Why it’s okay if you texted first

To text first, or to not to text first, that is the question… which you have answered with “to text first.” Yes, you have texted the object of your affections first and are now suffering 34, 35, 36 agonizing seconds with no response. In the moment you’ve psyched yourself up, inventing up some lost episode of Sex and the City where Samantha interjects that, no way, women can totally contact men first, this is the ‘90s. Yet now it’s been 57, 58, 59 seconds and you feel stupid, stupid, stupid.

But it’s okay. I’m here to tell you that the world will not end now that you have texted first.

First of all because there are worst things than texting first. Sinking a wine cork. Putting ketchup on filet mignon. Puppy genocide. In the history of the universe, there are for more unconscionable acts, so calm down and breeeeeathe.

Maybe you used a feeble excuse to talk to a long-missed ex (“hey, do you still have my unicorn lighter?”). Maybe you’re trying to contact quasi-sporadic hook-up for another round (“hey, do you remember…how we make out sometimes?”) I don’t know, I don’t know your life. All I know is that feeling of foolishness that is birthed from texting first and before you can get rid of it, we need to acknowledge where it comes from: a deep societal place of shame.

Chances are when you’ve discussed texting dilemmas with friends ad nauseum. Naturally, your resident Charlotte will tell you that you never text first, guys lose respect for you when you text first, and though it sounds like a load of patriarchal nonsense you’re sure that—sigh—there’s some kernel of dark truth in it. You’re so sure, in fact, that your eagerness to send a casual, “hey, what’s going on?” must make you sound like such a floozy, no wonder he’s not texting back after 1 minute and 42, 43, 44 seconds now.

Or sometimes you’ll ask for a male perspective and the response is, “Make him come to you.” Your prolonged foolishness, which grows every time you pick up your phone, sigh, and throw it face down on the opposite side of the bed, comes from that idea that you’re supposed to passively wait. But you’re stubborn, you’re impatient, so the part of you that ignored that advice, the part of you that said, “That’s not a good enough answer, what else should I do?” is what made you text first. And you know what? I would embrace that part.

Because personally I justify these lapses in judgment with the mental claim that I am a strong, modern woman, I do what I want. For me, that is a bold-faced lie I need to tell myself to sleep at night.

For you, though, I would consider that there’s nothing wrong with assertiveness, and in fact, it should be a major turn on. Texting first shows that you don’t want to play silly archaic games and are willing to get what you want. Oh, sure, you could (and you have) play passive-aggressive and Snapchat a bunch of margaritas consumed during ~*Girl’s Night*~, hoping they’ll come to you (apparently there’s something attractive about $4 margs?) But you’re a grown up, and grown ups text first. More importantly, any grown-up recipient of a text would recognize your independent, go-getter grown-upness and respond with zeal.

But, what happens if he doesn’t text back? Because it’s been 2 minutes and 45, 46, 47 seconds without a response, not that anyone’s counting. Does it mean that he hates you, that he thinks you’re way gross and totally noticed that zit on your neck last time you hung out? Does it mean he’s with that girl who always likes his statuses, Nicole? Are they in bed right now laughing uproariously at your feelings in between rounds of tonsil hockey?

It’s very doubtful, but I can’t say for sure. Either way, what you’ll do is put on your big girl pants and realize that there are literally billions of people in the world. Of these billions of people there’s probably a rough hundred in your area who are considerably better suited for you and would absolutely text you first.

Because that’s what you deserve, divine, radiant creature that you are. You deserve someone who doesn’t give you anxiety over whether you should send a casual “what’s up” or not. You’ll come to take turns when it comes to texting first, and you won’t even think about it in terms of who’s-texting-who first…because it’ll just be having a conversation. A rapport with someone.  Maybe this person will eventually become that person. Maybe not.

But until you know for sure, take comfort in knowing that it’s ok you texted first. After all, this is the ‘90s!

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