The looming death of AIM, announced last year, signals not only the triumph of G-Chat, Facebook Messaging, Twitter, and text messaging over the '90s-era instant messaging service, but perhaps also the end of digital chivalry. Gone are the days when peak e-flirting occurred between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. on school nights, away messages were carefully crafted to include an in-joke that only the object of attraction would understand, and signing off without a goodbye was considered rude. These days, getting laid requires little more effort than two words sent from a phone in the middle of the night: "Wanna chill?"
Not really, Bro. Not really.
I know you still use a BlackBerry, have bad service in the office, and a late bloomer’s voice crack, but if you've been texting unsuccessfully for two weeks it's time to make a move. Namely, pick up the phone. Playing the game of telephone is not only simple, but entertaining and rewarding too. If your dad could do it (and he was a Bro, right?), God knows you can, because no type of relationship can be developed by exchanging eight-letter sentences.
And believe it or not, a girl will appreciate the slightest bit of effort. So much so that if you call Thursday afternoon, you’ll probably be in her bed by Sunday morning. Build up that good old-fashioned courage and court a girl the right way.
Have you called her yet? No? Still want to text her? Fine, I’ll give you the pointers for texting in the least idiotic manner possible. But don't you dare use f*cking emoticons. Ever.
With the advent of unlimited data, dudes assume that texting is a flawless and sufficient way to stay in contact with the girls of their affection. But with all of the analysis, mind games, and misinterpretations that come with it, texting can actually play against you.
Avoid at All Costs
Responding immediately is creepy ("OMG, its like he’s just waiting by his phone"), but responding too late is rude ("OMG, does he like not have a phone?"). Abbrevs are for teen girls, lol is for moms, and winky faces are for pedophiles. You went to kindergarten for a reason, so use your words. "Nm, Jc, HBU?" won’t get you laid — it’ll just make you look like a jackass.
Timing is Everything
If the only time of the week you text her is Saturday between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m., then f*ck you. Everybody knows what a bootytext is and I really doubt you’re that exceptional in the sack. On the other hand, if you're texting a girl nonstop throughout the day without any response, f*ck off. It doesn't matter if you're a nice guy — now you're the needy guy who she doesn't want to hang out with. Perhaps if you had foregone the three texts and just picked up the phone once, you could have impressed her with your boldness and made her want to give you a chance. Or been embarrassed only once instead of multiple times.
She's Not Your 'Babe' (Yet)
Unless you're texting your girlfriend (in which case this article doesn't apply to you), avoid using pet names. Referring to a girl as "babe" or "sweetheart" is presumptive, and chances are you wouldn't have the balls to call her that over the phone and especially to her face. Unless you’re from New Jersey, which requires a totally different texting handbook translated into Guido.
Sarcasm, Metaphors, and Slang Don't Work So Well
Aside from the etiquette that comes with texting, there's also a large margin for error elsewhere, such as in misinterpretations. Texts provide no vocal intonations, personality, or emotion, which can often lead to disastrous situations that may have otherwise been avoided. This is especially tricky when texting with someone you don't know well.
Just last weekend, one of my girlfriends was on that weekend grind (literally grinding on the dance floor) and selected her Bro of the evening accordingly. A few hours later they caught a cab to her apartment, which evidently she paid for. The next day she morning sexed the guy from the bar, then sent him on his way, content with her victorious evening.
A couple of days later, I got a furious Gchat depicting a text message she'd just received from last weekend's entertainment, as follows: "When can I get another cab ride?"
I tried to explain that despite the crass nature of this message, the dude was probably trying to be smooth and rekindle rather than infuriate her by comparing their sexual encounters to a free taxi ride. Nonetheless, she was livid. Had this guy picked up the phone and simply asked if she’d like to get drinks, her enraged responses may have been avoided.
Avoid such metaphors, because they're just not coming across right. And neither are your slang terms.
One of my roommates in college was doing some "cross-cultural" experimentation, which made for a really difficult time in the realm of communication. We spent hours trying to decode flexts and respond in kind. "Lock me in your rolodex" led to "Wanna get lifted?", which only led to a shit ton of white girl confusion. ("Do I want to get lifted? Does he mean like, off the bed?")
Try to be straightforward, and take the time to type out full words. If you notice that her responses don't match your questions, she probably doesn't understand what you're asking.
Autocorrect Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
A simple miscommunication is, for the most part, fixable. But if you send a text to the wrong person, there's little room for damage control. One wrong click and your budding romance could be in jeopardy; yet another reason why calling trumps texting.
A close friend of mine shared with me the following message that he accidentally sent to his part-time girlfriend and full-time enabler, "The Pharmacy": "Getting my prescription filled by the Pharmacy and then releasing some pent up frustration on her... be at the library by 4 p.m."
Needless to say, his prescription was not ready for pickup that afternoon. Could’ve been avoided by a phone call.
Most importantly, don’t forget that whereas a text leaves a permanent imprint in the paper trail, a phone call is fleeting. Any blackout, emo, accidental, or rude text you send to her can and will be used against you in the future.
So here’s the bottom line: Keep it clear and keep it simple, and you’ll probably keep yourself out of trouble. And when the time comes, use the phone for what it was invented for. No, not ordering delivery. Getting laid.