Friendly Conversations: Cinco

AH! I haven’t posted nearly enough of these this year. To be totally honest, the past few months have hosted some of the best one-liners of my entire life… but I didn’t write them down. Between T/B and M/N’s weddings, general debauchery with college friends and holiday surprises, there were so many hilarious moments, but I didn’t write them down the way I used to. At the time, it felt rude to the other person or to that moment in general to waste time on my phone capturing a few sentences. Luckily, texts are forever, and mine with Twinster are some of the best. Though sorry, T – a few others snuck in there too.

So for the last time this year, I give you today’s: Friendly Conversations.

On Snapchat (pt. 1)
Twinster 4.PNG

On sibling reassurance
Twinster 2

On life after holiday parties
*Preface: I thought I lost my phone at the holiday party and threw a tantrum. Then I found it. Sooooooooo……

Text 6

On Snapchat (Pt. 2)
Twinster 3

On dating advice, from married people (pt. 1)
Twinster 5

On surviving three-party weekends
Text 5.png

On dating advice from married people (pt two)
Twinster 6

 

Perfect, then…

Last week on Thursday, I kept smiling. Despite having worked a full twelve hours, I’d texted my lovely friend M on the way out of the office to complain a little, and it turned out she was around the corner, so we met for some much-needed margaritas and maybe a tequila shot (or three) as well. The weekend ahead promised so many wonderful things: a yoga workshop in Central Park with M and my cousin, who I’d convinced to come in from Connecticut for the afternoon, followed by dinner at a different cousin’s restaurant in Nyack, and ending with a pit stop in FiDi to say hi to the rest of the group, as my partner-in-crime R, her Scot H, my fashionista C and N planned to spend the afternoon and evening on rooftops, drinking in summertime alongside Oyster Bay. I’d also promised D&D that I’d watch their dogs this weekend, so in between all of those wonderful things, I’d get to come home and snuggle with my favorite pug and pitbull, So as I took the last tequila shot on Thursday night and started the long trek back to Washington Heights much later than usual, I had this overwhelming feeling that life couldn’t get any better.

Last week on Friday, as I prepared to leave the office on the earlier side, I kept smiling. It had been a productive but simple day at the office, and I was just on my way out to meet my sorority big for a short walk along the High Line and then a long and leisurely dinner/happy hour at Montmartre, a cozy French bistro in Chelsea. The Supreme Court announcement led to a giddy elation that permeated the neighborhood streets, rainbow flags and songs about love every which way you looked, people gearing up for a pride weekend that celebrated so much more than they’d originally planned. As my big and I moved into our third hour of sitting in the backyard patio, munching on pickled vegetables and sharing a cool bottle of rosé, I had this overwhelming feeling that life couldn’t get any better.

On Saturday, I woke up early and met up with M to head to the Upper East Side, her to babysit for a few hours before our yoga class, and me to drop my things off at D&D’s and hang out with the pups for a few hours before it was yoga time. We rode the bus and chatted excitedly about dinner later that night in Nyack, and bounced in our seats at the chance to train with Superhuman Yogi. I felt my phone buzz twice, the rapid cadence of an incoming text, and checked my phone, assuming it was my cousin with travel plans or brother reminding me to take home the toy he and D had picked up for little miss a few weeks back.  Instead I saw a number that I didn’t recognize but I immediately knew who it was. Before I’d looked at the text, before I looked up the area code to confirm, I knew in the bottom of my heart that The Child had just sent me a text. After thinking all weekend that life couldn’t get any better, he had some fucking nerve sending me anything, especially seeing as today is exactly a year since he told me “I can’t.”

You can see why we call him "The Child" after that final response.

You can see why we call him “The Child” after that final response.

That’s our conversation. M and I debated hotly about what to say in response – should I take the opportunity to be a bitch and tell him to fuck off? Ignore it completely? Play dumb and just say “who is this?” In the end, I realized I just don’t care anymore. Maybe he thought about me for a split second this past weekend but I take that train every day, and I stopped thinking about him months ago. And as I crafted the perfect response to acknowledge I read the text, know who sent it and now want nothing to do with it ever again, I felt an eerie sense of calm. This text three months ago, six months ago, would have put me in an emotional tailspin. And all it did this weekend was make me angry for six minutes and then I didn’t think about it again until the next day, when I was scrolling through texts and noticed I’d forgotten to delete it. What a different place to be in from this time last year; what a different way to approach hearing from someone who used to hold a piece of my heart. What a great way to start a new week, a new month and a new season: surrounded by so much happiness and people I love, no longer preoccupied with the things that caused me so much pain in the past.

