to bed now, because tomorrow I’m going to finally see him in person, and I’ll be sure to make fun of the fact that he flew in from Texas at 3 AM.

Thanks for reading!  Please let me know if you liked it, or can relate!

-M.L.

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