A nondescript, vague text message from a potential romantic interest sent Ashley Ilene into a devastating cycle of stress and agony late Wednesday night. The senior civil engineering major found herself unable to formulate a response text just the way she wanted.
“Text him quickly and you’re creepy,” said Ilene quietly to herself. “Or, don’t text him fast enough and you seem uninterested. Also, watch the punctuation. If you overdo it on the exclamation points, you’ll look like a slut. We don’t want that again.”
Ilene has struggled like this with text messages before. In a previous relationship, she spent uncanny amounts of time overanalyzing the connotation of “Hello” versus “Hey.”
“I usually refrained from using the more formal ‘Hello’ unless the situation was serious,” Ilene said. “Like, I got a yeast infection once and I thought my boyfriend should know, so I definitely started that conversation with ‘Hello.’ It just felt right.”
Now, Ilene struggles with texts in this new pre-almost-barely-relationship. One tactic Ilene uses to make decisions is imagining 20 to 50 hypothetical outcomes of different texts.
“Sometimes she’ll ask some of her friends for advice, but for the more technical responses, she’ll pull out some graph paper and calculate risk,” said a close confidant of Ilene’s. “I’m not sure what she’ll decide on for this particular text. It really could go any way.”
Early Thursday morning, Ilene finally made a combination of words she felt confident sending. After a confirmation with a group text of girlfriends she sent her message at 3 a.m.
Her message was quickly responded with “K.”
Collegian Satire Blogger Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.