I understand that text messaging is a common form of communication for many people, regardless of age. I send text messages. Generally, I have no problem with them. However, I believe they are not a viable form of communication in the early stages of a relationship. And still so many of the men I date feel the need to send text messages as the primary means of conversation. I understand that some feel it is less intrusive than a cell phone call and others, with unlimited text messaging plans, use it as a money saver to talk before 9 p.m. But people, really—if you are unwilling to spend the extra few bucks to say "Hello" then the relationship may be doomed anyway.
Every man I have met, with the exception of one, sends a stream of text messages to relay information, make a date, or, in one particular romantic gesture, request a booty call. Booty Call Benny is always good for a little sexy innuendo via text messaging. "U wanna c me naked?" It makes a girl's heart melt. Usually I receive it at 1 a.m. when I am feeling the greatest need to see any man. But Benny is not alone. So many others feel the need to check up on me with the articulate "Whats goin on?" or "hey." I am left speechless with their concern. My greater issue is how to respond. Before you really know a person it is difficult to determine the purpose of such a message. Perhaps as a woman I simply over-analyze the situation. But I am left wondering if the salutation is meant as a lead-in to a request for a date or if it is sincere concern or if it is simply a way to deal with the boredom of the day. The most common response to the question, "What's going on?" is "Nothing." However, I do not want to seem boring so I am hesitant to respond that way. Instead I find myself replying with an unnaturally long text that looks something like this, "I am about to mow the lawn and later I will fix dinner. I'm thinking something with chicken. Later I might read. What are you doing?" And yes, I do use correct capitalization and punctuation. I believe this makes me seem even more odd than if I had simply replied with "Nothing." Then I find myself more frustrated when I receive no response to my detailed message. I begin to wonder if I said more than was necessary. Sometimes I will receive a text back and we may exchange a couple of messages. Then I find myself unsure of when the conversation is over. Do you say "Bye" to end the exchange? Is there a natural stopping point of which I am unaware?
I don't want to seem rude so I always respond when I receive a text. But it becomes tedious. If someone wants to have a conversation why doesn't he just call? I may make the call and find that he is uninterested in having an actual conversation and I am once again left frustrated. This problem is just another one to add to my already overly complicated modern dating life. You can read the dating books, but not a single one that I have read addresses text messaging and dating. I have simply come to the conclusion that if I am going to have any hope of finding a lasting relationship it must be cultivated without the superfluous text messaging.
- Julie Mamon