It was the final resounding piece of advice I received on Friday night while my friends and I sipped four dollar margaritas. I told my friend I was going on a date the following day, so I was soliciting any and all advice from interested parties. I explained to my male friend that me and my potential suitor hadn’t texted much in the days leading up to the date and, to paraphrase his response, he said, “Texting doesn’t matter. What matters is if he calls and if he shows up.”
This is the part where I am supposed to tell you how my friend’s advice paid off. This is the part where I am supposed to rave and rant about my date. Naturally. Except, this is my blog, not a dating column, so every now and again, despite my blabber-mouth blog style, I reserve the right to keep a few things off the playing field. That reservation alone should tell you precisely how the date went.
Nonetheless, my friend’s sound advice is what I needed three years ago. It’s the advice that may have saved me from three years of misreading and over-reading texts. It’s the advice that may have redeemed me from embarrassment, wasted tears and self-induced humiliation. If I knew how to heed to it, it’s the advice that would have made me think twice before peddling down the dead end road toward few friends with even fewer benefits. “What matters is if he shows up.”
It’s both alarming and revelatory to realize I’ve spent three years in a vortex of calculated casualness with guys. It is not quite as distressing when I consider how unpredictable and thorny the past two years have been. Nonetheless, ever since my last serious relationship ended, I’ve hopped onto a few different inner tubes in the bottomless ocean of non-relationships. I recently got tired of floating, doggy paddled out and sat on the shore to have some time to myself.
Last week, I devoted 582 words to “Texts From The Opposite Sex.” But, as I pondered my friend’s advice, I thought about how easy, almost perfunctory, it becomes to carry on entire pseudo-relationships thanks to texting. I thought about the guys whom I wrongfully assumed cared to a high degree solely based off non-stop texts. I thought about how simple it is for someone to text you that they miss you or they are thinking of you and how much harder it is to actually miss someone. To actually think of someone. To demonstrate not via text, but action, the mammoth amount that someone means to you. I thought about how much I felt, presumed and considered in the tiny moments while I waited for a new message to appear in my inbox. And, I thought about how fucking stupid all of it was, is and always will be.
To spend time with another person is to politely and happily shut off the world. It is a sacrifice of your time, your thoughts, your preparation for the next day. It means foregoing what it is on television and neglecting who is calling you. To spend uninterrupted time with another person is warm. It’s cozy. It’s comforting. It’s alluring. It’s beautiful in a way that these words on this blog will never be able to encapsulate.
What matters is if he shows up. What matters is if he shows up when you are broken in pieces or when you are at the height of your life. What matters are the moments together. You will remember the conversations, the coy glances, the way your arm feels when it brushes against his. You will remember the saccharine whispers in your left ear right before bed. Your flashbacks will be inevitably tied to the times when he showed up. To the times when you built memories together in the same space. Fuck the texts. What matters is if he shows up.