Even as we text more with each passing month, we find ourselves wondering why exchanging sentence-long, misspelled emails has become the preferred mode of flirting for anyone under 40. Texting sucks for flirting; the Tiger Woods-Jamiee Grubbs messages prove it.
Flirting is a complex thing. People write books about it. But text messaging is just not a good way to communicate anything more complicated than "10pm @ the Cheese Whiz factory; bring yr goggles." (Plus, texting your illicit lover is a sure-fire way to get caught—the Times calls it the "digital lipstick on the collar".)
The New York Post today released a transcript of eight text message sessions between Tiger Woods and one of his alleged mistresses, cocktail waitress Jamie Grubbs. Taken as a single, uh, text, they show how three key components of flirting are ruined by text messaging.
Jaimee: if we hang out on a Sundway we can watch desperate houswives again haha
Tiger: oh god
Jaimee: take a break from watching boring old golf
Jaimee: I mean the amazing sport of golf ;)
Jaimee: [more than an hour later] babe I was kidding
Tiger: I know sexy
The worst part about this exchange is imagining Grubbs sitting around for an hour, fretting that she upset Tiger by making fun of golf. Text message flirting sets up this tit-for-tat arrangement that breeds passive-aggression: You never want to be the last person to send a text, and if you're met with silence you can't help but wonder if it was something you said. If a joke bombs on the phone, at least you don't have to wait an hour to find out.
Revealing Personal Conversations
Tiger: [later, in response to Jaimee's mention of a date who was "full of himself"] you kinda like that for some reason which is weird why you decided on me.
Tiger: having an asian mother and a military father you cannot and will not ever be full of yourself
Jaimee: I have fun with u, you always make me smile and I am not afraid to be myself or say anything to u ... the day I met u I thought u were going to kick me out a few times but for someone reason you didn't and u have told me numerous times I talk to much but slowly as I get to know u iI think your absolutely amazing
Tiger: you are wrong I'm bone thugs in harmon
We're going to give Grubbs the benefit of the doubt here (which, granted, is a very large benefit in her case) and say that if she was face-to-face with Tiger she would have recognized the opportunity to take this conversation out of the insipid "no you're amazing" back-and-forth that comprise most of the messages. That "you cannot and will not ever be full of yourself" line offers probably more insight into Tiger's character than a million porn stars talking about the size of his dick ever could. Opportunity missed, Grubbs!
Tiger: do you have a boy friend
Jaimee: I don't even have someone I am dating ... no ... u can be my boyfriend ;)
Tiger: then I am
Jaimee: I wish
Tiger: quiet and secretively we will always be together
Tiger: when was the last time you got laid
OK, this one is ridiculous. Now we're thinking that some sort of damage to the language part of the brain may have as much to do with how stupid Grubbs and Woods sound as did their mode of communication. Maybe people who sound stupid in text messages are just kind of stupid? Maybe we just argued our own blog post out of existence?
But still: If they had said this horseshit over the phone we wouldn't have to read a word-for-word transcript of it later. (Ditto for Facebook messages, Salman Rushdie.)
Don't text and flirt!