Responsible texting and dating (over 50)
by Kama Linden
I am a very fit and fabulous 51 year old. I run an average of 6 miles every other day, and swim 2 hours of consecutive laps on the alternate days when I am not filming, as well as lift weights, and do vinyasa yoga. Except for some sun damage, younger men looking at my physique on the boardwalk in a bikini will ask for my number, which I rarely give out for fear of TEXT BOMBING: a slew of one lined texts, usually after 9pm, in rapid-fire succession, in hopes to get me to CHAT.
This is where I show my true age. That, and my extensive knowledge of all 80s music, tv shows, and movies. Sending me a bunch of symbols and pictures to decipher is NOT the way to my heart. When I hear a ding from a text message, as they tend to be louder than my email and other alerts, I hope that it is casting contacting me about a job. I work in film/tv as a SAG-AFTRA background actor, stand-in, and day player. Casting agents send ONE text, with ALL of the information I need to know in ONE message, or sometimes, a link to a longer message, but either way, everything is spelled out in ONE message. This type of text is URGENT, as it is involving work. What is NOT urgent is some guy who is bored, usually around 10pm, who wakes me up from falling asleep on my comfy purple couch to the TV, or interrupts me from eating dinner around 9pm, with rapid-fire one lined texts, some of which I cannot understand:
“How are you”
**bunch of smiley faces either with hearts, tongue out, wink, or whatever…**
more one lined stuff…
So, all this could not be sent in ONE MESSAGE as a paragraph vs 5 or 6 dings?
Or better yet, you could not pick up the phone and CALL ME?
One guy I met at the pool sent me a message, to which I responded once with a sane few sentences in one message, and then he proceeded to bombard me a bunch of these one-lined messages, including all of these weird happy faces with the hearts. This was well after 9pm, and I was eating dinner, and trying to relax. Sure enough, he then CALLS, and I did not answer as I was eating dinner, and then proceeds to send more messages….to which I finally responded:
Often I will give out my email, as the email dings are softer in sound (not sure why).
I instruct said man: say everything you want, all at once, and I will respond in kind.
Sure enough, with this man, all seemed to go well, and he followed instructions. We went out twice, dinner and movie, and all seemed to be going well, until he became insecure, and treated his emails like text messages. There was one day where I was dealing with a situation at one of my side hustles, that involved me needing expert advice. I explained to him the situation. He called me around 11 am one Tuesday morning. We spoke, and when my Mom beeped in, I explained that I needed to get this call. I also fielded 2 other long phone calls with experts who were trying to help me with this situation. I had literally just got off the phone with him, and was in the middle of one important phone call after another when I received a bunch of one lined emails in speedy succession, which were just as annoying as one lined text messages:
“Thinking of you”
“I want to kiss you”
And so on. We literally JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE!!! As I did not respond to the 5 or 6 rapid-fire emails, he then sent me a text message with a picture of his cat to make SURE that he disturbed me and got my attention:
“We want to lay in the soft grass with you”
WTF!!!!!! I literally just got off the phone with him and told him I needed to get the other urgent call, and he went crazy on me. Needy. For no reason. I didn’t know if I should tell him right away to stop, as we’ve gone out a few times, and he went from being shy to catapulting us into a 6-month relationship. Perhaps he had his own issues. I just didn’t answer. He would get the point not to keep emailing and texting every minute, or so I hoped.
We met for one more film screening a few days later, which I had booked for the two of us earlier that week. I did not reconfirm the meeting, but he showed, and I showed, so I went through with the evening. But I did not commit to going to a party at his apartment complex the next day, or any further outings. Things cooled, but then 10 days later, I receive a one lined email in all caps:
YOU HURT ME!!!!!
To which I gave words of advice on how to just relax when it comes to getting to know someone, and not to bombard them with a bunch of one lined emails or text messages, especially in the middle of the workday, breaking my concentration, and even causing me to miss an important email from a casting agent, as they were buried in his slew of one lined emails. I further explained that he was smothering me like Pepe Le Pew did to the cat who he mistook for a female skunk. Going from 2 nice outings to a 6 month relationship in his messaging. Needing instant answers and gratification at the expense of my sanity, and preventing me from being able to get things accomplished during the workday. If he would have just been cool, and contacted me later that evening, vs. sending me a bunch of one lined emails one after another without taking a breath or waiting for me to respond, as well as the text, to further distract me, keeping me from accomplishing what I needed to do, thus showing his neediness and insecurity by needing instant gratification of my responses (which I did not give), then all would have been fine.
I further explained that while some women like to have their heads bent over their phones all day, hanging on every text, “what will he say next”????, I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I live IRL. I need peace and calm to write, practice music, make calls, exercise…in other words, there is PLENTY I can be doing vs. bending my neck over my phone, causing myself carpal tunnel in the process (as typing too much causes pain in the top of my hands). All of this fell on deaf ears, or eyes, as he responded that he was just trying to “be supportive”. But this kind of neediness 2 dates in means that he would be the passive-aggressive type, trying to control me by “showing me how much he cares” every few seconds with one lined texts and emails, but in truth, he just wanted to make sure he was all I could think of, vs. getting anything done work-wise, distracting me and hindering me from doing research, writing, and getting work. It was a different kind of control I was NOT willing to submit to.
As I am over 50, I prefer Facebook to Instagram, but on both, random men will message me. Again, I will explain that I cannot just chat with people I do not really know, both for the sake of my hands, as well as my personal safety. Having said this to a random IG follower, he sends me a bunch of one lined messages, including the happy face with the tongue thing. I did not respond.
Another man asked me about guitar lessons, which I was happy to oblige, which became a CHAT about the WEATHER. When I mentioned how much I loved the Jersey Shore, and that there WAS no humidity there, he sent me a bunch of rapid-fire messages:
Don’t you think it’s too hot?
It’s humid everywhere!
BS BS BS about the weather
I did not even get my answer out when his next line appeared. At this point, I muted the conversation. Days later when I returned, I saw: “???”
I think nothing pisses me off more than someone writing “???”
It is an impatient way of saying, “WHY DON’T YOU ANSWER ME THE SECOND I TEXT YOU!”
Another man who did buy my CD when I was busking at the Jersey Shore messaged me: “give me your number so I can text you”. I responded: “that is EXACTLY why you will NEVER get my number!” About a month later, he saw me online and rapidly sent me one message after another in about 5 minutes, without waiting for a response. I again reminded him this is the EXACT reason why I would not give him my number. He said something along the lines of “he wouldn’t abuse it” and I said, “YOU ARE DOING IT NOW on IM!”
I don’t understand why either with a text message or an email, a man cannot just say everything ALL AT ONCE vs. ding ding ding ding ding!!!! Maybe they mistake it for a bizarre mating call. However, I cannot blame men, where sometimes females do the same. There was a real estate agent friend who although she was my age, or possibly older, would send me a bunch of emojis like a cypher that I would have to decode.
Either way, maybe it’s me, but I wish that people would communicate responsibly in dating. Or maybe even use the phone for what it is MEANT for: CALLING! All I know is that my neck, my hands, my eyes, and even my EARS cannot take any more! Once in a while, I meet someone who has a cute little flip phone. Maybe I should only seek out men who have a little jitterbug, as they cannot possibly text with one of those :).
Kama Linden is a singer-songwriter with 4 studio albums, the newest being, “Everything In Good Time”, releasing in Summer 2020. She is also an actress, fitness instructor, freelance photographer, and has a fitness book: “Healthy Things You Can Do In Front Of The TV”.