I’m a big fan of texting. I find it to be a very efficient method of communication that crosses all personal and professional relationship frontiers. Unlike e-mail, which can be verbose and full of innuendo based on word syntax, and voice mail, which can be aggressive or passive aggressive depending on the tone and context of the message, texting gets the communication job done expeditiously with no fuss and no frills. Moreover, it allows for multi-tasking, as you can have simultaneous conversations running, and that obviously ups one’s level of productivity immensely in this on-demand world in which we live.
I have negotiated real estate deals, planned parties, arranged child care and dog walking, RSVP’d, and ordered groceries – in addition to having basic conversations – all via the SMS function.
A while ago I was going about my business when my phone chirped, indicating an incoming text message. Thus began a somewhat banal digital exchange about some random documents that needed to be signed, and the location of an upcoming event that had been rescheduled.
The next incoming message read:
“I miss you”
I paused, reflecting on what appeared to be a rare and somewhat raw moment of intimacy. Feeling benevolent, I was about to respond with an “I miss you too…” when a chirp interrupted my moment of reverie and I read:
“I love fondling your luscious breasts”
As a 50 year-old divorced mother of three teenagers, I assure you that my breasts have been neither fondled nor luscious for quite some time. Instantly aware that I was the recipient of a misdirected text, I straddled that thorny etiquette fence, wondering on which side I would land. Pondering an appropriate reply, my phone chirped and I read:
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to send that to you” followed by “ I’ll make sure the letters get in the mail today”.
There was a mental cacophonic moment in which my anger, frustration, sense of humor (however ironic) and fragile emotional ego all vied for attention. The moment of pithy retort was lost. I didn’t have the energy to absorb the indignity and remain gracious, and at the same time a white light kept flashing in my head: How come I never got sexted?
It’s always a bit disconcerting to glimpse behind closed doors that you didn’t choose to open, especially when those doors lead to the boudoir. And when that door belongs to the dwelling of a former relationship, well, its opening can lead to a myriad of complex emotions.
It’s not that I’m against sexting; I have sent my share of saucy messages, but as the mother of teenagers I am overly sensitive to exactly what is being sent and to whom. Particularly in the wake of Tiger Woods and David Petraeus, I would think that everyone old enough to know what they are doing would take that extra second to make sure that they want to say something over the airwaves, knowing full well that the airways these days can be anything but private.
I shook it off, continued about my business and managed to laugh about it over a cup of coffee with my BFFs. We all agreed that it would have been a lot more interesting if the message had been taken from the playbook of unfortunately monikered Anthony Weiner…
Coming next week: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same