I love double texting. I love it when people are keen. To me, it’s never a bad thing to take an interest and show that interest — even a lot of it — in another person. It’s a beautiful thing indeed. It’s a lost art. Nowadays, people are scared of this act. They worry about coming across as too eager, too available, too desperate. They spend a great amount of energy and effort, not in making the object of their desire feel special, but in making themselves appear aloof, or anything but keen. Then there are people who are genuinely aloof. People who never have the time, who never show up, who just give others as much as what’s being asked of them in an interview fashion, but never more.
Mutual feelings have become some sort of magic. Mutual efforts are almost non-existent. People date like they dance but in a terribly clumsy and half-hearted way. They can’t decide whether to step forward or backward. They move reluctantly, defensively like someone is about to attack them. They don’t talk about feelings or anything personal, just exchange information like a chatbot. Messages are left unseen, seen but unresponded. Excuses are thrown around like a ball no one wants to catch but has no other choice. Endless excuses, never just plain truth. Because even when people are not keen, they still want to keep others warm, resorting to — intentionally or not — an ambiguity whose cruelty they know full well of. They need the ego boost, the quick fix for their attention craving, the temporary ease for their loneliness. They don’t want to burn bridges even when their actions show no intention of crossing such bridges ever soon — well, just in case.
Now is the modern age of me, me, me. Look at me. Listen to me. You have to earn my attention, my interest. You have to prove you’re worthy of my time. Self-love is on trend, romantic love is mentioned in air quotes. Everyone is so busy. Everyone thinks they’re too good for someone else, for a relationship, but not good enough that they can accept genuine caring and reciprocate reliable signs of interest. Simple sentences like I would love to see you again, I care about you, I want you, I like you, are stuck at the back of their throats, impossible to come out, not least without some level of playing it down. Now is the new generation of disconnectedness, of yearning, of feeling empty yet being more present on Whatsapp than in person. Now is the era of vague intentions, missing in action, maybe but not sure but maybe. Only If you want we can, never a definite of course I want to. And don’t ask for exclamation marks, that’s definitely too much.
Well, I’m tired. I don’t want to participate in this dating culture anymore. Opt me out of big cities’ casualness and indifference. Send me double texts, triple texts, phone calls, and say yes, yes, yes, set our spirits free. If we don’t feel the same, then we can be honest and gracefully send each other our best wishes — it’s no problem. Just please no more deafening I-ask-you-answer online chats. No more “Yes I miss you” but then repeatedly “I’m sorry” 5 minutes before a plan is supposed to happen. Ask me pointed questions, let me hear your unfiltered stories. Dance with me properly to the music of our fierce hearts, seduce me every day with the sexiness of consistency. Let me come in. Meet me face to face. Don’t leave me here hanging…
I know, I know. I’m not all different from the descriptions above. I only like who I like. I don’t always say good morning first. I’m guarded. I’m cautious. I watch people carefully. I’m not the best at communicating my keenness if there is… just like everyone else, protecting our vulnerable selves out of sheer instinct and age-old habits. But perhaps, this common struggle of experiencing mismatched levels of interest and effort has nothing to do with millennials and big cities; it’s just simply a case of “he’s just not that into you” when curious questions are absent, and we can’t dictate what people should be curious about. Perhaps, the seemingly not-that-keen people in my life right now are indeed not that keen; saying they’re victims of a broken culture is just a conveniently comforting and lazy lie to myself. There are always naturally interested and uninterested people, and focusing on the latter to make negative conclusions about life is both unproductive and doing myself a disservice. I should stop fretting about whether I have done enough and start giving people space and freedom to do more too.
That said, if I meet someone who’s equally interested in me, for the connection to progress and deepen, I also need to do my part. I can’t keep myself closed up, expecting people to go out of their way to break my walls or somehow mind-read my desires. I have to treat others the way I would like to be treated. So I will try my best to show my interest when it’s sparked in me. I will keep my door open for the people who are curious what’s inside. Hear me? If you like me, send me those double texts. I promise I will give you the best of my honesty.