Texting while dating is a tricky business. If someone texts you on a Saturday asking, "Want to meet up for a drink tonight?" depending on who you ask -- friend, co-worker, sibling -- all of these people are going to have something different to say. For some reason, our minds have been taken over by the need for Text Content Analysis, and the amount of back and forth over eight words can easily spiral out of control. In the end it probably just means, you know, do you want to meet for a drink?
Enter HeTexted.com, a website where you will find the rock bottom of my generation's romantic culture. Women can now send in text messages "He Texted Me This," and get answers to, "So Now I'm Wondering," in the form of votes: "He's Into You," "He's Not Into You" and "Verdict Is Still Out."
This site allows people who don't know you at all to comment and give advice on what they think the meaning is behind texts like, "I love you but I have a tendency to screw up relationships," and what you should do about it. If that's not enough, you can write in and ask bro's Mason, "They call me the Dude Whisperer," and Ben, "I'm kind of a douchebag who knows many other douchebags. If you are having a douchebag situation, hit me up," for advice.
Self-proclaimed douchebag? Oh, I feel much better.
You can also write in to "bro" Tim, who promises, "I'm the Nice Guy, but will give you the honest (if brutal) truth. I'll decode those messages and signals so you know where you stand, and what to do."
This abominable site indulges the notion that women can't, for some reason, handle a relationship on their own without the help of random strangers to guide their decisions. It suggests that upon being told someone loves you yet has a tendency to screw up relationships, the best thing for you to do is not talk it over, but rather, as one commenter suggested, "dump him first."
The idea of Tim, or anyone, for that matter, acting as a go-between in a relationship only proves that we have become afraid of conversations. Conversations would call for a degree of honesty and the need for an immediate answer to a direct question. Instead we send texts, free of any kind of warranted response, allowing us to communicate simply through words on a screen, disconnected from any real feeling, leaving us ultimately unaccountable.
Alice wrote on the site:
He Texted Me This: "Thanks for last night. Had to leave early, but will catch up later."
So Now I'm Wondering: "We hooked up, he left. Is he into me?" (2 said yes, 96 said no, 22 aren't sure).
What I'm wondering, Alice, is are you into him? And why are you so skeptical about this text message -- is it because he thanked you? Because he didn't stay late? Because he committed to catching up soon but you don't, for some reason, believe him? How much of dating is us letting ourselves get weighed down by our own baggage, insecurities and fear that makes us question everything? Or is it really that when we question so much it's because, deep down, we know we're in something that isn't really good for us, yet for some reason we feel compelled to make it work anyway (for a failed relationship holds its own set of issues -- feelings of unworthiness, undesirability, the fear that we may never find someone else).
For Alice I'd say that since he spent the night with her he probably likes her at least a little bit, but we all know that may not (sadly) be the case. If love is a battlefield then dating is a war zone, and we have to be smart about what we're putting out there and what we're expecting to get back. If nothing else, HeTexted.com has proved that when it comes to dating, maybe it's time we start respecting more, not only other people but ourselves as well.
For example, Kate:
He Texted Me This: "Sorry fell asleep last night... Can't believe you were outside and I didn't hear you. Come over tonight?"
So Now I'm Wondering: "What do I text back? Who falls asleep when a girl they like is coming to see them?"
I wonder if men are okay being total idiots because they know that the women they're being idiots to aren't going to do anything about it. If Kate is afraid to call him out and tell him she's insulted by the fact that he didn't care enough to stay up for her and left her waiting outside, then what hope do we have?
I'll admit there have been instances when I haven't been forward in saying what I want. There have been times when I haven't asked what's going on while being led on, ignored or jerked around. And it all comes down to one word: denial. It happens to all of us, and websites like this only permit further denial. Why not encourage these women to simply talk the guy they're dating, to handle the relationship like a mature adult? Or would that just ruin their business model?
We all know it's better to know, to speak up and not be afraid to get answers, even if those answers end up not being the ones we want. We are a dating generation accustomed to playing games, of believing that caring is taboo. Texting only muddies those waters. So isn't it time to promote the idea that women be empowered and stand up for what they want, not perpetuate the stereotype that we sit around and worry about text messages from men and can't be warriors of our own hearts?
Molly was sent this text message:
He Texted Me This: "I only want you for sex. Nothing more. I'm serious. Just sex."
So Now I'm Wondering: "He's a great guy, and really funny. So maybe he's joking around a little. I can't help but think maybe there could be more between us than just sex. What do you think?"
I think dating is difficult. I think texting while dating is even more so. But I also think we have to know what we want and not be afraid. At least that way we can take control, pick up the phone and adhere to the public service announcement we see all over Manhattan on a daily basis -- if you see something, say something. How about if you feel something, say something. And that means to the person you have feelings for, not a website full of strangers.
I'm reminded of something Maureen Dowd once said, a quote I read a long time ago and think about often. It's been on my mind the entire time I've been writing this, "The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for."
Truer words were never spoken. I hope the women writing into this website will take heed.
Follow Victoria Comella on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VictoriaComella