My name is Becca and I am bad at flirting.
At 29, it is a skill I should have mastered back in the days of “Do you like me check yes check no.” As it stands now, I’m bad enough at flirting that it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility that I would pass such a note to a man on the subway this week. Also that man would be sharpening a scythe in readiness for Armageddon. BECAUSE I CAN PICK THEM.
I am a terrible flirt, but I am wonderful at texting.
I speak to almost no one on the phone, letting the majority of my calls go to voicemail as I open up my texts and get to work penning artful missives. The only person I don’t text regularly is my mother, because she has yet to figure out how to turn off her predictive text feature. This would be fine if she knew how to use predictive text. Since she does not, she opts for putting spaces between each letter she types. While entertaining (for one of us) it is not conducive to a dialogue.
Texting guys is one of my favorite things. The guys I text -- maybe it’s all guys? -- view each text as a challenge, a volley, a terrifying, never-ending game of ping-pong. I am not an intimidating woman, but I can actually feel the panic once I've sent a text to a guy.
I’ve been hanging out with male friends and watched them receive a text from a girl and go, “Oh, my god, she texted me BACK. AGAIN.”
I ask, “Well did you text her?” They nod, concerned.
“That’s called a conversation, dude.”
And then I beat them at pool. Because for the purposes of this example I am at a bar and apparently very, very good at snooker.
I think it’s this mindset that has most guys sending ladies dick pics. Talk about an almost certain conversation ender. You're a dude, this lady keeps sending you pictures of, I don’t know, her feet with a new pedicure, herself smiling in a mirror -- cute, sexy things. How do you end this WHILE one-upping her? You toss a dick into cyberspace and hope it pokes her eye out, all the better to prevent her from continuing the barrage of texts sent in your direction.
I’ve sent exactly one sext in my life. I did it hoping that my excellent texting abilities would trump my non-existent flirting skills. One angry aureole pic later I received the following response from my would-be paramour: “Now I know how every girl who has ever opened a picture of a wiener at attention feels.”
Suffice to say our time together was brief and every so often I am awakened in the night in a cold sweat, gazing out my window at the sky, wondering which stars overlook the pixelated digitization of my nipple, and if my parents will somehow one day see it.
I swore off the whole sexy-texting type thing and the world was grateful. I figured a few more trend pieces about tweens and sexting and the whole deal would just die out. But that didn’t happen. It got worse. Then it punched me right in my inadequacy -- FOR LO, FLIRTEXTING BECAME A THING.
I decided rather than die alone and limbless in a cave (that got dark -- also graphic), I would read up on this flirtexting, and (with the help of some volunteers) I would attempt the steps as dictated by the Internet in an effort to get better at romance. Or you know, make a complete and utter tit of myself (better than sending one I guess) so you don’t have to! For the purposes of this experiment, I selected three plucky flirtextees via Twitter and Facebook.
Flirtexting distinguishes itself from sexting by being, well, lamer. The idea is to constantly let the other person know you are thinking of them without being, like, “im so wet rit now.” The first thing they suggest is sending your intended a romantic haiku.
With my first flirtextee, a straight male, my flirtext was met with criticism: “Becca, flirting is more than just stating cold, hard facts.” My second attempt, while much more romantic, was met with further distaste for NOT BEING ACCURATE AS TO THE WEATHER IN HIS LOCALE.
My second flirtextee was selected from the xoJane commenting community, the much-loved, Doc Holligay! To my weak haiku attempt, she brought insight and feedback -- IN THE FORM OF A HAIKU. My final flirtextee was a sorority sister back from my college days who responded to my haiku with a far superior haiku that was basically the most romantic thing I have ever read.
I guess what I learned from this step is that guys are tools, and ladies write some damn good haikus. Also: Haikus are literally the best.
The second phase of Flirtexting? Sending photos. I sighed and haphazardly lobbed a boob out of my bra. “I knew it would come to this,” I darkly intoned. Then I read further and saw that the pictures in this step were of a more G-rated variety -- sending your lovah a picture of something that reminds you of them.
Here is how that panned out with Straight Male:
And with Sorority Sister:
Much more successful, right? People are visual creatures. I guess that is why sexting started. In this phase, I learned that flirting can be funny and still flirting, that my sorority sister is maybe the most romantic person on the planet, and that my cat remains the single most adorable cat that there is.
THE FINAL PHASE. To close out my little flirtexting experiment, I whipped out the big flirtguns -- sending “meaningful song lyrics.” In high school, had I had access to a cellphone, I straight up guarantee you this would have been my M.O. Since I did not, I am pleased to report that main I just posted passive aggressive LJ entries, closing them with pertinent Ani DiFranco lyrics.
Straight Male is also a musician. In addition to being very handsome and one of the funnier people I’ve met, he is a pretty okay songwriter. To that end, I picked the most romantic lyrics I could find to woo him, knowing him to be so musically inclined. Let’s see how it went (spoiler alert: not well):
I waited several more minutes and received no response. Because he is a guy. And I had been texting him all day. And then I sent him a long string of Tupac lyrics. I briefly considered an angry nipple photo but then decided science was more important and sent the same set of lyrics to xoJaner, and Sorority Sister out of laziness (hate the player not the game).
Our xoJaner remained mum -- perhaps overwhelmed by my torrent affection? My sorority sister responded with a lyrical set courtesy of Jim White and it was then that I briefly considered sending her husband a note that read only, “Well done, sir.” Not one of our subjects showed up at my door demanding that I plunder their genital gardens.
In conclusion, flirtexting takes a lot of effort, and made me feel like I was particularly savvy 12-year-old. I was all, “Anyone of these people would slow dance with me to ‘I’ll Make Love To You,’ of that I got no doubt, son!” As to whether these are tactics I would employee in a real attempt to woo someone or keep the raw sex alive in a relationship? I think Jim White said it best: