Texting While Dating

Texting While Dating

Texting While Dating

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Nov. 3 2009 12:19 PM

Texting While Dating

Sometimes I wonder if male columnists write columns just to piss off their daughter’s friends. In David Brooks’ case , his dissection of modern dating habits is less annoying than Michael Gerson’s similar attempt, because he is less scolding and more anthropological. And because I am closer to his age than his daughter’s, I will admit-with some fear of my fellow DoubleX ers-that I found it intriguing.

Brooks does his research at New York magazine’s online sex diaries, which he admits is not a representative sample. What he discovers is a new mating market which operates something like an e-Bay auction, where buyers are, up to the last minute, searching for a best deal on a lay. I’ve had friends newly on the dating market, so I’ve seen some of this in action, and I do find it kind of amazing. Most interesting to me is the creation of a texting persona-almost a literary persona-always somewhat ironic, flirtatious, and almost never honest or hurt.

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This doesn’t mean, as he says, that we need medieval chivalry, or Bruce Springsteen to keep us in check. I, for one, can’t stand Bruce Springsteen. I think there must be new rules here and Brooks and I just haven’t figured them out. I can see, for example, how this resembles in some ways dating from the '50s, with everyone angling and protected. But I’m not sure. Anyone with more experience want to explain?