May 20th, 2011
Dater Unknown: R U 4 Me?
A few months ago I joined the Cool Kids Club and finally purchased my very first Smart Phone. My previous phone, referred to fondly as the Model T, was laid to rest after the duct tape came off the battery cover one too many times.
With my old phone it took 10 minutes to write a text any longer than “ok”. And now, I use about 17 minutes and send about 1209741927 texts.
We all love texting. It’s fast, efficient, and doesn’t require actually talking. But in the world of dating, is that a good thing? Me thinks not so much.
When I returned to Houston a year ago and cannonball-ed back into the dating pool, the first thing I noticed was how text-y dating was these days.
When a guy would ask for my number and I gave it to him, I was surprised that this didn’t necessarily mean he was going to call and ask me out. It could also mean he would merely text me something like “how r u” for a few days first.
I was confused. Does he want to get know each other via text first? Is he testing the waters? Is he interested in just being friends? Is he just being a scared bird?
I know what you may be thinking. “But talking on the phone is so 2002! Texting is the way of the world now.” Yes, talking on the phone – especially with someone you don’t know – is not comfortable. We’ve all known this truth since we started being interested in “going” with people (“Go where?” my dad used to ask) and would talk to them on the phone about absolutely nothing and pray someone in our family didn’t pick up the phone and remind us it’s time for my head-gear tightening appointment or something.
I quickly learned three things:
1] I loathe text speak. It takes 7 seconds longer to write “How are you?” than “how r u” but you sound 7 times more like an adult.
2] Exchanging one million texts before going out on a first date will never make up for a chemistry you either feel or you don’t on said first date.
3] Go with your gut.
Soon after I jumped back into dating, a guy asked me out. “Sounds like fun,” I said. “Here is my number.”
A few hours after giving it to him he texted me, “Open 2 meet 4 drink 2morrow?”
“Sure,” I said, reminding myself I was on the diving board and just needed to plug my nose and jump into the damn pool already.
“Cool. I have 2 work. Can we meet @ 10:30? 2 late?”
I knew this guy was a sous chef at some restaurant. Frankly, I was not that pumped about a 10:30 first date. But wanting to get my first date of the new dating me out of the way AND wanting to seem like I was cool and had a life and like my Friday night ritual wasn’t to hang out on the couch and drink wine and watch Netflix (it was), I wrote back, “Sure. I have a dinner and will meet you out afterwards. Call or text me and let me know where.”
“Ok. Cant wait 2 see u,” he wrote. And then, looking past all the single letters and numbers, I smiled and looked forward to tomorrow night.
The next day, Friday, arrived. And he texted. He texted all. day. long. At first I thought it was sweet, but by the end of the day, I was way over it. We hadn’t even had a first date, and here was Texty McGee and his incessant texting about nothing.
“Excited 4 2night!”
“What r u doin?”
“What r u doin now?”
“Work is busy.”
I answered each of these texts with a sweet or witty response. And then this one came.
Him: “What r u doin now babe?”
Me: (Thinking – Babe? Really? Already?) “Hi. I’m about to get a manicure.”
Him: “only mani? No pedi????”
Me: (Thinking – WTF? Red flag, red flag, red flag) “Yes, pedicure too.”
Him: :) I like feet.
“Wait a minute. What? What the hell does that mean? Who is this Texty McGee?” I thought. My gut was waving a little red flag in front of my face, but I shushed her decided to just let it go. Something got lost in translation, I assumed, and I simply didn’t respond.
Cut to the evening. I am ready to go at 10:30, but he hasn’t called or texted. Again my gut is waving her red flag, but I tell myself, “I get it, I’ve worked in restaurants. He probably went home to shower and will call.”
At 10:45 I start getting nervous, so I open a bottle of wine. At 10:50 I start watching old Michael Jackson videos that were playing on MTV. At 11 I call my sister. She answers and I say, “He hasn’t called. I am in jeans and heels and am now watching a Soul Train Infomercial and am seconds from ordering the box set.” She tells me to just chill and text him to ask if we are still meeting.
Me: “Are we still meeting for a drink?”
11:15 – no response.
11:30 – no response.
11:50 pm – Him: “where r u babe? It’s 2 late 2 drag u out.”
Me: “Yeah, was at home waiting.”
Him: “Shit, I’m sorry. Where r u”
Me: “Home. Good night.”
Him: “Are u mad?”
Now I start laughing and my gut is sitting back laughing and filing her nails, as she is clearly done with me. I continue laughing as I crawl into bed.
Him: “I got f’ed a work and I am so sorry.”
I’m beginning to drift off to sleep when the phone rings around 12:30. In my haze I answer, not operating on all cylinders. My gut hasn’t been speaking to me for a few hours, so she’s no help.
Him: “Hi, it’s me.”
Me: (Thinking – Isn’t “it’s me” reserved for established relationships?) Hi.
Him: Are you asleep?
Him: Well, can I come over?
Me: No, you may not. Good night.
Him: “I am so sorry, blah, blah. I want to meet.:”
Then he is telling me how his boss made him stay and all I’m doing is thinking about what I want to eat for breakfast in the morning.
Then he burps on the phone.
Him: Can I see you tomorrow?
Me: No, I’m cleaning my toaster.
Me: No, I can’t. Good night.
He continues texting throughout the weekend, and on Tuesday I receive a last text.
Him: I guess u r still mad
“Oh, Texty McGee,” I think to myself. “I was never mad. Simply grateful. Oh, I mean gr8ful.”