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love out loud: the boy who cried (and cried)

‘Jordan texted me 49 times last night,’ Momo told me as she walked into work one morning.

Jordan was a guy that Momo had been seeing (exclusively, but still “seeing”) for a few weeks, and as more facts came to light (he was drunk, and they were largely sentence fragments varying between ‘please come get me’, ‘where yours’ and ‘sorru’ rather than well-constructed sentences), the 49 messages made more sense but nonetheless seemed a bit much.

As Momo and I shared a few jokes at the boy’s expense (the fact that he’d obviously been making a rather clumsy attempt to booty call rather moderated our empathy), she eventually raised an excellent point.

‘Can you imagine if a girl did this?’

My eyes widened as I considered the consequences of a female texting a male 49 times, in a single night, without receiving any responses from him, and without being in a relationship that understands or forgives such rampant phone use. She would be humiliated and possibly suffer social exile, but would certainly be thought of as desperate and clingy, if not altogether crazy.

The same romantic gestures are interpreted very differently dependent on whether they’re made by a male or a female. The archaic but pervasive notion that men should chase and women should be chased allows men far greater liberty in what they can say and do to win someone’s attention and affection without seeming hopeless.

This is probably because men are thought to use the same methods to lure women into bed and into a relationship, and thus even the most elaborate romantic act might be a “trick”. Conversely, women are thought to be able to coordinate a sexual liaison with little more than a tilt of the head and a suggestive smile, and so anything beyond this is obviously going to be a ploy to trap a man into babies and suburban hell.

Most people should be able to recognise that both of these stereotypes aren’t altogether accurate, though aloofness does seem to have become an appealing trait, particularly in women (which I would argue is an offshoot of ‘holding out’). And let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of satisfactory explanations as to why someone would send so many text messages a person, other than ‘I’m just that into you’.

Where heterosexual gender relations are concerned, we still have a long way to go. That’s why even though most would concede that 49 messages is rather over the top for anyone in just about any relationship circumstance, it can still seem romantic when a guy does it, but is quickly deemed the action of a nut-job stalker when the sender is a female.

Granted, pretty much every person that Momo told about Jordan’s excessive messaging thought it was hilarious (maybe just a bit endearingly pathetic), and freely laughed about it. And perhaps this is a small sign that women are pushing back with the same standards that have been placed on us. But ultimately, being ridiculed is far preferable to having your behaviour incite discussion around your mental stability and biological clock.

(Image credit: 1.)

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