Why I don’t play post-date texting games

by Cassidy McCombs, Staff Writer

Last weekend I met a guy. Well, I’ve met him a few times over the course of this year. But last Saturday night my friend convinced me that this guy was into me, he was cute and that I needed to change my taste in men. So, we hung out for the evening. It was a run-of-the-mill Saturday night fling. I found the night to be typical of any weekend night that I meet some guy and talk to him all night.

He left in the morning, alongside a couple of other friends who spent the night at my house. He told me that he wanted to take me to dinner, and his persistence to take me on a proper date had me rolling my eyes all night.

It was refreshing to have a follow up of wanting to pursue a proper courtship. But I also have become skeptic of guys expressing their infatuation with me.

The questions started in my head within the next few hours. His phone was dead, how is he going to reach out if he doesn’t have my phone number? When he said date, did he really mean romantic or did he mean a hang out? Is this something to tell my friends? Should I wait?

I stopped waiting. I don’t think I’ve been rejected as many times in my life as I have this past year. My newfound ability to text a guy first has become my Achilles’ heel. But with every rejection comes an imperious need to continue texting first.

On last week’s episode of the Hidden Brain podcast, titled “Hookup Culture: The Unspoken Rules of Sex on College Campuses,” host Shankar Vedantam addressed the social norms of modern day hook-up culture for college-aged people. In this podcast sociologist Lisa Wade presented a study from her book, “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus”.

The study found — emotional attachment is social suicide and the dichotomy between meaningful and meaningless sex is at an all-time high. Beyond just not “catching feelings”, this game of apathy has evolved into a game of caring even less than the other person.

For something that by definition should be low-key, casual sex and hook-up culture yield a list of unspoken rules. One of them being who texts first. It’s safe to assume that this story is heteronormative. I’m a cis-gendered heterosexual female. And for that, I only have limited experience in the dating sphere. But something that is applicable across all games of romantic pursuit is whether to text first. Games — a term of intent to describe the millennial dating scene – are for family nights. I don’t play games in my dating life and I don’t play games with other people’s feelings.

I ended up not texting. Our mutual friend awkwardly shared our contact information in a group chat – the guy left his sunglasses at my house. But after a short conversation of when to meet up, the last exchange we did have consisted of me trying to follow up about plans and him texting me a day later with an apology for getting drunk and having his phone dead all day and night. His excuse reads into a whole other topic of dating partiers and people unable to attend to another’s emotional needs. But this was the last exchange we had.

It’s strange how friends, family and romantic interests can compliment you, call you a catch, but all agree that texting – a simple act of pursuit and a clarification of interest – can be a be-all-end-all act. I freaked him out. I was too aggressive. I followed up with him. He made a comment to my face about raising children together and yet a text from my end results in a ghosting. No. The way culture presents the idea of a man traditionally pursuing a female is based on a patriarchal, sexist and dated nuclear family unit. The man is bold, smart and demanding while the woman is sweet, submissive and attentive.

I started texting first out of spite. I feel like guys assume women are more into them than they want, and that they must keep the “crazies” at bay.

I didn’t feel crazy. I felt like the things I wanted or said were normal, but that the backlash from the guys around me was dramatic. So, I started just doing what I wanted. I didn’t wait around for a guy to text me. I stopped missing out on plans I could have with friends in favor of hanging out all night with some guy who couldn’t care less about me.

I took control of my own self-worth. It’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting a guy to like you. And it’s fun to be pursued. Guys that pursue me tend to be the guys I’m meanest to ­and the guys I like tend to run away out of fear that I’ll trap them into a relationship.

That’s college hook up culture in a nutshell.

But I am worth more than that, and what’s ironic is I don’t even want a relationship. The less I try to explain myself to a guy, the more I start to see what stereotypes they project onto me. So yes, I text first, but I also don’t waste my time anymore.

If a text sends a message to a guy that you’re too aggressive, he isn’t worth your time anyways. It’s better to figure that out sooner rather than later.

Now, I make plans with my friends and I don’t compromise my schedule. If I’m interested in hanging out with someone, a friend or romantic interest, I ask. And the greatest guys I’ve met usually don’t give me time to overthink the idea of texting first. I don’t let guys objectify me via silence and I don’t put my self-worth up for grabs because I want to see if some guy will reach out to me. This is why I put the control in my own hands — why I always text first.