I’m 33 years old, and I enjoy talking on the telephone. There aren’t many of us left — my generation has fully embraced texting. Not just embraced, either, but essentially substituted all former phone communication with text messages.
I accept this as a reality of modern society when it comes to easily communicating with platonic friends. And in the cases of just needing to tell someone I’ll be a few minutes late, I welcome it. But with dating — especially in the early stages — I find text-only communication incredibly frustrating.
My attempts at talking to dates and potential dates on the phone have only been met with friction. I met a girl at a bookstore once, and we chatted for a while. She gave me her phone number, and told me to call her sometime. So I called her, only to have her say “Why are you calling me? Who talks on the phone anymore?”
I do. The 33 year old unicorn.
If you’re wanting to date someone, you’re trying to get to know who they are. The sooner you can get to the truth, the sooner you can move forward, or move on. And with the explosion in online dating where you’ve never actually met the person in question, who wants to spend all day staring at chat bubbles and sending flirty messages before a first date, when a three minute conversation could’ve told you definitively: this person is bat-shit crazy. Or less severely, “wow, this person is awkward.”, or simply: “I can’t stand this person’s voice”.
With texting, you’re forced to extrapolate personality characteristics with how they write, and it doesn’t always paint a pretty picture. Never before have ellipsis at the end of a sentence carried so much weight, or has a typing indicator had so much power over your emotions. And never before has incorrect spelling so easily sullied the prospect of a potential spouse.
Phone conversations offer so much more than texting can: instant feedback, subtle inflection, and easy-to-understand sarcasm. When it’s all transcribed to text, how can you tell what’s real and what’s edited? Are they actually witty, or did they think about what to say for an hour and run it by a couple of friends first? Was that sarcasm? Did they actually think what you said was funny, or was that a courtesy “haha”? Who sends five texts in a row, one after the other — is this person insane? So many questions.
I want to hear how you talk. I want to hear the inflection in your voice when you tell me about the crazy close-encounter with the shark you had or the excitement in your voice when we exchange opinions on the last few episodes of True Detective. Screens full of well written paragraphs and sentences with a few extra exclamation points just can’t compare.
So forgive me for wanting to use some dying nineteenth century technology in a twenty-first century world, but I don’t want to be your pen pal. I want to talk to you.
Call me sometime.