I am inherently judgmental. (Hey, I’m human.) And there is no aspect of my life that I am more judgmental in than in texting grammar.
Yes, I believe the English language is a flexible magical thing with room for expansion, interpretation and creativity. Yes, I myself am guilty of certain abbreviations or text speak from time to time. I take all sorts of liberties in this very blog. (Fragment sentences for the win!) And goodness knows my fat little fingers combined with auto-correct have resulted in some confusing sentences while messaging on my phone.
But I like to spell things correctly, use punctuation, and for the most part utilize complete words. It’s just my style.
I judge those who don’t. I judge their intelligence based upon their word choice. I’m a word snob.
Because literate is sexy.
So this is a little story about my own pride and vanity biting me in the butt…
– – – – –
A couple weeks ago, I met a guy while at a restaurant bar with a friend. He was nice, interesting, loved to travel and ski… engaging conversation ensued, numbers were exchanged, and he won major points when he reached out to me later that very evening. His text went a bit like this: (With analysis included in parenthesis, because it’s fun.)
“Hi. It’s Mr. Clean (my nickname for him) from (the place we met) tonight. Was great meeting and thanks for the invite to hang out. Safe travels tonight (it was very snowy out) and have fun skiing tomorrow. (Points for recalling a discussion point of the evening and for caring about safety.) Let me know the time of the bday bash.” (My friend had invited him to come to her party in a couple weeks, and the number exchange had been under the guise “needing a way to get party details”, although they had already been conveyed and written down by him. Not that I minded.)
All in all, a solid first text.
Tuned into our discussion, call backs to said discussion, compliments, etc… I was pleasantly surprised. Although I was half way asleep, I decided a quick response was acceptable, respectful even. I composed a nice little ditty, covered all the bases, threw in a conversation callback of my own, and expressed interest in grabbing a drink sometime. I fell asleep, proud of my mad game and texting skills.
The next morning, a quick perusal of my messages from the night before quickly crushed my ego. While in general the text was well played, I had made an error… a grave mistake and typo that may haunt me to the end of my days. Instead of dancing around it, like I am wont to do, I will just write it for you here. Prepare yourself for the ugly confusing words about to pass under your eyeballs:
“I enjoyed meet you.”
Maybe you should read that one more time. It’s bad.
I turned my phone off, confidence doused in the shame of my grammatical errors, and decided to never speak of this again. (By immediately telling my friends about it.) I was sure I was never to hear from him again.
After all, I wouldn’t text back someone who was quite clearly, exposed by their own written word, an idiot.
“I enjoyed meet you” was not one of my best sentences in the history of life.
Coherent sentences are sexy.
– – – – –
I judge you by your first text. I do. I judge you by the initial message you send me on Tinder or Hinge. I have chosen not to respond to people because they have a typo. I am a jerk.
I have dated bad texters before. But it would be a lie to say it didn’t bother me. I have dated those whose lack of concern over grammatical correctness has honestly disturbed me. If you aren’t worried about punctuation and conjunctions, can you have any focus or follow through in any part of life? (A smidge over-dramatic, perhaps.)
Do I over-analyze things? Never! No! Not in the slightest. Though maybe if I spend some time thinking about how much I think about things…
The 23 year old snowboard instructor I dated had horrendous grammar when we texted. (I can feel your shock across the internet.) No capitalization, rare punctuation, as well as incorrect words out the wazoo, rarely corrected with the common courtesy asterisk. But I learned to see past the typos and realized that accurate word choice isn’t necessarily a reflection of intelligence. I eventually had a built-in translator in my mind, allowing me to read his jumble of letters as a logical sentence without thinking about it. I read his intentions. I looked past it.
But I would be lying if I said I found it to be overwhelmingly attractive.
Attention to details is sexy.
– – – – –
I think Mr. Clean came into my life for this texting debacle to occur. I think it was past time I got off my high horse, and accepted the fact that intelligent people make typos. Even people who pride themselves on writing texts to perfection can screw up. A text doesn’t necessarily reflect IQ.
Maybe I should give people the benefit of the doubt beyond one misplaced word or missing apostrophe. Maybe I should be less of a word snob.
After all, intelligence comes in many forms.
And intelligence is sexy.
– – – – –
The follow up to my texting with Mr. Clean? He in fact DID text me back, didn’t seem to notice my grammatical ineptitude (it wasn’t as if my intention was unclear even if my tense was off) and the whole thing became a moot point.
Though I will admit, the man does use a whole lot of abbreviations in his messages to me.
And I have noticed several typos.
Maybe I should call the whole thing off…
Correct grammar really is the sexiest.