Reading Between the Texts
B: “Hey are you ready to get dinner?”
Him: “Nah, I can’t anymore. I’ve gotta study.”
K: What. The. Fuck.
B: I know, right?! Why didn’t he just write, “I hate you, you’re stupid”? It’s the same thing.
K: How did he spell “no”? Was it normal or are you just saying it weird?
K: SHUT THE FUCK UP.
B: I’m serious!!! That’s what he wrote!
K: Gross. That is so gross. See? He is SO self-centered that he can’t be bothered to have his mouth close around words properly! Like, I can sort of see his tongue hanging out at the end of that.
B: Exactly. He’s sticking his tongue out at me.
K: I’m sorry. He just isn’t good enough for you. He is the worst.
B: Well, hopefully he’s dead by tomorrow.
R: “Hey, just wanted to tell you that I miss you and love you and you are an awesome boyfriend.”
R: *Crying* If he doesn’t love me anymore, why can’t he just, like, tell me so I can move on???
K: Come on. He definitely still loves you.
R: He didn’t say he loved me back! Or that he missed me, or that I’m an awesome girlfriend, EVEN THOUGH I AM ONE!!!!!
K: You are one! You definitely are! Maybe that part was implied? For instance, if he didn’t think those things, he could have said, “Thanks. You could use some work.”
K: He’s visiting this weekend. It’ll be better then.
R: Yeah, but I just feel like he should know that the only reason I’d send a text like that is to make sure that he still cares about me, and that an appropriate response would be more along the lines of, “I love you and miss you too, I think about you all day everyday, and I can’t wait to be with you this weekend AND for the rest of our lives!!!”
K: Maybe you could give him a series of appropriate text conversation outlines, like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” manual but for texts?
R: I’ve thought of that. I just don’t know if I have the time.
K: “So what are we doing this weekend?”
Him: “I’ve heard about a couple parties. We’ll talk.”
R: That sounds good! What’s wrong with that?
K: I just feel like if he were excited, he would have put an exclamation point after “talk” instead of a period.
R: That is actually crazy.
K: Why?!?! It sounds like he is only very reluctantly willing to spend time with me. There is no enthusiasm there. He’s like, “ugh, fine.”
R: But he referred to the two of you as “we.” That’s good, right?
K: Using “we” is not inherently positive. He could have said, “We are going nowhere because we wouldn’t make a cute couple because you are disgusting.”
R: You’re right, that’s basically what he said.
E: “Hey I’ve got a free hour, want to go get groceries?”
Him: “Thanks, but I’m locked up workin on stuff”
E: What kind of stuff could he possibly even be working on that he can’t break away for an HOUR?
K: Maybe he has exams and homework! This is college!
E: Yeah but doesn’t he need food? To SURVIVE? Is he just not eating now?
K: I think he’s probably eating sometimes. Three times a day, even.
E: We haven’t hung out in over a week! I know he hasn’t gotten groceries since then! He’s probably having some skanky-ass girl deliver him food and that’s why he doesn’t need any groceries!
K: I seriously doubt he’s enlisted the help of a combination food delivery/sex work service.
E: It is literally the only explanation.
K: You got that just now?
C: Yeah. What do you think it means?
C: Well I know what it MEANS but like, what do you think it really means?
K: It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. And it’s one word, with a question mark at the end of it. I am not exactly sure how many meanings it could have.
C: I know, I know! It is so late. Ugh, I don’t know what to do. It might be nice to make out with someone for a little bit. He is so hot. But I don’t want to be a ‘booty call,’ you know? Is it a booty call?
K: IT IS THREE A.M.
C: AHHHHH OKAY I KNOW THAT BUT AM I SLUTTY IF I GO?!?
K: A little bit. Most likely. But you know, sexual liberation. This is what Susan B. Anthony would have wanted you to do.
C: Yeah. Definitely. Okay. Maybe I’ll just go for a little while.
K: Wasn’t he saying he had to go throw up when we saw him two hours ago?
C: Maybe it was a false alarm.
Katie Heaney lives in Minneapolis and her favorite thing is advising her friends on text message punctuation.