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Texting: It’s the game we love to hate and are absolutely addicted to playing. And the “we” here is totally gendered. Men and women tend to send and decipher texts very differently, and I’m trying to figure out why that is.
Why do I tell my girlfriends to wait for his text? Why does he take so goddamn long to send it, anyway? There does seem to be a major commonality here, and that’s the bush that we’re all beating around. No one seems to want to say what they’re really feeling. Neither he nor she manages to text, “Hey, I like you,” or, “Honestly, I’m not that into it.” The “why” here is simple — it’s rude, it’s harsh or it’s too straightforward. But is playing the game instead, and running in circles until we get to the same result, worth it?
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? I had my first kiss when I was 14 years old. Mammoth Mountain. Sweatpants. Braces with blue rubber bands. Ah, those were the days. Anyway, this was a pretty monumental moment in my life. It was the uncorking of a world I never could have possibly have imagined without experiencing it myself. And while it was cute and picturesque, my first kiss came and went, topped off with a devastating line from the 15 year old (yaaaas older men) who told me: “Just to be clear, we are not exclusive.”
Ah! Dagger to the heart. What is the meaning of this? Can’t you chill for a minute and see where it goes? Text me and ignore me until I get the message like a normal boy does. What are you thinking?
But, retrospectively, here’s what I’ve learned: The kid with a dumb haircut hurt my feelings, but he was honest with me. And that’s a lot more than what I get from men in college these days.
So what are we teaching each other about relationships? Why are we encouraging this hidden communication? Why should he ignore me until I get the hint rather than being straight up? Why are we obsessed with this game? What are we beating around the bush for?
So here’s my advice: let’s all get a Brazilian.
You know — the full bikini wax, the Hollywood wax, no landing strip — the one that takes it all away and looks like a baby’s bottom and makes you feel like a superhuman who can literally do anything, especially naked. Let’s strip away the stupid texting tactics.
How is it that there is an inherent difference between “hey,” “heyyy” and “hi?” Or between “okay,” “kk,” “k” or, worst of all, the dreaded “k.” with a period. We’ve all experienced both sides of these painfully meticulous conversations — the ones where you wait four hours to answer because he took all day, so you have to do the same thing back. Where he didn’t ask if you were going out, so you stay in. Where he won’t text about a dinner date, but hits you up at 3 a.m. for a sleepover.
Why, with all of this being said, are we so afraid of — or hurt by — saying what we mean? Why did I write my first kiss off as a bad guy, when all he really did was be honest with me? He wasn’t interested in going steady with one girl at the time, or at least not with me. Ouch. But can I really hate on him for that?
I suppose it’s that we have a sensitivity about how we’re perceived. What will he think of me if I tell him I care? That I’m clingy? Annoying? Obsessive, even? What will he think of me if I act aloof, like I don’t care, but actually do? Will I successfully become the unattainable cool girl?
The game becomes so centered around what your partner/fling/hook-up/crush might think or how they might react that we lose sight of the person we are — and how we would rather imagine ourselves. The actual reason I was upset when this kid told me it wasn’t all about us is because I’m protective of my feelings. A boy that doesn’t love and respect every aspect of me isn’t the boy I should be with, even at 14.
I want to feel like a superhuman who can do anything because that’s how I want to see myself. And when I envision myself that way, the expectations I have for how I’ll be treated in a relationship must follow accordingly.
Wax the bush. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your words are valuable, and in a world dominated by cellular communication, so are your texts. I’m not pointing fingers — we all play the game. But let’s take a moment to acknowledge what we might benefit from by visiting our local esthetician.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Columnist Dani Pinkus at firstname.lastname@example.org.