"Hold on, let me re-read it. Maybe he was saying..." I can't tell you how many times I've gone back and forth with my girlfriends sharing screenshots of iMessages, dissecting every word, searching for the hidden meaning (or any hint of meaning, really) in the text messages of the men I've dated.
There's no inflection in a text message. There's certainly no body language, and often there's very little context. It's simply black text illuminated by tiny pixels on a screen. It's hard enough to interpret if a guy is flirting with you via text; and if he's not great with grammar you can pretty much guarantee that you'll be confused more often than not, but what if the option to obsess just isn't there?
Rewind to Christmas; I had been seeing this guy for a couple of months and we were getting pretty cozy. He took care of me when I was sick, we went on dinner dates that weren't solely followed by sex, we called each other "babe." But we hadn't actually made anything official.
When the holiday finally rolled around I ventured home to Texas for a little R&R and decided that Snapchat would be a less intrusive way to keep in touch while I was away. He could check it at his leisure, ignore it if he were busy or at work, and I wouldn't have to regularly delete photos and videos from my constantly full camera roll... I chalked it up to a win.
Boy, was I wrong. Turns out some people really like to chat on Snap (I mean, I should have known his Snapscore exceeds 10,000). The thing is, Snapchat doesn't save a record of your chats. It's gone in a snap. That's the whole point.
There's no going back and rereading his message, there's no going back to see what photo I sent while 4 gin and tonics deep. There's no option to undo or recall what you sent. There is the option to save chats and screenshot conversations and photos, but whoever you're chatting with will know. Snapchat politely says, "HE TOOK A SCREENSHOT!" Or "HE SAVED A CHAT!"
Imagine me suddenly recalling said guy sending me a diamond ring emoji the day after I went out to the local bar. I had been drinking and there was the usual newly engaged millennial at the bar talking about her upcoming wedding and showing off her sparkly engagement ring. Did I mention it to him? Is he flirting with me and finally seeing that someone should immediately wife me? What is going on here?
On impulse, I text my BFF a little background and ask "What do you think he meant?" She asked for context and I honestly couldn't give her any. It was like it didn't even happen. As she pointed out, "At least [Snapchat] deletes everything so you can completely ignore it if you so choose."
This scenario played out several times over the days following. Sometimes I'd get distracted and totally forget what he asked me before I closed the app. Sometimes I'd forget what I said minutes before and just reply with random emojis. One night we started to talk about sex and he mentioned it had been the longest he'd gone without sex in a while.
Wait, what? I was gone for about 13 days. We've certainly gone longer than that in the time we've been seeing each other... Right? Is this guy fucking with me? Dates and numbers are flying through my head. I want to text my bestie and get her take but yet again the conversation is gone. Like a slate wiped clean, there's nothing for me to re-read or dwell over. There's nothing for me to attempt to re-interpret or overanalyze. And try as I might, I can't remember what exactly he just said.
So eventually, I just give up. And we keep chatting on Snapchat, and I keep denying myself the ability to over analyze what he says, and you know what?
I'm noticing that it's making my life a hell of a lot easier.