Weighing the odds has never been my strong suit. When I try to rationalize, naturally I’m biased toward what I want the outcome to be whether or not I openly admit it. I find this attitude trickling down into all aspects of my life. Sometimes it’s a big deal like moving from NYC to DC while others, it’s something small and often ridiculous. This post covers the latter.
Technology occasionally drives me nuts. I hate being utterly accessible to all people at all times. I want to shout, “What did you do before there were cell phones…you realize sometimes people would go DAYS even WEEKS without talking and that this was normal?”
Now, don’t get me wrong…while I feel this way in sporadic bursts, I remain unlikely to smash my phone into the side of a building. That said, I am often amazed that people can reach me through many different avenues, and thus get mad at me if I don’t reply in due time (aka 45 seconds). While you all know how I feel about “He’s Just Not That Into You” (see here), I do think that the writers got a few things right.
Drew Barrymore plays the “techie romantic” in the movie (no I cannot believe I’m referencing this film again, but bear with me) and she says one line that clicks things into place perfectly for me, “I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
It is exhausting Drew. And as I sat with my DC girls on Sunday morning, re-hashing the events of Saturday night, I felt that familiar weight of technology’s force and the events didn’t even happen to me. The night wasn’t spectacularly different from any other Saturday. We went out, had a good time, came home, passed out and of course Sunday brunch brought out eggs, smoothies, and a detailed account of everyone’s opinion of the previous evening’s events, no matter how small-seeming or trivial.
Enter: Cowbell* (she’ll probably hate me for this nickname, but I gave her fair warning…it’s not my fault she was too hungover to give me possible alternatives). I probably will not do justice to her story, but I’m going to try my best in her no-nonsense style.
Cowbell met a guy in a bar a few weeks ago. They went on a date and had a really good time and suddenly she found herself sucked into a cellphone’s keypad. She had to learn to master…textual relations.
When we’re single women, the early beginnings of a relationship are often the biggest hurdle. We (if this is just me, I’m going to be slightly embarrassed) over-analyze EVERYTHING. We try to out-play, out-think, out-smart the opposite sex. We crave the upper hand in communication, and think that to get it, we have to forfeit initial contact in favor of waiting…and waiting…and waiting…No matter what the self-assured feminist says about “old-school courting practices,” I believe that they still get the second-guess jitters when it comes to who makes the first move.
Do/Should I becomes a powerful mantra. Our friends say no when he hasn’t texted us or if he has, we have to wait at least 15 minutes before responding so he doesn’t think we’re too eager. Is 15 minutes the new cut-off point between over-zealous and aloof? These ponderings become our textualizations (pardon the play-on-words).
But there is a soft spot for many girls…a weakness, one point where all of our over-thinking can be erased, when we can no longer resist those urges to text on pure principle.
It begins with a vodkacran.
What earlier in the night was no I will not text him tonight suddenly seems far too harsh. It gradually fades into well maybe I’ll just see what he’s up to…no big deal.…so it goes.
Cowbell* had her Grad Program Formal on Saturday night. She may not have made the declarative statement to not text 3B (yes a double negative…do the math), but she is a pretty typical girl. And after a few drinks she found her phone in her hands and her thumbs tapping,
“SO I’m OUT.” (insert Long Island Mental-accent). She shared with us on Sunday that this was what she came up with after several failed attempts…all of which ended up in her drafts folder. I’m not really sure why she thought she would lead with this phrase.
“Cowbell, you realize that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What’d you expect him to say? Congrats?” I asked.
She just shrugged sheepishly, “OH it gets better.”
Here flows the highlights of the typesation as I heard Cowbell tell it with her Sunday morning reactions inter-spliced as (*):
3B: haha yeah? Where?
Draft: Homn VA
CB (actual text): Yeah..i’m in YA. zip you were her.
3B: ? zip
*Cowbell took this to mean zip code. As she told us Sunday, “How am I supposed to know the zip code for Arlington, Virginia? I live in DC.” And apparently she didn’t respond fast enough.
3B: Dónde Está? E va?
*JuniorMint interrupted, “Dude, did he actually text you in Spanish? He knows you don’t speak it, right?”
Cowbell answered, “Well yeah, I think it was a mix of both, but he knows I speak Italian…maybe that’s what he was going for?”
And I chimed in, “Yo, he probably thought it’d be funny for you to try to figure out what he was saying.”
“Yes, real funny KT,” Cowbell said.
CB: I’m in Clarendon.
*Sunday Morning CB declares, “I have no idea how I managed to get that out and spell it correctly at that.”
3B: I’m out too…in Baltimore.
…and so it went…ending suddenly a few texts later. No goodbye, good night, good riddance.
I concluded, “You know…since the texts ended so abruptly, for all he knows you could be dead in some alley in Y-A. You should text him….SO I made it back in one piece to the DC zip code.”
JuniorMint announced, “No…you should say Bitch, you know I don’t speak Spanish.”
Cowbell’s saving grace as she sees it is that he has to know she was extremely intoxicated and it was only casual texts. Thankfully, she didn’t declare her unwavering love for all things 3Be. She didn’t beg, plead, or profoundly utter that he had changed her life (none of these are actually the case by the way)
She hadn’t heard from him when we talked Sunday morning.
As such, we have no clue if she will…but we still sat around a dining room table reenacting the entire line of textual communication because that’s what WE do. When we measure whether it’s a good or bad idea, when we agonize over to send, what we sent, how we sent it, we think we’re being rational because we took the time to weigh through all of the outcomes. We’re not. Sometimes we just need to let go and loosen up like good ol’ Cowbell. Her declarative, “So I’m OUT” put her out there and she’s totally okay with that. Meanwhile, the rest of us like Drew are exhausted. But all in all, my bet is he will text her again…maybe not until a few days from now, but he will. And at some point after that, there may even be some time for make-up texts.
*A best friend from college who hails from CT via her Long-Island accent. She’s blunt, loyal and dedicated. And one time she learned the proper way to punch. She’s never forgotten it.
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