TEXTING IS NOT
AS EASY AS IT LOOKS
My youngest son, who is in his mid-twenties, is on the prowl.
After a five year relationship with his girlfriend came to a sudden halt a
few months ago, he sulked for a few weeks and then hit the singles market
with a vengeance.
Since he was relatively new to being single and available, he
naturally came to his father for advice. First mistake.
"I'm thinking about texting this girl I met who is perfect
for me," he casually mentioned when he was over for a free home-cooked
meal the other night.
I thought about all the time and energy I put into getting to
know his last girlfriend, all wasted, but I could see he was pretty excited
about this new possibility, so I offered encouragement.
"So do it," I replied, taking a swig of beer between
pitches of the baseball playoffs.
"I'm not sure what to text," he said. "The only
thing I can think of is 'Marry me. Please.' That might not go over
I think he was kidding, although he did really like this girl,
even though he had just met her. But he was clearly concerned about what to
write and how it would be perceived.
"I've got TB," he continued. "I never thought it
would happen to me, but I've got it. I need help."
Fortunately, he didn't have tuberculosis. Unfortunately, he
explained to me, who had no idea what he was talking about, he had Texter's
"Are you serious?" I cried. "You can't actually
be nervous about sending a text to a possible date. Do you have any idea how
lucky you are?"
He didn't, so I told him. I explained that when I was single,
which was about two million years ago, I didn't have the luxury of texting.
I had to actually pick up the phone and call the girl, thereby risking
It was terrifying. I vividly remember staring at the phone in
high school, practicing what I was going to say, and then picking it up,
dialing half the numbers, only to slam it down in nervous frustration. And
then I'd go through the whole routine again. And again.
Finally, I'd muster the courage to let it ring. My heart
pounding, palms sweaty, I'd finally get the girl on the phone and blurt out
something incredibly stupid, at least in my mind. Sometimes it would work,
sometimes it was a disaster. And it was always traumatic.
If only I could have texted. What a delightful way to avoid
being humiliated. Send a completely rehearsed message, and if the reply
came, off we'd go. If it didn't, no harm done. I wouldn't have to hear her
disinterested, aloof voice. I could just move on to the next prospect.
"That's all very interesting," he said when I'd
finished venting. "But I'm not feeling very lucky at the moment. If she
doesn't respond, I'll be crushed. That's why I have to send the perfect
I could see he was desperate. Sighing, I put the game on pause
and came up with three monumentally flirtatious texts, all of which he
quickly rejected as the dumbest opening lines in history. Apparently, I was
a little rusty.
Or maybe it was a generational thing. I didn't use "whassup?"
or "how r u doin?'," or, God forbid, "LOL." And I
certainly didn't use any of those smiley faces or other symbols that I
recently learned are called "emojis." Never have, never will.
My suggested texts were in whole sentences, with no
abbreviations. Very un-millenial like. He figured she would have been
appalled by anyone who wrote so clearly.
"You're absolutely no help," he said as he packed up
to leave for his studio apartment in San Francisco where he envisioned
splitting the rent with his new dream girl. "I'll come up with
something on my own."
"You've got TB and you've got her phone number," I
advised with an evil grin. "Just call her."
He looked at me like I was nuts. "Like I said, I'll come
up with something."
A few days later, the little weenie did. He summoned up
incredible courage and sent a text to the girl of his dreams. And yes, she
responded. The flirtation was on.
And who knows? Maybe in a few months he'll actually give her a