Don’t Judge a Book by its Text Message

Written By: Sarah Jacobsen

In grade school we were taught not to judge a book by its cover. This meant that if the girl next to us wore ugly shoes and smelled funny, we were still supposed to be her friend, and if the boy two-seats-ahead in our Math class wore the same shirt every day and had a weird haircut, we were still supposed to give him a chance. Now that we’ve grown, we’re taught that we can’t judge a person by their looks. But what about their text messages?

Call me judgmental, but I think there’s quite a bit that can be told from a text. This is a modern age, and I’m a modern gal. The text is as ubiquitous as the email, and is often used in place of a phone call. In the olden days, women over-analyzed their calls, discussing everything from word choice to tone of voice.

If this is so, why can’t we analyze the text? Recently, I was set up on a blind date. In texting back and forth with my date (who, I should note, chose to text instead of call and I did not judge him on his choice), I came across a big no-no in my book: what I like to call “the LOL.” Since seventh grade, when “the LOL” overtook my class notes and AOL Instant Messenger conversations, I’ve despised it. I’m proud to say I’ve never used it in a conversation, mostly because I rarely find myself in situations where I’m laughing out loud to the extent that I need to write down that I’m doing so. I despise the way it looks and the way it sounds; I’d even go as far as to say I believe it makes the speaker sound dumb.

This being said, in my date’s first text, I was hit square on with not just one “LOL” but two. I might add here that my date is almost thirty, way past an age during which usage of the terrible abbreviation could be seen as acceptable. I was immediately turned off. Would I be dating a guy who acted younger than he was? Was he a frat boy who couldn’t carry on a legitimate conversation? Terrible possibilities swarmed my brain…

…Until some friends snapped me back to reality. I was being way too judgmental, they claimed. I couldn’t judge a guy on his text message, especially not on his usage of one specific word. The thing I hadn’t divulged? He was also a “u” type of guy. It’s another pet peeve of mine. As an English major, I always prefer that those around me spell out full words. A “C U Later” doesn’t do it for me; I’d like the real thing. The angel on my right shoulder told me to get a life and stop giving my date such a hard time. I hadn’t even met him yet. He could be the one! Except that my one wouldn’t say “LOL.” I’m sorry, angel, but he just wouldn’t.

The devil in me wants to judge, but my angel has prevailed. I’m meeting him for drinks next week. If he talks the way he texts, I’m outta there. But in the meantime, I’m going to attempt to keep my judgmental thoughts where they below – in my imagination, because as my mother taught me, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and you most certainly cannot judge a man by his text message.

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