Twitter Flirting, Gchat Romance & Breakup Vines: A Chat With Edith Zimmerman

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Chiara Atik is HowAboutWe’s writer in residence. Her book, Modern Dating: A Field Guide, is now available. For the next few weeks, she’ll be discussing topics from the book with bloggers, journalists, comedians, and other people with lots of opinions on dating. First up is Edith Zimmerman of The Hairpin.

Me: Hiiiii Edith!
Sent at 3:35 PM on Wednesday
Me: do you remember your first ever date?
Like, the first time it was A Date. A real one
Sent at 3:37 PM on Wednesday
Edith: I remember going to a movie in 10th grade.
Me: my first date was to a library
supervised by my mother
in 6th grade
Edith: haha
Me: then after that I didn’t go an a Real Date until after college
like, the kind where a stranger asks you out
and you do something together to see if you’re interested in one another
Me: Did you ever have to like, learn how to date? Or was it sort of a constant with you and your friends
Sent at 3:42 PM on Wednesday
Edith: I don’t think there was learning, but definitely we all had different things going on
Sent at 3:45 PM on Wednesday
Me: what do you think about twitter flirting. do people do it too much? do they put too much stock into it?
Edith: I think it’s cute
it’s a little cowardly though unless it’s not taken quickly to the next level
you know?
Sent at 3:48 PM on Wednesday
Edith: twitter gchat and tumblr flirting should all disappear
although i’m in a new place regarding the internet these days
Me: I got a message from a girl on Saturday night who basically said “HELP I just unfriended and friended this guy, we flirt all the time but he lives in a different city and i think the distance is getting to him and he’s just being emotionally unavailable what should I do?”
Edith: hmm
Me: And I was just like “…nothing, he lives in a different city and you’ve never met him.”
Sent at 3:54 PM on Wednesday
Edith: wait they’d never met?
Sent at 3:55 PM on Wednesday
Me: I guess what i’m saying is that the internet is weird because it’s been GREAT for dating in so many ways, but then these pseudo things pop up, and just confuse people
and keep people from paying attention to who they know in real life
Sent at 3:56 PM on Wednesday
Edith: I agree
I think the internet is great for quantity but not quality, although I know that’s not like a revelation
but then it can be really all-consuming
Me: Have you noticed any dating-related themes or issues from people with Ask a Lady/Queer Chick/Dude?
Sent at 3:58 PM on Wednesday
Edith: yes
extremely so
everyone has the same shit
which can be both depressing and relieving
probably the most common is:
I went out on this amazing date / string of dates with this guy/girl, and then [tortuous description of ensuing weeks / months] and then s/he said s/he doesn’t want a relationship, what’s the deal??
ha, this is just part of my attempt to drive my own site’s advice column into the ground
Sent at 4:01 PM on Wednesday
Me: lol
i think the hardest part about dating is turning people down
and soooooo much of the angst surrounding dating comes from either having to turn someone down, or someone else not being direct in turning YOU down
Edith: right
Me: but I think, MOSTLY, when people are direct, the person on the receiving end isn’t…THAT…devastated? Like, people understand.
Edith: It’s nice to be straightforward with people, because they feel they’re being respected instead of patted on the head
although it’s always delicate
Sent at 4:03 PM on Wednesday
Me: do you think that the internet/texting/etc makes it harder to be direct?
Sent at 4:04 PM on Wednesday
Edith: hmm, I think it makes it both harder and easier. Because there are more layers to hide behind, meaning you can send forward a very straightforward thought and then sort of dive to the side & not have to watch it land or whatever
but also it lets people have all this drifty communication
fading, confusion, ambiguity
it depends how you use it
Sent at 4:06 PM on Wednesday
Me: is it okay to break up via email, if you do so directly?
Edith: I think it depends on how long you’d been seeing each other
Me: 2 months
Edith: ehhhh I don’t know
I’m a fan of email everything
I wish I were an email
but I think probably the right thing is in person, although — what, you have to jump through hoops to set up a coffee date, when it’s obvious what’s happening (who has coffee dates 2 months in), or like start a nice night but then be like “Well actually”
god, I don’t know
Sent at 4:09 PM on Wednesday
Me: yeah exactly, that’s why in person is awkward
the other person is looking forward to a normal night.
I guess the “let’s talk….” pre-text is useful, in that case
Sent at 4:10 PM on Wednesday
Edith: maybe send someone a Vine
Me: a break-up vine, omg, i’m going to make one*.
Sent at 4:11 PM on Wednesday
Edith: dump them on twitter. “No longer dating @edithzimmerman”


*Ed. note: We just made one, and so did Chiara. Make your own breakup Vine (and tag it #breakupvine) and we’ll share the best ones on @howaboutwe.

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