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Thursday, April 18, 2024


The other day, I received a text message from the new boy who I like. It had a short, sweet "hey, how are you?" implication, yet conveyed this salutation with clever wording based on an inside joke that was developing between us. This text was, in a way, quite titillating. Upon seeing it illuminate my phone, I felt amused, excited and even a little turned on — simultaneous emotions that indicate the intensity of my crush is growing bolder. Yeah, I like this one.

Of course, the first rule when it comes to flirtatious text messages is to conceal the interest I've just described. It's great that someone is giving me the attention that I want, but come on, I can't let him know that just yet. The situation is delicate and must be handled with utmost care — respond too soon, and one risks appearing over-eager, readily available and, my least favorite "D-" word of all time: desperate.

However, on the flip side, if one waits too long to return the correspondence, there is a possibility of sending false signals of the "I'm not too interested" type. (Rule of thumb: Give it 15 to 60 minutes, depending on how well you know each other, before sending the first reply. If the conversation begins to flow, lessen the wait time. After all, it's only polite to reward good behavior.)

This got me thinking about the games we play in the roulette of text messages. In some ways, the text has opened possibilities in relationship communication that would probably blow Alexander Graham Bell's mind. Texting allows us to be poignant, to think an extra few seconds before we speak and to turn on the witty charm using 160 characters or less. Want to melt a girl's heart? Interrupt her day with an adorable quip consisting of equal parts humor and flattery. If she returns the favor, you're golden.

But what happens when the feeling isn't mutual? When a message is sent, but goes unanswered? Or, the worst, when the reply happens days later with a, sorry-my-phone-died lie? We all know the solution to this quandary is simple, albeit a blow to the ego: Give up. Take the number out of your phone to resist a repeat offense and move on. Yet for some reason, the element of challenge presents itself and entices some of us to persist, to attempt to break down the wall and evolve our shame from text-reject into the morning-after walk.

In my crush's case, I have to admit that he has mastered the balance of an effective, complimentary, humorous and cute text. Correspondence is initiated on a regular, but not excessively frequent, basis that implies he's available, but not clingy.

Oh, plus he uses proper grammar and leaves the emoticons to a minimum — what an adult! The better half of me knows that this is, in its own right, a type of game. But it's one that I'll play a little longer.

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