Tag Archives: epistolary

Word Minimum for Love

11 Mar

Less talk, more digging!

My homie over at It’s Not a Match recently weighed in on how many times you should exchange emails before meeting up in real life. It got me thinking back to a time when I received a reply from a girl on OkC who was “writing a book” (aka not working) and thus relying on swooning OkCupid guys to supply her drinks and dinners. Based on her pictures, she was attractive and feisty, and unfortunately this combination sometimes speaks to my lizard brain, egging me on to a challenge I don’t need. I sent her a bit of “feeler banter” to which she replied along these lines (paraphrasing):

“Listen, I’m not into long exchanges. Are you going to buy me dinner or not?”

Now, some might jump at this bold acceleration of proceedings, but for me it raised several orange flags. I sent her a brisk riposte:

“Listen, honey, I need to be romanced via banter before we get to dinner.”

Needless, to say, I never heard from this odd “dinner digger” again but it highlights the preference of many people to get straight to the point (ulterior motives aside). There are those, like yours truly, who love putting pen to paper, and drafting long missives, which can certainly cross the line at times from wordplay and charm to drawn-out epistolary romance. But for many, online dating is just a medium—no more, no less.

My personal outlook is that even if you’re not a writer at heart and prefer to keep the preliminary copy to a minimum, you need to recognize that online dating is, for better or worse, primarily a writing medium. You don’t have to draft essay-length messages (you’d all laugh at some of the screeds I used to churn out), but dig deep to put in more than 5 words’ worth of effort. I’ve been able to edit myself down from multiple paragraph profiles and messages to pithier capsules, but I still enjoy the exchanges. They are, honestly, often the most exciting part of the digital courtship process, and in successful connections I often reminisce happily about those early messages.

For someone who loves to exchange words with likeminded ladypals, verbal reticence can also be a useful signal of compatibility. It won’t shock you to find out that I usually click much better with people who appreciate wordplay and style and dish back equally deft replies. Whatever your writing persuasion, I urge to just give words a chance!