I just got back from a long, unproductive day at the library and flipped open my phone to find this text:
“Would you be interested in a date?”
I was mystified. Floored. Baffled.
a) First of all, the number wasn’t one I recognized, and I was a bit perplexed by the kind of egotism that would cause a guy to assume that I would know who he was by mental osmosis– or that I would agree to go out with him, sight unseen and name unknown.
b) Secondly, the wording was a bit awkward, leaving too much room for interpretation. “Would you be interested in a date?” Did this person mean a date, as in an evening spent enjoying (relatively speaking) one another’s company? Or was this person offering me a date, that is, a kind of fruit I vaguely associate with a prune, but which may be more like a fig? Or was this person just wondering if I wanted to buy a date, as in, get a day of the year named after me? I know they do that with stars, so who knows? Maybe today was national buy-a-date day.
On the bright side, of course, the text was relatively well-constructed. I would have been infuriated to get a “hey, u wanna go out wit me 2day?” text.
c) Rule number one of the dating game: Do not. Do not. Do not. EVER. Ask a girl out by text message. If you walk up to any self-respecting girl and ask her out and she isn’t interested, she’ll tell you so politely and kindly, and try to let you keep your dignity intact*. And she’ll respect the guts it took for you to approach her. Kindness and empathy and dignity don’t translate as well through text message.
d) I haven’t flirted with a single guy since coming to South Carolina. There have been no sidelong glances, no winks, no “oh-however-did-we-happen-to-meet-oh-so-accidentally”s, no dropped hankies. Left field doesn’t begin to describe how far from expected this text was.
I shrieked with laughter and showed it to my roommate, whose face registered emotions similar to my own.
I quickly ran through possible response options.
a) “Yes”–only a good option if I actually did want to go out with said person; and judging from the fact that he had already committed the most heinous of all dating crimes, that of unabashed cowardice, I knew I probably did not.
b) “No”–a nice, solid option . . . but I inherited whatever curiosity didn’t die with the cat. I really wanted to know who this person was. (Plus, my roommate pointed out, “IT MIGHT BE TIM TEBOW!!!!”)
c) “Is this the creepster from the library?” (Seriously, some guy today stopped and stared open-mouthed at me when I entered, then followed me downstairs and peeked at me through the stacks. I am now studiously avoiding mirrors so I can assume he was in awe of my alluring presence and not of, say, a piece of pepperoni stuck to my chin). I really, really wanted to believe it wasn’t the creepster from the library. So I chose to do so.
d) “Depends on who this is.” I finally selected this option, as it gave me an out if I realized that the creepster had, indeed, somehow gotten my number, while also leaving the door open if the man was, say, my soulmate. Or Tim Tebow (Po-TAY-to, Po-TOT-o).
The response: “I’ll pay–it’ll be fun.”
My knee-jerk reaction to this dodgy lack of self-disclosure was, “I bet that’s what Ted Bundy would have said.”
“I’ll pay?” Shouldn’t that be assumed when you ask someone out for a first date? Ms. Manners is shaking her head over our generation as I type.
And “it’ll be fun?” Really? Will it? Will it be fun before or after you stop playing “Phantom of the Opera” with me and tell me your name? And how you happened to get my number? And why you’re texting me instead of talking to me in person?
But before I could finish texting my response (which was literally, “I bet Ted Bundy said that, too”–I wasn’t in the mood to play cute games with a weirdo), I got the following text which made it all clear:
“Shoot, wrong number. Sorry.”
I ran into my roommate’s room, showed her the text, and fell laughing to the ground. Poor child. He thought he was texting the vision he met across a smoky room last night, and instead he was texting a sharp-tongued girl with little tolerance for textual flirtation.
Which brings me to the moral of the story:
If you ask a girl out face-to-face, you’ll at least know you’re talking to the right one.
Unless you’ve got a Jacob and Leah and Rachel thing goin’ down, in which case you have my sympathies.
*This rule does not apply when you pick up girls in bars.