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Date Knight: Has Texting Killed the Dating Scene?

As the staff’s resident relationship guru — who’s carved out a space on the web with an award-winning site called Naked With Socks On — I’ve been tapped by JET’s EIC to offer up dating advice and perspective for our readers. Five days out of the week I’m slaving behind a desk as JET’s Managing Editor, so I look forward to exploring the sights and sounds of Chicago with my wife as part of our weekly outings. I am Anslem Samuel Rocque and this is Date Knight.


Let’s start with the facts: Men and women communicate differently. What one person may see as a “joke,” their partner may misinterpret as a cold-hearted jab. On the less extreme end of the spectrum, it can be the difference between “I’ll call you later” meaning later that night or two days from now. Although most of us speak the same language, when it comes to the sexes we rarely are hearing the same message.

Things have gotten so bad in the digital age that there’s now a site called He Texted, where women submit questionable mobile messages from potential suitors in search of a translation. Either male experts interpret or everyday people chime in with their take on what “he texted.”

Here’s a recent example:


Sorry fell asleep last night… Can’t believe you were outside and I didn’t hear you. Come over tonight?


What do I text back?? Deal is: I’ve been seeing this dude for 1 month. We were at different parties last night and agreed I’d meet him at his place after. I texted him on the way over – NOTHING. Who falls asleep when a girl they like is coming to see them? But he still acts like he’s really into me

Thousands of people responded to this anonymous woman’s query. When I last checked over 400 people thought he was “into her” and 1,500+ felt he was not, while another 430+ were undecided. Personally, I fall into the less skeptical category. Yes, if a guy is expecting a late night visitor he’d likely be ready for action. But after a late night of drinking even the most eager of us could easily pass out and miss the opportunity.

From my own personal experience if you have tentative plans with someone but never hear back when you’re about to embark, it’s best to cut your losses and call it a night. It’s shady enough for a woman to be traveling alone past a certain hour, but to head to a destination and not know if your host is even coherent is a bad judgment call. After just a month of dating, you hardly know this guy and how safe you’ll be in his presence.

On the other side of the coin, there is the possibility that this guy may have had another female caller and called a last minute audible. But the truth will likely never be known until they do one thing: communicate. Sure, he can lie about it, but as much as technology keeps us connected it continues to push us farther and farther away.

If a woman wants to know what a man’s ambiguous text means; she shouldn’t need a website to break the code. Why not pick up that same phone and try something different, like actually call him? See, texts and emails and smoke signals are open to (mis)interpretation. I’ve found that direct verbal communication works much better to clear the air on things.

A text can be cold and distant, and lacks the fluidity of a true conversation or exchange of ideas between two people. I challenge singles to go back in time to a point where courtship was about tangible communication and not a few characters on a smartphone screen. Hopefully there’ll be less people asking about what he texted and actually listening to what he said.

Speak your piece…