“I just need a minute.”

Early this morning, after I’d rolled myself out of bed, just late enough to miss the yoga class I’d ambitiously told myself to attend, I was taking stock of everything in my kitchen and realized there are a few staple items I’m going to need before starting the Whole30 on Tuesday. Despite the fact that it was 6:25 and the sun wasn’t even up yet, I texted my lovely friend M for advice on the best time to go to Trader Joe’s (answer: pretty much never), and then we just went back and forth for a bit, catching up on our Thursday nights, until it was just past 7 and I needed to finish getting ready for work. M and I frequently text this early in the morning about anything and nothing – I think since I live alone and her N doesn’t wake up until after she’s left for work, it’s a chance for both of us to have a conversation before starting our days. M is the only person (aside from Mama B on occasion) who I text with that early in the morning, so when I heard my phone chirp early yesterday, I assumed it was her. Imagine my surprise when it was a message from my anchor G, who not only is NOT a morning person, but is an hour behind NYC in Texas. Immediately nervous something was wrong, I frantically opened the text to read “I just need a minute,” and as I read on I smiled: first, because everything was fine, and second, because there are some conversations you can really only have with your best friend at 7 in the morning from across the country.

In this day and age, there are some really weird ways that we show each other affection. People write “Happy Birthday!” on Facebook instead of calling or even texting, and sharing your Netflix password, or better yet, your HBOGo account, is the highest honor a friend can bestow. The really good friends always check with the photo subjects before posting a group selfie to Instagram, a quickly-becoming unwritten rule for a good friendship, and you can maintain entire relationships through a small tablet between long text conversations and maybe a late-night Facetime now and again. Sure, there’s a personal aspect that’s missing with these types of interactions, but when you have friends scattered all over the country, plus a busy job, it’s hard to find that half-hour or hour to sit and catch up on life. I mean, it’s not like I’ll text just anyone at 6 in the morning – let’s be real, 9 times out of 10 the only thing I want to hear before 7am is the buzz of the coffee maker and Weather on the 1s (NYC gets it). But for a quick conversation to confirm if I should stock up on coconut butter from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, or maybe a conversation to help a friend through a frustrating moment, I’ll respond any time of the day.

G and I are in a similarly interesting place in our lives, as we’ve had a lot of personal experiences that mirror each other in the past two years. She also dealt with a life-changing break-up, she also dealt with someone who wasn’t mature enough for the promises he made, and she’s also navigating single life with a cautious yet reckless abandon, something I picked up from her because I admire it so much. We’re really good at keeping up with each other on the phone, long Sunday afternoon phone dates where I pace my apartment as little miss follows, laughing at everything and sharing all the details, but every once in a while we need an early-morning bitch fest to get out the frustrations of being 20-somethings with someone who understands exactly how the other is feeling. It’s in these moments I’m so grateful we can text quickly instead of waiting for the long Sunday calls; it’s a chance to bitch and moan to someone across the country so you don’t take frustration out on anyone around you. It’s also a great chance to stay attuned to the little details of our lives, the way we did in college, when an early morning bitch-fest meant someone breaking into the other’s dorm room and climbing into her bed, demanding a hug and stealing as much of the comforter as possible. It’s comforting, almost, being able to share a few minutes in the morning, because it makes me feel like she’s two doors down again, waiting for me to walk to class.

I don’t think our morning text sessions will ever reach the level that M and I text. After all, M and I live two blocks away instead of 2,000 miles, and are basically in constant contact all day, between grocery lists, videos from work and coordinating weekend plans. It’s nice to know that the option is there, though, when I really need G for just a minute. Sometimes that just means one of us has a date later that night and we’re nervous, or sometimes it’s the morning after the date and you need to share details. Sometimes it’s just an excuse to send angry words in ALL CAPS because it’s frustrating to be the only single person in your group of friends, and sometimes it’s half-joking complaints that those friends will never understand what we’ve been through, though god knows they keep trying. I’m sure the next time I see her name on my phone it’ll be a long conversation over the actual phone, since we’re way, way overdue. But in the meantime, it’s nice to have “just a minute” here and there to stay in touch, regardless of whether I’ve had my coffee yet or not.

