Monday, April 06, 2009

Shit or Get Off the Pot

Editor's Note: You may remember my guest writer, The Rainmaker. Earlier this year, she had expressed a desire to start her own blog but wasn't sure she was ready. I told her she could try writing a few things on The Dirty Burrito to get a feel for it. She got hooked, so she's launched her own blog: Chasing Raindrops. Check it out and look for updates on my blog roll. (Also, I told her the readers of The Dirty Burrito aren't used to all that girly stuff, and she needed to take her exceptional writing and storytelling skills elsewhere, so this is her last guest post - unless she writes something non-girly.) I wish her the best of luck!

In New York dating prospers as a professional sport, where the rules are bent with each individual to stay in the game. It's survival of the fittest. Throw technology into the mix and for those already uncoordinated - you're fucked.

It was that part of the day when food coma sinks in and you’re trying desperately not to glance at the time…tick, tock…four more hours to go… Luckily, a text exchange was stimulating my brain activity. I had met this guy at a bar the week before and we were trying to coordinate plans to meet up again. While normally I’m not a fan of text conversations, this had higher entertainment value over my work. We went through the motions of reintroducing ourselves again, the progress of our days, places we like to go out. At about 20 texts in, I thought we were narrowing down plans when he asked if I had been to Stanton Social. My anxieties were cast aside for a moment – maybe this was going to be a good date after all! He made a great suggestion. After replying that I had been dying to try Stanton Social, he punched back: “If you go make sure to get the meatballs and French onion soup dumplings. As you can tell I'm a fan.”

The expression on my face would have made for priceless television – the perfect cue for Ashton Kutcher and his crew to bombard the scene and say, “You’ve been punk’d!” Needless to say, it was a busted deal.

The texting standard has unwillingly forced us single women to mourn the death of a personal phone call. It’s supposed to make our lives easier but technology only presents additional hurdles, impossible to ignore in the already complicated world of dating. If it’s meant to be in this day and age, we must succumb to this standard. Is there still a way to get the intimate means of communication without settling or shutting down the opportunity?

I get it. Putting yourself out there is hard. Text can favorably act as a buffer to rejection – when you mass text at 2am and get no answers back, it softens the blow to one’s ego. Also, text allows for a perfectly calculated comeback, helping our chances of closing the deal. If it comes down to a war of wit, you can bet I’m consulting my best friend to win the battle. While text is supposed to lighten the situation, a back-and-forth exchange over a 30-minute period completely defeats the purpose. It wouldn’t be so complicated if it was confined to matter-of-fact Q&A but we’re all suckers for the game.

Text is a breeding ground for miscommunication. Clearly I thought this guy was making plans to meet up, when he was only throwing out a suggestion that I should pursue on my own. Tone of voice is an essential element to the identification process. Not only are we supposed to decipher confusing messages without tone, we are also expected to weigh the legitimacy of the message, depending on when it was sent (i.e. post-midnight invitations = looking for ass). Check the time, crack the code.

Ask any woman how she feels about a man asking her out over text – it’s a cop out. Unfortunately we now give more undeserving credibility when a guy puts forth the effort to call. Why should we waste our time juggling a pair of non-existent balls? In an attempt to understand Mars, I asked a bunch of man friends for their take on the texting standard.

“If I want to take a girl out on a date I call. That’s man time, that’s alpha. I would announce my presence with authority” – plain and simple from my favorite bachelor. I got different responses from all of them but universally they admitted they wouldn’t ask a girl they were truly interested in over text. Also the situation varied depending on the personality of the guy (he’s shy, socially awkward, hates talking, etc.) and the context in which he met the girl. Like every scenario, there are exceptions to the case. A real man still steps up to the plate and calls.

What are we supposed to take away from this game? We can’t change the standard, only adjust to it. Text is another test of character. It’s a stepping stone to figuring out what you want from the other person, whether it’s keeping the relationship on that casual level or taking it to the next by calling. Most of us don’t want another opportunity to pass us by. We shouldn’t shut people down at first text.

The reality is that once you get past the initial asking out, no real relationship can survive solely on the grounds of this guarded communication. It prevents us from truly getting to know the person on the other end. There is no intimacy involved. Whatever kind of relationship it may be, aren’t we all looking for some kind of fulfillment? Because when that fulfillment is absent, we move on and look elsewhere.

All things in life serve some kind of purpose. Why waste time once you’re on the shitter? Play the game all you want but don’t lose sight of what you seek in the end. Even better if you get a great story out of it along the way.


  1. If the guy opens with a text, just text back a response that he call you. It'd be a welcome invitation. The reciprocal showing of interest eases any tensions and likely encourages the guy to put in more effort. When the guy receives a text in response it sends the same message as the initial text. I'm a big fan of mutual escalation of interest. Problem solved.

  2. Agree with Roommate #2 always best to just be upfront and honest.