Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
Hell to the No
What happened to the days when people used to call you to chat on the phone? Our technologically advanced world is slowly making the dating scene a place of passive safety where men and women become boys and girls. We date without our senses. We text without hearing, we date online without seeing, touching or feeling the energy or the other person. When we finally get to the date, we make sure it’s actually a non-date like coffee or drinks so we don’t have to sit awkwardly and come up with scintillating conversation for one hour or more. All this makes me wonder what may be then happening in the bedroom as a couple continues this entanglement with each other bereft of sensuality and passionate risks. I have discovered that the technologically advanced dating world is not for me.
I know this is old fashioned and I know I don’t clearly understand the repercussions of saying this, but I want to be asked out on a proper date via phone or face to face interaction. I.e., a text message is an inappropriately rude way to ask a grown-ass woman out on a date. It says, “I’m terrified of rejection, so I’m going to play it safe.” If I read further into it I might also hear you say, “She’s clearly not worth risking myself and my precious ego.”
When I give a guy my number nowadays, I have come to expect a bland, badly written text complete with spelling errors and incomplete thoughts. Inevitably, later that day, the next day, or three days later, depending on the guy, I will be proven right as I roll my eyes to the familiar double beep of my telephone, signaling I have a new text message.
The first texting bandit wrote, “What u doing tonite?” OK. Text messaging lingo is fine, but you are trying to impress me with your best qualities. Your humor, charm and intellect will be completely lost in Joey from Friends type "How you doing" as text. In an everpresent desire to give poeple the benefit of the doubt I responded to the "what you doing" and asked what he was doing.
“I am waching Lackers.” For those of you who may be confused, he was watching a Lakers game. I thought this was a typo until I asked who was winning and he responded, “the Lackers. want met up after?” I never responded to his misspelled, choppy texts again (and to be sure, there were many more grammatically problematic texts that followed).
A more recent text-ask out read simply, “How are you?” Are you kidding me? There is nothing less warm than seeing this type written message on my mini T-Mobile screen.
You give me no choice but to respond with fine or good or some other non-communicative, standard response. You obviously did not really want to talk to me or take time out of your day to actually get to know me a little bit further. I chose to give no response. The next day I got the same message from the same guy, “How are you?" Now he seemed a little scary and possibly mentally ill. I thought, “Maybe he doesn’t know how to say anything else. What if he just keeps sending me this same text message every day until I collapse from frustration and annoyance and idiocy?” I did not respond again. He followed up with, “Do you like motorcycles?”
On another occasion, a man asked, no begged, for my number at a bar. He promised he was a good guy and he just wanted to take me out on a proper date. With much hesitation and too much thought, I told him I would take his number. In order to stay true to my rule about texting, I called him, as promised, on the day that I said I would. We chatted briefly, with a mostly comfortable, but mildly awkward first conversation. He said, “I’d still really like to take you out, I’ll call you tomorrow to set up a time. I’m so glad you called. Thank you.”
“Great,” I responded.
One day led to another and then another. Exactly one week later I get yet another text message ask out: “Hey I wanted to see if you still wanted to meet up for coffee or drinks or dinner. Nothing serious. Ciao!” First, annoyance washed over me that it was a text. Next, I gritted my teeth and grunted at the, “nothing serious” preface. Then, my toes curled as it finished with the overly breezy, a little pretentious, “Ciao.” I called in help. If I was being unreasonable, I needed to be set right by a good friend.
“O.k. Lady M, so this guy begged me for his number. We had a good conversation when we met initially, and then I called him as he asked me to. He said he would call on a particular day, but instead called a week later. I’m annoyed. Who does he think I am? I am worth more than a very late text message that ends in ‘Ciao’.” She bristled in anger and began a diatribe that referenced He’s Just Not That Into You, Sex and the City and various mutual and unknown girlfriends. In the end she commanded, “Tell him it’s too late. If he was that into you, he would have called or even texted when he said he would. Granted he can write correctly, but it’s a week too late.”
I texted: Sorry. You waited too long to contact me so I’m over it.
By the way, it is not appropriate to text message ask a girl out.
He responded with double the effort in the form of an apologetic phone call. He claimed to be impressed by my standards and promised he was not the bad guy I might think he is. He asked for a second chance. I called him back, but I realized the difficult-girl power struggle had begun and he just wanted to prove he was the kind of guy I would date or respond to. After we spoke on the phone, I acquiesced to another possible hangout. His attempts at closing this second deal were a few more texting attempts like, “What are you up to tonight?” I responded appropriately, “I’m in Vegas,” but without real contact, the texting relationship faded into the dating abyss.
It’s not just you. Text ask-outs also give women the right and excuse to be curt, if not mean. If you ask me out by text, I must respond in as short a manner possible. I am forced to be succinct and I often take this as an excuse to be curt. I don’t have to look you in the eyes nor do I have to recognize that I am talking to another living person who has feelings that may get harmed by the directness of my words. Further, I am not going to push myself to think you may be more than my impressions at first glance. You have effectively hidden all your qualities and density in abbreviated mechanical script. Texts are incapable of relaying your great jokes, brilliance, and warmth. Bluntly, if texting is how you lead, I have no time to try to read something into the scant lines of your three word message.
He texted: Do you want to hang out sometime?
I replied: I have no interest in dating you. Sorry for the misunderstanding.