Let’s face it, the effectiveness of the text message is hardly debatable. You never hear anyone talk about how much they miss their beeper, and instant responses save you from any risk of getting involved in a long-winded, unnecessary phone conversation in the middle of the day.
However, I find it ironic that something that was devised to save us so much time can also consume our daily lives. The inventor of the text message clearly had no idea what this would do to a girl’s neurosis. Had he known the repercussions his invention would inevitably cause, he probably would have kept it to himself.
Allow me to demonstrate by further explaining the text message process from a female perspective:
Step 1: Receiving the initial text
Receiving the initial text is always bittersweet. The feeling of being at the highest point of this proverbial emotional roller coaster is, interestingly enough, induced by a high-pitched ring tone and a few words on a screen – usually something really simple and effortless like hey.
However, it’s from a boy. In your mind, he has taken a whole two minutes out of his very busy day to type out three letters in a message and press send … all for little ole you. He was thinking about you, and that is all that can be or needs to be assessed at this point.
Thus begins the text messaging battle (the bitter part).
Step 2: Composing the text – an art form
In order to construct the smoothest and most charming text possible, time and brain power are needed. Sometimes, reinforcements are even brought in for the process – a jury and editors.
You never want to sound too desperate, so you wait a few minutes, cleverly draft the perfect response, proofread, and run it by your editors for final approval. For a moment, you think your correct grammar and impeccable spelling in a text message will certainly win his heart.
And sometimes, you wait some more.
Step 3: Text turnaround time
The text turnaround time is essential in this battle. The amount of time the other person waits before sending a response, gauges your next move.
The crazy part about texting is that you never know what the other person is doing in between texts. He could be legitimately busy, watching the clock for the perfect time to send a response (1 hour 23 minutes to be exact – only because 1 hour 30 minutes would be too calculated), or snuggling on the couch watching “The Office” with his actual girlfriend (in which case, you’ll get a response when she finally gets up to go to the bathroom again or late at night after she goes home. Actually, you probably won’t get a response until the next day.)
Step 4: Analyzing the texts
The process of analyzing the rest of the texts in this relationship is far more complicated than deciphering the Rosetta stone.
In the beginning, you always feel the need to play the game like the other person. After all, he started this battle; he set the rules. The tone, length, and time between texts is all contingent on the first person’s move.
The further the texting continues, the more complicated the analytics become, and eventually, more and more questions are raised. What did he mean by ugh? Why did he take two hours to respond? Why didn’t he text today? Why is he being so short? Why did he write lol when I thought he was a haha person? And when did he start using u r?
Then, you think you’ll show him how much you don’t care about him by strategically waiting 30 minutes before sending a short, one sentence response. No capitalization. No punctuation. Therefore, you think, no emotion.
This is when you have reached the low point of the emotional roller coaster. The absolute lowest point. When texts send you into a freakish state of paranoia that lead to irrational justifications, you must make the decision to concede gracefully. Ultimately, this type of relationship ends up being messy, a waste of time, and your heart will be the biggest casualty.
If a relationship begins with more texting than calling, it’s probably not going anywhere. There is something to be said about a guy who picks up the phone and makes an effort to call every once in a while, especially in the beginning of the relationship. It might be a little archaic, but it’s certainly effective.
Always remember: Text messages were created to make life a little easier, not to make it easy for a guy who is vying for your attention.
Pookie Lola writes Crescent City (Mis)Connections weekly for NolaVie.