Clean Slate

On Sunday, prior to returning home for an afternoon of football with little miss, my amazing, wonderful, generous parents accompanied me to upgrade my slowly-dying iPhone, and surprised me by purchasing the new one for me as a slightly belated birthday gift. My poor 4S held on as long as it could, but I’ve been dealing with a litany of issues, not limited to missing/stalled texts, a battery life of approximately twelve minutes and this weird problem with my email where it displayed 4 inboxes, for months now. Like all good Apple devotees, I had grand plans to wait for the 6, but I’m not that technologically inclined, so the extra money for a larger phone with features I don’t really understand wasn’t super appealing to me or my bank account. I already love the 5S, potentially just because it works and I’m not used to that, but I will admit, I ran into a minor hiccup in transferring data from the old phone to the new one. Namely, nothing, aside from my contacts, transferred, leaving me with a phone that has zero photos, zero calendar reminders and an entire text history wiped clean.

Fortunately, my photos are backed up on my parent’s computer, and I barely used that calendar, save for a few birthday reminders that I usually remember anyway. But losing the texts is another story. I’ve had some iteration of an iPhone since 2009, and up until this weekend, I had texts in there going back to the beginning, if I had the time or attention span to scroll that far. Truth be told, every once in a while, I loved going back and reading old text conversations. I’d aimlessly scroll through a funny exchange about residual yoga pain with my lovely friend M, chuckle at the post-Sunday Funday messages from months ago with my fashionista C, find the name of that great bar my partner-and-crime R and I went to back in the spring. And sometimes it was fun to look back at old messages from the guys that have cycled in and out of my life in the past year or so, looking at the last text exchange before things faded seven months ago, rereading a birthday message from last week, a surprise present that made my Saturday night. There was a rich history in those texts; I could trace the beginning of one friendship and the slow fade of another if I took the time to scroll.

But on the flip side, keeping that many memories is a loaded weapon, ticking away the seconds before the emotional bomb explodes. I could find the final “I love you” before messages took a sour turn, exchanging apathy across the ocean. I could watch the slow beginnings of a new relationship, the getting-to-know you messages, peppered with comments about the spring weather and grand plans for the summer; I could watch that turn into the “I’m sorrys” and the “I can’ts,” the “thinking about yous” that make me angry and sad all at once. There were words in that long text history that were meant to be sweet but could cut through my torso like sapphire glass, unbreakable. It was the lowest form of self-harm, consciously rereading those conversations rather than deleting that history, knowing I can relive a painful past with the slow swipe of a screen.

I don’t know why I chose to keep that much information on my phone, to be perfectly honest. Part of me is sad that I can’t look back and find those beginnings anymore, the new friendships, the still-happy relationships. Part of me is sad I don’t have the first bubble in a conversation that’s still going, just in case it ends like I’m convinced it will, even though I really, really don’t want it to. But there’s been a tangible shift in perspective for me in the past few weeks, looking at the year ahead, the milestones; a shift like I want to take everything I’ve learned lately and just move forward, stop dwelling on the past and stop worrying about the future, and start over. It starts with a clean slate: in this case, a phone with no history, waiting for a new history to reflect on when rereading old conversations in the years to come.

Sexting.

Recently a former coworker and I were laughing over drinks and comparing tales of dating life, me recalling the origin of some interesting injuries and her sharing anecdotes of the perils of online dating. Despite using the “respectable” apps, like Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel, she still managed to land a dud every once in a while, like a recent someone, who spent exactly 4 days charming her on text, saying how much he couldn’t wait to meet her, and then after they met, pulling a total 180. “A 180? Like he stopped responding?” I asked, curiosity piqued. “Ugh, worse,” she sighed. “Unsolicited dick pic.”

wait wut.

wait wut.

Believe me or don’t (I don’t care), but to be perfectly honest, I’m not really a fan of sexting. Maybe it’s a lack of experience, because I’m not on any online dating sites and therefore haven’t received an unsolicited dick pic, but despite all the other ridiculous single stereotypes I have experienced, sexting just isn’t my thing. Look, obviously I can understand the appeal: it’s quick, and easy, and a good way to confirm that the person you’ve been creeping on OKCupid (is that still relevant?) actually matches his profile pic. But there’s no mystery, no intrigue, to sending someone a naked selfie; everything’s just out there, no effort. Couple that with a gripping paranoia that I wouldn’t have control over what happened to the photo once it was in someone else’s hands, and in my opinion that’s just too much anxiety for a blurry frame of half a boob, or a mirror shot where anything interesting is blocked by the flash. Again, I’m not speaking from single life experience here. I don’t have stories of sexting gone right or wrong, because I don’t really have any sexting stories period. But from where I’m standing, I don’t really get it.

