Last week, I was witness to an event that has shocked and awed the few men that have had the great, great privilege of observing it. I saw the mind of a girl work as she received texts from her current love interest. It was incredible. I had been hypothesizing what it is that girls think we’re actually doing on the other end of that phone and finally someone pulled the curtain back and allowed me to meet Oz…Oz was a girl. Oz was very confused.
It began Friday night. I crashed at my cousin’s place for the night in Williamsburg and she and her roommate had gone out and done Williamsburg things like drank alcoholic beverages and told boys to go away. That is, until one boy approached the roommate (let’s call her Mel), and Mel did not ask the boy to leave.
Fast-forward through what I could only imagine was heavy bar flirting, them making several plans to hang out the next day, and eventually a semi-awkward goodbye of her telling him no, he can’t come home with her, and then it’s the morning after…and the texting began. And as a guest in the house of these rambunctious 20-something females, I had backstage passes to the show.
10:15AM Boy: Hey last night was fun. Maybe we can do something later.
OK, so we have already reached our first bump in the road. “What does me mean, MAYBEEEE, Noah? When guys say MAYBE, does that mean he wants to hang out or he doesn’t want to hang out?” she asks the only guy in the room. “Umm, I mean, I guess he just used the word maybe,” I so eloquently responded.
10:20AM Girl: Hey I had fun too. I will be around later this afternoon.
She was proud of her perfectly vague response.
2:00PM Boy: Hey, what’s up? Going golfing with the boys. Can we grab a drink after?
Oh, wow, now there are big problems. The girls reading this are probably getting angry just looking at their iPhones right now. But as her temporary consultant I found nothing wrong with this text. She, however, had a grocery list of problems with it. First of all, it was four hours after the first set of texts (I guess that’s bad). Second, now he’s changing the plans? It was going to be an afternoon chill sesh in the sun, and now it’s drinks? She’s not pleased with the last-minute changes. Who comes first? The exciting beauty in the bar or a stupid game (her words, not mine. Golf is lovely). Now she will show him who’s boss of this conversation.
2:45PM Girl: Have fun! I’m down for whatever just give me a time.
Key factors to her response (in her mind): 45-minute wait time and her first demand – secure a time.
5:00PM Boy: Hey sorry my phone was in my bag while we played. I won the round so they’re buying me beers. What are you up to?
“Noah, what does he mean what am I up to?! I am waiting for him to give me a freakin plan! Guys can’t commit! Not even to just an afternoon! And we had plans last night! What should I tell him I’m up to? I should say I’m busy, right? I should just tell him never mind and go find someone who will wait around for him while he figures out what he wants! Right??” she said enthusiastically.
My response: “Mel, you only met last night and even though you made plans, you guys were drinking. He probably didn’t take the plans that seriously and I wouldn’t have either. Just ask him again if he can do something tonight….”
My cousin Jess pipes in: “All guys are D&*^S.” Classic.
5:02PM Girl: Sounds like fun. What time did you want to do this?
5:04PM Boy: I’ll call you when we leave the bar.
5:07PM Girl: It’s ok. Another time.
5:08PM Boy: Wait what? What happened?
I learned so much from this episode. Please read on…
Let’s start in the beginning. There is one key to truly understanding texting between you and your guy, or soon-to-be guy: He is thinking about his text for the amount of time it takes to write a text and he is thinking about your response for the amount of time it takes to read it. Girls, on the other hand, when their iPhone makes that sacred sound, seem to turn instantaneously into psychologists, interpreting every single syllable, period, time allotted between texts, if he read it quickly or waited, if he read it quickly then why didn’t he respond immediately, and on and on until said girl is crying in the fetal position and everyone around her is rubbing her back and validating the age-old mantra that “All Guys Suck.”
We don’t all suck. Some of us do, so stop texting those ones. But in order for boys and girls to get along, we need to understand that we’ll never understand. What I mean is that a girl will never understand how we can watch nine innings of baseball and we will never understand how one could possibly need that many shoes. Instead of trying to get deep inside each other’s heads, I think it’s time we start acknowledging that there are qualities about one another that we don’t relate to and that’s OK. In fact, that’s the point. That’s how we complement each other and build off the other’s strengths.
This all applies to texting. We’re unfortunately in an age where calling seems too intimate so we shield ourselves behind our screens and exercise our opposable thumbs like the keyboard Olympics are coming to New York. So when texting that new or old guy, know that you’re texting a different species. It will make things easier.
The guy was so confused when Mel said, “It’s ok. Another time.” Because in his mind, he literally did not think there was any tension between them at all. It’s like you’re playfully throwing snowballs at a friend and all of a sudden your friend beats you over the head with a baseball bat.
This unsuspecting gentleman (whether he was in the wrong or not) had no idea a bat was coming his way. Mel was ready to swing away the whole time. Defenses already up, artillery loaded, waiting for him to validate her feelings that she was the last thing on his mind. In reality, he probably did want very much to see her that day and he also probably wanted to play golf with his friends very much that day…and that’s about as much as he thought about it. That decision, when communicated over text, doesn’t have the greatest opportunity to end in playing in the snow. I would guarantee that if she heard the nuances of his tone and his jokes and every other sense you get over the phone, this would have ended very differently.
Also, I have been making it out like guys are completely immune to over-thinking texts. We are not. I think we just assume innocence until proven guilty. Just the other day a girl gave me her number and I texted once just to say that it was me and there was no response for about an hour. In Mel’s case and maybe some girls you know, she would have begun to pound her head against the wall. In my case, and most guys I know, I figured she was busy with her family because she told me she was on her way to see them. She texted me back when she had a chance and the world continued to spin on its axis.
Now the ultimate question: why does it take time for a guy to respond?
Out of everything I witnessed that Saturday afternoon, what stuck out most was the frustration Mel felt as a result of him not thumbing away at his keyboard and making those little typing bubbles as soon as humanly possible. Those typing bubbles are our best friend, aren’t they? Yes, even dudes enjoy the typing bubbles. But we need to drive this point home because I have gotten in trouble with even my female friends for not texting quick enough. The reason guys take a while to text back is because….we’re busy or whatever you said doesn’t warrant a response. That’s it. It’s really simple.
I have a few more texting tips that, if followed, will promise to