Let’s get personal for a moment.
There’s a scene from Back to the Future in which Marty emerges from his time-traveling car 40 years into the future, and is blown away. If you haven’t seen the movie, imagine what your expression would be when seeing a flying car for the first time.
That’s me. Trying to date in 2016.
After over 9 years of two, consecutive, amazing relationships, I am now single. And I have been for the past year of my life. In case you missed that, the last time I was this single was in 2007. And in case you missed that, that was almost a decade ago.
I have literally flown in from the dating past, into the 21st century.
After one full year of single-hood, I share with y’all my major dating discoveries of the 21st century. You’ll laugh if you’re a pro at being single. I’m from the past, y’all. From the past.
Here is the first discovery I made in 2016. To those of you living in the future, where we currently are, cool. To those of you, like me, who haven’t dated in almost a decade…. here we go. Flying cars.
Major Discovery #1. Ask someone out….on text.
Part 1: How to be single….. Ask someone out….on text.
When I’m old, I’m going to share a story about how old I am with little kids. It’s going to start like this: “Back when I was young, people used to call each other on the phone or meet up in person for conversations. There was no such thing as text messages.”
Earlier this year, I went dancing. Being in my no-shits-given 30’s, not my narcissistic 20’s, I actually go to dance clubs to dance. And laugh at people. I also wear tennis shoes and tell all suitors to go. Except on this particular night, I’d noticed this attractive guy when he’d walked into the bar. Also, I’d had a glass of wine. So when he took my hand, I didn’t pull away.
Zero words had passed between us and hardly one whole song, when the good-looking guy, still dancing, pulled out his phone.
“Are you going to call someone?” I asked. First words spoken between us all night.
“I was hoping to get your phone number,” he explained.
“What?” I asked. I mean, aren’t you supposed to talk to someone before asking for a number? I thought. Taken by surprise, I rattled off my digits.
I assumed I’d hear nothing more from him.
Two mornings later, I woke up to a text. “Hey, this is ___ from the bar on Friday. How are you doing?” I ignored it.
Later that afternoon, I had lunch with my friend, E. “I can’t believe he actually texted me!” I said.
“Did you text him back?” E asked.
“Not yet,” I said, shrugging.
“Why not?!” E exclaimed. “You’re letting the magic die by the minute!” he said in horror. “Text him back RIGHT NOW.”
“But I’m hanging out with you…..” I protested.
Dutifully, I texted back. Instantly: a return text. E picked up his things, satisfied.
“Now it’s your turn to text him back,” he instructed.
“That’s weird,” I said. Texting is for when you know someone’s at work and can’t answer their phone. Texting is for when you don’t need a reply. Texting is NOT for a conversation.
“He’s expecting you to spend the rest of the night texting with him,” E said to me to me like he was talking to a 5-year-old. “So I’m gonna leave, so you can text with him.”
“Who does that?” I asked. “Also, I’m hanging out with YOU.” In 2007, people called each other on the phone and talked, like, with their actual voices.
“Trust me.” My friend nodded knowingly, Yoda-like, as he exited my house.
I shrugged. Hey – I was single. Why not try this new method of courtship? I was open-minded.
Forty-seven texts in, this new guy and I had covered topics like YouTube videos, sports, and what we each did for money. Midnight was approaching. I noticed how much time was passing and how painfully long communication took. During this text conversation, I made a roast chicken, a salad, ate them, washed my dishes, then organized my bookshelf.
Close to midnight…. I got the following text on my non-smart-phone:
“take you out weekend you”
One of the drawbacks of carrying a flip phone from 2005 is that emojis will garble text messages, which my phone can’t process. All of this guy’s other texts had come out just fine. I squinted at this one.
I composed a reply:
“Uh hey, your message came out in a jumble. Did you use an emoji? I think you might have been asking me on a date?”
Not. Awkward. At. All.
“Haha yea I said I was hoping I could take you out to somewhere nice this weekend.”
Texting time lapsed: 4 hours.
Text messages exchanged: 47.
In-person conversational minutes: approximately 45 seconds.
Moral of the story:
Meaningful conversations happen….. on text.
Next week in adventures from dating-past…..Discovery #2!