Texting is for young people who want sex with each other and need to arrange a time and place to have it. (Or Vernon Kay who wants it but is not allowed to have it.)
It suits them perfectly because it is a made-up language with lazy grammatical rules and they don’t need to fiddle around with those nasty little ink cartridges that stain your hands.
Pity the children of the 60s and 70s who have caught onto its coat-tails, like an embarrassing Mum wearing flares at the school gates. They know nothing of this world, even though their own parents are managing to Skype like bastards.
Talking on the phone is a risky business. It is fraught with nuance and the possibility of the other person Talking For Too Long or Raising an Unforeseen Topic.
Facebook is like cabaret and has rendered emails dry as a bone, not to mention steeped in zombie potential ever since a grubby spin doctor typed about it being a good day to bury bad news.
Texting gets you straight to the source on your own terms: intimate and impersonal, functional and frivolous, it’s the perfect conversation- one where you don’t have to listen, reply or disguise the contempt in your voice.
Even so, women can read more into a text than into the Declaration of Human Rights, eyeballing their phone incredulously, gasping, ‘How are you? What the hell is that supposed to mean? It’s taken him 2 hours and 43 minutes to reply to my last text. How the hell am I supposed to be?’
Regular texters develop a style their regular textees understand and aren’t offended by. It may be exclamation mark-heavy or brutally to the point but as long as they stick to it everyone knows where they stand. In this territory, a typo can spell trubbly and ‘c u later’ a vicious snub if it comes from the wrong mobile number.
That said, vicar texts are always creepy and capitals mean SHOUTING.
Phones too need to be compatible, as any jobbing Nokia scrambling the arse out of an iPhone missive will testify.
Every now and then, in the middle of a text orgy, one party takes it upon themselves to decide it’s silly to do all this texting- we may as well talk.
This changes the level of the playing field and exhibits an ETI (Emotional Texting Intelligence) that is wanting, making them the last person in the world with whom you would want a real dialogue.
Certain textual emotions are universal: the heart skip at the beep alert; the ‘chosen one’ feeling of a message flashing up in silent mode; the confusion resulting from a delayed text agreeing with something you sent outside Texting Real Time, necessitating a laborious scroll through the sent box.
Textual content, on the other hand, can be customised; several decisions must be made: capitals after full stops or lower case throughout- it’s a question of conformity; abbreviations (Wend for week-end) and textspeak (gr8) , a marker of age; use of smiley faces :), hahaha and lol, mental stability.
Predictive text is Simon Cowell: contrived, bonkers and unhelpful if you want to express individuality; funny if you’re pissed.
The most rewarding of the texting lexicon is the truncated sentence: ‘buying tomatoes’ transforms your Mum into a Wall Street trader while firing off ‘am outside’ could catapult even Nick Clegg into The Bourne Supremacy.
And the most controversial? The ‘x’, of course. Or the size, number, lack thereof.
It can re-appear in dreams as a punch in the face or a violation, start or finish a relationship and make a riddle of a post code.
Be afraid. b v. frAd.