Monday, June 13, 2011

BEWARE: The Dangers of Romance Via Text Messaging


I was inspired to write this post because of a recent text messaging mishap I had. I’m not sure if “mishap” is the correct word to use, but you decide. So, I am here at Denison doing research for the summer, and I often do research in the library. Some people don’t know this, but the library is a dangerous place to go if you are young and single. Last semester, a boy hit on me with the pick up line, “Excuse me, Are you related to Einstein? You just have this really intelligent energy about you.”  Yeah, that definitely wooed me…

Anyhow, I know Boy X on an acquaintance basis, and I see him a lot in the library. He’s kind of creepy, and I’m not interested in dating him at all. We have the general conversation: Hey! How are you? … etc. As I’m walking out of the gym last week, I run into him, and he asks me to come over for dinner. I thought that it might be a group dinner with a bunch of people, so I gave him my number to text me when it was ready (First mistake!). I decided not to go. Then on Thursday I get a text message, “Hey cutie, do you have a good memory?” So I’m just sitting there, and I don’t know what’s going on. So I ignored the message. Then, Friday he texts me again.

This young woman perfectly displays my look of disgust after recieving Boy X's creepy text messages. (http://news.indiainfo.com/2010/03/24/images/sexting1228917187_485.jpg)

 Here’s a brief summary of our exchange via text message:

Boy X: You know you’re breaking my heart.
Boy X: I feel bad right now :( (At this point I don’t know how to respond, but a guy friend suggests that I subtly turn him down and try not to hurt his feelings).
Me: Hey, I’m sorry. I’m not interested in dating anyone right now.
Boy X: Oh no, I don’t know if I’m interested in that. I just wanted to get to know you and see if you qualify. (Qualify for what?!)
Me: I’m not interested.
Boy X: I know how hot girls are. They try to play hard to get.

Here's my first question: What about my responses suggested that I was playing hard to get? It raised a lot of issues for me about men not taking no for an answer when a woman says she is not interested. From a perspective of rape and sexual assault, playing a "lovegame" of hard to get is not fun or funny. I think it goes back to the lure of the forbidden fruit. We want what we can't have, and I think that has dangerous implications when women are assaulted because a man just couldn't take no for an answer. This story from Dateline demonstrates what happens when sexual assault is NOT taken seriously, especially on college campuses.

Also, note to Boy X: That is not the way to romance a woman. I read this story about a man who proposed to his girlfriend by painting a mural on a street in New York City. Now that's romance, and it gave me hope that relationships aren't dissolving into creepy text messages and little face to face contact. While texting is fun, it has its consequences and has created a new language for some children and adults to be more cruel or daring via text message than they would be in person. I'm sure Boy X would not say those things to me in person, but maybe I would have been able to better get my point across that I'm not interested. I do not have the answers since as I write this I'm sure new technology is being created that pushes people further away from face to face conversations, but I can offer my own cautionary tale about the dangers of romance via text messaging. BEWARE!

True Romance does exist!

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