Crafting the perfect text message

Our species is one obsessed with language; obsessed with the story behind the façade. We rummage the worn, cast-away chests time has left behind, searching in vain for the trailing edge of antiquity. We search for stories which predate the written word, digging and chiseling for ancient artifacts to unearth the “whys” of our existence.  We ask, what’s the meaning?

Advancements in means of communication are innumerable and ever-evolving, however our base impulses remain the same. These complicated, evolutionary, genealogical predispositions are the only reason I can come up with to explain why it takes some of y’all so goddamn long to compose a text message.

Quick story: I was in the park with a large group of friends a few weeks ago. As I sat there in the small pocket of solitude I’d carved out for myself, I overheard the conversation of a nearby trio of women within our group. One was mildly distraught – we’ll call her ‘Penelope’. Penny had recently been on a first date with a fellow she seemed to like and was experiencing anxiety over which words to use in a text she was composing, with the intention of initiating plans for another date. Her two friends were offering counsel:

“Don’t use that word; you don’t want to seem desperate.” Said one.

“No, no. That’s too vague.” Said the other.

“I was just going to text, ‘What are you up to next week?’” Said Penny.

The friends both laughed heartily at the ridiculousness of Pen’s suggestion and back and forth it went like that for about 15 minutes. Then, I myself couldn’t help but release an audible chuckle. They all turned in my direction and one friend asked, “Well, what do you think she should text?”

“Whatever she feels like saying.” I replied.

Folks, I’m just glad that none of these women had firearms or bludgeoning instruments handy, because I would not be here today to tell you this tale.

My point in this perceived oversimplification was that it’s really not that serious. Sure, put 47 seconds of thought into it, so you don’t sound like a moron or insane person, but don’t toil over it for 15 minutes like you’re going to tattoo it onto your forehead. Whether Penny spent a minute or an hour thinking about that text, one of three reactions from her fella was going to occur:

  1. “Nope, Penny sucks. Not feeling her at all. Not going to answer this text and I hope she didn’t spend too much time composing it. Bye, Felicia (Penelope).”
  2. “Oh snap! I’d forgotten all about this chick.” Then, either: a.) “Now that I think about it, I was hoping to see those boobies at some point, then maybe have a relationship or something.. but definitely the boobies” Or, b.) “She was nice and all but these video games tho.”
  3. “I’ve already decided I want to see Penny again and it matters 0% what this text says as long as it’s positive.”

But, what do I know? I’m just an average guy, who… Wait. I’m an average guy and therefore know exactly what the fuck I’m talking about.

But that’s how the stereotype goes, right? Women often think too much and men don’t think enough. Well, my personal experience has proven that to be true. Of course, there are exceptions, but, in general, I don’t see groups of men huddled together discussing text phrasing.

But maybe they should…

There’s no more shining example of not thinking a text through for the full 47 seconds as the infamous “dick pic.” Nothing says I’m fresh out of ideas and I have not fully considered this decision, like sending a picture of your genitalia to someone you barely know. To facilitate one-to-one comparison with well thought out texts, (and because this is going to be a lot of fun for me) I’ve listed a few possible verbal equivalents/translations of what a dick pic is saying:

  • “Hey. Here’s my penis. Want?”
  • “PENIS!!!”
  • “I’ve got a penis and hope you don’t.”
  • “That’s my junk. Now you go.”

I mean… where’s the artistry anymore, am I right?

Listen, I’m a proud non-member (haha.. wordplay is fun) of the dick pic sender’s alliance (the DPSA) but, to be fair, this is all your fault, ladies. Studies (that I myself have not participated in) have shown that 3% of dick pic texts are successful in achieving the desired goal of eventual intercourse. Right now, a bunch of you ladies are thinking “that’s obviously a made-up study” and a few of you are thinking “well… seems legit.” Fact is, it only takes one confirmed successful execution in the entire history of convincing ladies to have sex with you, to encourage other guys to incessantly employ that technique. I don’t know who the ‘Typhoid Mary’ of the dick pic epidemic is, but she is to blame for this, as are all of you in the 3% – which, to a guy who is seriously considering sending a picture of his penis to you, might as well be 75%.

I think I’ve made my stance on words pretty clear in my blogging; I love them. I love texting too; I’m not one of those curmudgeonly dudes, barking at frequent texters. You won’t find a bigger supporter of not talking to folks you don’t feel like talking to. But, when it comes to the writing of texts, try not to overthink it. Whether you’re trying to woo a love interest, letting your boss know you can’t make it in today, or doing both in the same text, just make it make sense. If someone chooses to deride or disown you over text phrasing you may want to consider whether there have been any other indicators that this person is a psychopath and begin distancing yourself from them.

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