How’s it supposed to work? Our kids learn about life from us, right? Wrong. At least, sometimes. As Madeline Foster of Montreal learned when she found herself needing some advice about dating in the internet age … from her teenaged daughter.
Communicating with a potential date via SMS texting is something that I am new at. It is almost laughable that my nineteen-year-old daughter knows more about the subject than I do. To be honest, if I were ever to discover her in the middle of a provocative phone conversation, I’d be angry. I would want to take away her cell phone privileges until she turned 40.
Baby Boomers like myself are not that open about their private lives and don’t always feel comfortable using social media. According to my daughter, this is something I must come to grips with if I want a chance at finding love.
Now, I know my daughter Brianna is no saint. She and her friends are into sexting and they are quite open about it. She is an “adult” and I am pretty sure she knows what she is doing, but the thought of her sharing her private life with the entire world irritates me.
To deal with this, we have an agreement that as long as Brianna is living under this roof we play by my rules. For now, it is just me who admits to experimenting with this form of dating. Ignorance is bliss.
On one occasion though, I did ask her for advice, so I cannot blame her and her friends for admitting to knowing a little bit about it.
Here is what I learned during that conversation.
1. Make Sure You Have the Right Number
Brianna suggested sending a sexy text to my date and without blinking an eye I sent it. I could tell by the look on her face that this was a horrible mistake. That realization came a few minutes later when I noticed that I texted my boss by accident.
Can things get any more awkward?
To my surprise, he sent back a message wondering if there was something wrong with me. He did not sound angry, but rather curious. Then the text the followed explained it all. “I didn’t realize that you felt that way, perhaps we could have dinner?” Awkward!
Lesson learned. You should always check the number twice before hitting send, or think fast on your feet.
I came back with, “I needed your approval on something. Got your attention didn’t I?” A potential sexual harassment suit saved by a joke.
The look on Brianna’s face said it all, “Nice move, Mom!”
2. Keep Your Date Guessing
You can’t let a person who you are texting know that you like them. You have to keep them guessing. Tease with your words and leave them begging for more. Then, ignore any texts for a few days.
While it sounds kind of manipulative and mean, it actually works! People always want what they cannot have, don’t they?
3. Confidence is key
This was a hard lesson for me to learn.
If someone doesn’t text you back right away, it does not mean they aren’t interested. There is no need to panic! I admit, I started to think my date was not interested until a text came days later.
It said, “I am sorry for not getting back to you right away I have been in Toledo on an important business trip. I would like to see you again if that is ok with you.”
I felt kinda relieved and silly at this same time. This wait for a date is new to me.
My daughter’s friends just couldn’t wait to join in on the discussion and offer their own dating advice.
Jessica: “Don’t send long text messages, they do not render well on all phones.” Solid advice from the geeky friend.
Heather: “People get bored easily. Talk to a bunch of people at the same time. Variety is the spice of life after all.” Not sure that I will use her advice, she scares me a little.
Jennifer: “People have short attention spans. Be concise and use “Internet Slang.”
But what is Internet Slang?
Typing abbreviations such as LOL instead of “laughing out loud” is Internet Slang, she explains. She directs me to a dictionary (I kid you not) that lists a whole glossary of them . Well, at the very least I can now accurately decipher a text.
Brenda: “Use emoji, only when necessary. It is lame and makes you look like a newbie.” Apparently, a newbie is equivalent to an online virgin. This not being a good thing. Who knew?
The two most important pieces of advice repeated over and over as if I did not understand them the first time: “Never send nude images with your face attached and if you do, use a sexting app, it’s confidential.”
I may have to discuss this with my daughter at a later time.
And there you have it, the only advice about dating, of any kind, that I will ever get from my daughter and her friends again.