The Subtle Art of Subtext

  |  Jun 12, 2010
photo courtesy of The CW/ETC (Gossip Girl)
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A side from air and the accompanying smog, the most omnipresent thing in our country today is texting. Anywhere you go, you’ll see all sorts of people walking with their heads bowed, focused on tapping out little messages of love and whatnot on their mobile phones, all the while praying that A) their things don’t get snatched by some alert, light-fingered crook, and B) they don’t fall into an open manhole they might have missed because they were too busy texting. Yes, SMS even has its own ABC now—that’s how pervasive it is in our culture.


Which brings us to a great point: If SMS is the new telebabad, then does it hold that it’s also a great way to develop relationships, specifically those of the romantic kind? Well, in this writer’s experience, it actually is. However, there are factors which you have to consider when using text messages in this manner. For one thing, it’s like talking through writing. And as you probably know, there are a lot of things you can convey through speaking that don’t come out too clearly when you write it down. And this isn’t something that affects you ladies only: we guys occasionally get tripped up by this fact as well. So to make things a bit clearer for everyone, your friends here at Candy are listing down the most common questions regarding the confusing world known as texting. We’re providing some answers which we hope will make more sense than simply saying “ewn ko s yo!



Do guys create and edit their messages almost as much as Shakespeare did before sending them?

Again, it depends. If a guy is texting someone he simply considers a friend, then he’ll text her just like he texts all his friends: short, simple, and most probably peppered with all the phonetic abbreviations you can handle. If it’s a girl, however, particularly someone whom said guy is really into, things change. Every word is correctly spelled, for fear of being misunderstood due to some small screw-up. Every bit of the sentence, even the punctuation, is carefully analyzed. Is the text too forward? Does it sound threatening? Does it sound too like a just-friends text? Hey, give us some credit, girls. Even our term papers weren’t this painstakingly crafted.


Do guys like smiley faces on text messages sent to them by girls? Does it mean something to them?

Here’s a common question. We think that smiley faces (either the classic emoticon-type :) or the more time-saving U with an umlaut) brighten up any message to anyone, but it particularly makes a guy’s day when a girl texts him with a smiley face. It means that the girl is comfortable talking with him, and he can just imagine that smile on her face. Does it mean anything? Well, it really depends on the context of the message and on the guy himself. If the message is about something as mundane as how to do a school project, then it shouldn’t mean anything. But if you’re asking him to go to your house to help you do it, followed by a smiley face—then it can mean a lot! Also, more jaded guys may consider a smiley face as just something to fill up the space in an SMS message; but the hopeless romantics among the male population will definitely swoon over the slightest use of a smiley face from a female text buddy.

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But if a guy texts me with a smiley face after every sentence, does that mean he likes me?

It’s pretty much ditto for this case, girls. Some guys will always place a smiley face at the end of their messages because they’re the happy type and because they consider you a good friend. In this case, you shouldn’t rely solely on the strength of smiley faces at the end of texts to determine if he’s into you, as in, into you. Having said that, it does take a lot of effort to place a smiley face after every sentence, and not every message. Guys don’t really like to exert too much effort in something as trivial as a text message because, yes, majority of us are lazy-ass slobs. We’d say that asks for a little creative sleuthing on your part.


Okay, so if a guy texts me without any smiley faces at all, does that mean he doesn’t like me, much less acknowledge my existence?

This writer had that problem before, wherein a girl I was texting wouldn’t put any smiley faces on her messages. That led me to worry about my status with her. I thought she was mad at me or something. It turned out she was lazier than I was in composing texts, so she assumed she didn’t have to put smileys in every message. So it’s not necessarily a given that he doesn’t like you if he isn’t a smiley freak. Maybe he’s just so comfortable with you that he doesn’t bother to think about whether the absence of a smiley face in his text would affect you or not. Just don’t be too rash in judging things based on smiley faces, okay? Things can get very confusing if you do, particularly if your feelings for the guy start to amplify your every little doubt and worry.



Want to know what it means when a guy doesn't text back? Read the next page to find out.


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