I’ve become addicted to my phone. Like a true junkie, I’m itching for a fix all day, waiting for that satisfying “ping ping” that tells me someonehas slipped a little something into my message inbox.
I never used to be this way. I could go hours without checking my phone on the off-chance a cheeky text managed to sneak through inaudibly, or restarting it just in case some kind of signal glitch is affecting my network coverage. I used to get through a day without morosely reading back over previously sent messages, looking for some kind of subliminal sign that would explain the lengthy period of radio silence.
I am, of course, talking about a particular type of texting. It is the texting that occurs between a male and female that is of a flirtatious – and sometimes lascivious – nature. apparently, we as a species decided that our mating ritual was not yet complicated enough, and thus came the advent of Facebook-stalking and sexting as part of our expected social interaction with the opposite sex.
This is how social interaction used to occur in the good old days: Two interested parties eye each other off in a bar. They exchange small-talk, approving glances at each other’s body parts and, all going well, phone numbers.
From this point, there are only two possible outcomes. One party will call the other. Or nothing at all will happen. See the flow chart below for further clarification.
Simple. Now, we move on to social interaction as it stands today. Again, we begin with two interested parties eyeing each other off in a bar, and after initial niceties phone numbers are once again exchanged. This time things are not so simple:
So ridiculously complicated. I recently exchanged numbers with a guy I met at a bar and chose the route of drunken late-night texting. I have since been informed by a well-versed single friend that in that initial decision to hit send I broke the cardinal rule of “the game” by sending the first text. (I didn’t even know I was playing a game – I’m just out there trying to get my lady-groove on.) The next morning, in the state of post-euphoric depression that always follows a big night out, I faced my first dilemma: should I leave it there, and imagine what could have been? Or should I continue down the dark and ominous path of texting?
I chose the latter. In the week that followed, I alternately blushed, giggled and bit my lip as I sent and received texts of increasing impropriety. I was flushed with the excitement and promise that each text held, imagining the enamoured expression on his face as he read my carefully drafted messages of unadulterated filth and the noticeable tightness in the crotch of his pants as his trouser-snake reared its head in anticipation. Every text brought me closer to doing things I would judge others harshly for doing. Though he was a man of few words, I took his brusqueness as evidence of his state of arousal – clearly the blood needed by his brain to create more titillating passages of text was being used elsewhere.
And then it happened. The moment it truly crossed the line from texting to sexting. Pictures were exchanged.
I can’t quite describe the feelings of excitement and terror that consumed me. I carefully chose my outfits at Bras N Things and spent an hour in the change room snapping away. I obsessed over angles, Photoshopped out blemishes, edited the lighting settings to give my skin a healthy glow as opposed to my usual pasty translucency. (*At this point I think it’s important to stipulate that my pictures were strictly of the area between shoulders and navel, and were no more pornographic than anything seen on commercial television between 10:30 and 11:30 pm. I am, after all, a lady. Just ask the guy with a picture of my tits.)
Each picture added to the already unbearable sexual tension, providing a kind of foreplay for what surely was now a guaranteed event.
And then it stopped.
Just as suddenly as it had started, it ceased. The last I ever heard from him was a softly lit picture of his man-dingo at full mast, his bed sheets and raised knees framing the glorious pants-bandit that occupied the centre of the shot. Attached was the charmingly bashful caption “I think u should come sit on this haha” – a testament to the carefully worded romance that had made me swoon repeatedly over the week-and-a-half of our courtship.
I never did get to sit on it. Nor did I get to do any of the countless other acts mentioned in our sexual preamble. In a way I was relieved – there was too much pressure. After all of the careful posing, the airbrushing, the flattering angles, I was worried my real body, with its many unflattering lumps and bumps, could only disappoint. And after reaching such a height of frenzied desire through our textual relationship, the deed itself, which would surely be prefaced with some awkwardness and embarrassment at the things we had written, read and seen, would surely fail to meet expectations.
Still, another part of me – the sexually frustrated part that resides in my pants – couldn’t help but be disappointed. The trouble with texting is it builds up a false sense of compatibility and familiarity. It’s something that we do so frequently with the more important people in our lives that it’s hard to maintain perspective when it’s taking place with a relative stranger. It’s something that conveniently fills in time and seems like a good idea after half a bottle of sav blanc, and a bloody brilliant idea after a bottle and a half.
I don’t know what I’ve learned from this experience. I’d like to say I’m wiser and more likely to proceed with caution. I’d like to say that I’ll never send another titty-pic to a guy I met once when I was drunk. I’d like to say I won’t read romantic undertones into mono-syllabic, occasionally mysoginistic man grunts spat out in text form.
But I guess that would be like the vehement resolution, made on a Sunday while morbidly hung over, that we’ll never drink again. Ever.
And then Friday night comes around.