There’s something to be said about the instant gratification of this day and age. You can beat your friend at trivia with a simple Google search on a phone, buy way too many clothes on Hautelook while on a 5 minute break from work (<– what? not me), and yes, share a shot of your goodies without leaving your couch. I love the immediacy of our culture to an extent, the wealth of knowledge and information you can access with a swipe on a glass screen, and how easy it is to stay connected to people, across the room, across the state or even across the ocean. In certain situations, the immediacy is thrilling; planning a last-minute date on the fly, ordering delivery anything from your couch when you’re too hung over to move, planning your next vacation with someone while a hundred miles apart. But in situations like sexting, it takes away from the thrill of the chase, the wild anticipation of not knowing something unless you work for it, not having something without putting in the effort.

I much prefer the slow burn of words on a phone, the lag time in between texts, like you’ve spent time on your response, the modern idea of waiting for a letter in the mail. The implicit understanding of what you really mean when you’re talking about working out, or asking questions about exactly how far I can bend in yoga. Agonizing over whether it’s too soon to respond, enjoying the idea that he might be checking, and rechecking, and rechecking his phone, the way you do after finally sending that message to him. A conversation that has nothing to do with anything, but it causes you to smile when you read, and reread, and reread; the strategic use of emojis make everything look silly and sexy all at once. Reading a long conversation and trying to imagine the voice on the other end, and then rereading it trying to paint a picture of where that person is and whether you’re still on his mind.

Granted it’s not “sexting” in the “traditional” sense of the word, as traditional as technology that’s barely two decades old can be. And all things considered, in most aspects of my life, “patience” is a foreign concept. Maybe it’s just a weird personality shift as I’m slowly approaching my birthday in a few weeks, getting accustomed to the idea that birthdays are now becoming synonymous with “actually getting old” (and to think I used to complain about 23). I’m sure someday I’ll have to revisit this post, revising with my own horrifying story or …. well let’s just say “or.” At this particular moment though, the slow burn is enough for me for now.

In defense of texting.

Is texting ruining dating? How you’re killing chances of a meaningful relationship by texting. Why texting is the worst. Why never to use Emojis.

Way back when, in the faraway land of college circa 2006, texting was a somewhat new concept making the rounds in the mobile world. My trusty Motorola flip phone had neither a keyboard, nor T9 (original autocorrect), and sending something as simple as “what’s up” took serious effort. Yet between coordinating mealtimes with my entire orientation group, confirming the exact location of that off-campus party and occasionally something about class, I somehow managed to average 200+ texts per month. And to think, comparatively speaking, I wasn’t even texting that much.

Wise words, Aziz.

Wise words, Aziz.

Fast forward to now, and I really don’t want to know how often I send and receive texts. Between friends, coworkers, family and the “hey-just-heard-you’re-single-let’s-hang-out” former college acquaintances (yup), I’m on the phone a lot without really speaking to anyone. News/interest sites are flooded lately with articles which now pinpoint the demise of human interaction on a romantic level at texting, but I have to respectfully disagree. In fact, I’d prefer people get to know me by text.

As someone completely new to the dating scene, I’m in full support of a medium that allows me to ignore someone, should I choose, or take a few minutes to craft a pithy yet witty response to the classic “sup” opener. (Aside: guys, please type the full “what’s up.” It makes you look smarter and more interested in our response. End aside.) In person, when I’m nervous, I speak quickly. Occasionally I can’t keep up with my own thoughts, so I end up rambling, tripping over my words or laughing maniacally. Sometimes all three at once. The fact that via text, I can ponder my response, write it out, read it back and then revise accordingly, is, well, pretty bitchin’. It’s not that I’m changing my personality while texting vs. in real life; rather, I’m getting the chance to say what nerves generally override with distracting, nervous habits.

There’s also nothing quite like checking your phone to see you have a new message, whether it’s a friend who really needed you to know their roommate accidentally saw them naked at 2am (again), or the guy you met last month who wants to know if you got the new job. Conversations can move in a million different directions, from actual getting-to-know-you thoughts into a heated debate about tacos. Some of the embarrassment around asking certain questions is removed when you’re not interacting face-to-face. You stop trying to anticipate their reaction and just get it all out there with “but seriously, what’s your opinion on One Direction?”

Schooled.

Schooled.

True, texting while drinking is a hazard of the trade. But if someone can’t handle getting “DOOOOD YOU LAME CAPS LOCK HOW TO TURN THIS OFF ALSO SHOTS” from me at midnight, followed by a picture of my shoes and maybe even a little voicemail karaoke, then they probably can’t handle me in person either. In fact, it’s a good way to weed out the bad ones, because as I’m quickly learning, the good ones play along.

(Aside: yes that’s a true story. His response was “I want Doritos” and then “How many times did you fall in those shoes?” It was twice. End aside.)