Sore Thumbs

Here’s the way it played out in my head: I’m in a grocery store, an airport or maybe a winery and there he is. Our eyes meet and we’re just drawn to one another. Conversation ensues and the rest is history. Unfortunately, whenever that happens, I’m usually in a chilly theatre, the floor is sticky, I’ve dropped numerous kernels of popcorn into my cleavage and I’m watching it happening onscreen . . . . to someone else. That kind of serendipity just doesn’t occur in my world.

Instead, I am stuck wading through the sewage of online dating sites. This entails me looking at photos of headless torsos, men who simply cannot take a picture without a dead fish in their hands and others who think it’s a good idea to post photos from 30 years ago, back when they had hair (and teeth). Surely, I won’t notice the discrepancy upon meeting them! I am also cursed with the task of reading through the profiles and messages of gentlemen who can never be called gentlemen and who, although English is their native tongue, cannot spell, punctuate or write anything halfway interesting that makes any kind of sense.

It’s a very solitary activity – snorting and scoffing at the computer screen, reading until your eyes scream, “no more!” and typing.

When there seems to be one who shows some promise, we exchange numbers and then the texting begins. There are a few calls sprinkled in and Saturday night dates that have a little wine and laughter and crackle with promise. During the week, the “good morning, beautiful” texts are lovely and the “Goodnight. I’ll be dreaming of you!” texts make me smile but, in between . . . . . . . . . for God’s sake, CALL ME!

Texting is a great way to send a quick, “running late, be there in 10” message or a way to quietly touch base with someone during work hours but who decided this form of communication lent itself well to anything more meaningful? There are love songs about the sound of her voice, or her laugh, or the way she says his name but not one about the butterflies she got when he typed, “Hey. You up?” and sent the eggplant emoji.

We have become a society of typists! If I (and the men I date) were 20 or 30 something’s, this would be easily explained away, but we are of the generation where with each update of our phones we need to seek out a millennial to train us. This is not what we grew up with and not what comes naturally so why the heavy reliance on it? I know I sound ancient, but texting is ranked as the most impersonal, least intimate form of communication – – and I’m trying to develop something both personal and very intimate!

Unfortunately, it’s become the primary form of communication because of the convenience and the ability to text while doing other things. Honestly always, but especially when we’re just starting out and trying to build a connection, shouldn’t we be able to and want to give full attention to a conversation with our new love interest? Are we really incapable of paying attention to just one thing at a time?

I tried responding to his texts with a phone call and he seemed shocked and surprised that I actually called, but we had great talks each time. He thanked me after each one (via text!) to say he thoroughly enjoyed our conversation – but the incessant texting continued. I tried saying things like, “I’m at a computer all day long for work so I really hate texting in the evening” or “I’d really love to hear your voice. It’s so sexy!” Nope – more texting; endless f*cking texting. If I’ve told him numerous times and it just doesn’t seem to register, what does that say about how he would respond to some other need, issue or concern I might have in the relationship?

I don’t want to spend all my time typing and reading. I want to hear the inflections, the laughter, the tone of voice, and the nuances. Calling and talking is deliberate and makes the other person – and the relationship- feel valuable in a way that texting doesn’t. For that moment in time, you’re a priority. I don’t want to be a line typed distractedly or an “LOL” dashed off during commercial breaks. It feels like the person who leans so heavily on texting may just be indifferent or have an avoidant attachment style with a little sprinkle of intimacy issues, a pinch of “he’s just not that into you” and a dash of laziness stirred in. Either way, I’m out!

How will I know how to cook or if I really like to cook if I’ve only ever read about it? At some point, we have to dive in and get our hands dirty, knead the dough, learn when to handle some things firmly and which ingredients need a gentle, more delicate touch. Do I flip it now, or wait? Is it burning? Should I take it out? It’s like only reading the recipe and then trying to decide if you like the dish.

Don’t you want to fully experience the courtship? Do you really want to just sit alone and read the menu or do you want to hear the sizzle in the kitchen, the glasses of other diners clinking, smell the delicious aromas, see the beautiful presentation and finally taste each tender morsel? I don’t want to limit myself. I want it all!

When you actually go out on a limb, dial a number and say hello you’re allowing me to hear the sounds of your house, your dog barking in the background, the way you deal with said dog, how you laugh, the emotion in your voice – we’ll know a hell of a lot sooner whether we click or not. It’s a time saver! Case in point, the photographer who, over text, seemed so witty, creative and intriguing but when we spoke, turned out to be very self-centered, scattered and just plain weird. We cut to the chase early on and I’m grateful.

So talk to me – time is fleeting. Whisper sweet words in my ear and let me hear you roar with laughter. If we connect, feed me gelato while you brush the hair back from my eyes. Let’s hold hands, not phones, and fall in love.

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  1. This is an extraordinary piece. Brought tears to my eyes.

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