|Yes, your phone is snazzy, but please learn how to use it.|
It is NOT good for: forming relationships.
Or even: flirting. (Unless, you are EXCELLENT at flirting via print medium. And I've met guys that are...but they are a rare breed. And I mean RARE- like the Grey Wolf used to be before Congress got a hold of it.) You must be sure the woman will (a) understand your subtext and (b) be into it before you try this.
Now, I know. Women aren't easy. We can be intimidating and sometimes make you feel like you need to keep your distance. We're sorry. Still, I think we can do better than just resorting to willy-nilly texting. Besides, men that call are sexy.
So, just for fun, here are a few Do's and Don't's of texting a woman (or, you know, a man, too) with whom you are in the early stages of dating (say dates 1-4 or 5, depending on the individual and how fast you become comfortable with one another).
- Text if you: are running late/need to meet at a different spot/are on a metro train where someone just vomited and passed out and emergency technicians have to be called. (Oh wait..that was my train.)
- Send a brief message after the date (like, WITHIN 24-48 HOURS, if you want to see this girl again) telling her you had a nice time. (Honestly, this is so hot. If you really want to start a woman panting, a brief and timely "I dug you" message is awesome. )
- Keep a text short, sweet and to the point. If you need to "clarify" anything related to feelings or emotions, pick up the phone. (Seriously.) (Seriously.)
- Call her if you get lost, need real directions or have to offer an explanation that will take more than 3 or 4 sentences. Or cancel. Canceling via text=goodbye, 4EVA.
- Send her a quick text if you see/hear/do something she'd find interesting, and you don't have access to email. Example: "Did you read this morning Washington Post article on squirrel nuts?! I saw it and thought of you!" or "Oh my gosh, I just stumbled across Gwyneth Paltrow doing a cooking demo at 14th and I! Get down here!"
- Be careful with abbreviations. We've all seen the Miller Lite Commercial.
- Text pictures of yourself. Ever. (If you are on Craigslist, trolling for hook-ups, this article does not apply to you. You go on with whatever it is you do.) In real dating, sending pictures of yourself is weird, cheesy or disturbing. UNLESS, it's a casually snapped shot of something she'd like (see the 5th "Do" above) or a self-shot of you and someone she'd be excited about. (Example: You run into Cole Hamels and ask for a quick picture. You could send that to her. And if you were accidentally cut out of the picture and it was just Cole Hamels, that would be ok, too.)
- Send texts that require multiple screens, as a general rule. If it's going to take that long to explain, you need to send an email or pick up the phone and call. Here is an example of a situation where it became clear that texting (or emailing) wasn't going to cut it. So, I picked up the phone and proceeded to embarrass myself that way instead. But, hey, at least it left no room for confusion! Case of Wine Guy
- USE EMOTICONS. It is extremely difficult to make an emoticon sexy. (Except the wink, but again, to use it, you need to be sure she'll interpret it the way you are intending). Mostly, I find guys use emoticons when they're worried something will be taken the wrong way. If this is the case, you need to think about: (a) should you really say it and (b) that there might be less confusion if you called. Mr. Scotch Sad Face did not get a second date. Just saying.
- Send meaningless texts. There is not a single woman out there who wants to get a random text two or three weeks after she went out with a guy that just says something like, "How's your week? Mine's been busy." or "Man, it's been hot this week." Get to the point. Why are you texting?! Better yet, what took you two or three weeks, a-hole?!
- Keep texting her if she's not responding to your texts. She's either: (a) busy or (b) not interested. Decide how you feel about those options and move on. (Women- we should take this advice as well. Everyone repeat after me: If the person is available and interested, they WILL contact you. I say this to myself at least ten times a month. Good reminder.)
- Drunk text unless she's given you signals that's she interested in this. (The "signal" being- drunk, flirty texts from her.) I once had a man I hadn't seen or spoken to in over a month text me at 2AM to wish me "Good Luck" at a 1/2 marathon I was running. The race was at 7. That day. I was not amused to be awoken in my hotel room 5 hours early.
And, of course, as an ambassador of bad texting, let us not forget: Text Message Guy.
Good luck out there, people.
Here is a teaser of next Tuesday's Melissa@Market piece over at Zomppa.
I'm off to Nashville to kick ass in my 9th 1/2 marathon! Enjoy your weekend.