Skip to main content

Real men talk, they don't text

By Roxanne Jones, Special to CNN
July 3, 2013 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roxanne Jones: It was cowardly of Russell Brand to divorce Katy Perry via text
  • Jones: It's shocking how many adult men would rather text than call or meet up
  • She says don't let technology turn you into a wimp who is afraid of real conversation
  • Jones: When it comes to romance, pick up the phone or talk face to face

Editor's note: Roxanne Jones is a founding editor of ESPN The Magazine and a former vice president at ESPN. She is a national lecturer on sports, entertainment and women's topics and a recipient of the 2010 Woman of the Year award from Women in Sports and Events. She is the co-author of "Say It Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete" (Random House) and CEO of Push Media Strategies.

(CNN) -- That's it. Starting today the next guy to text me and ask me on a date will be deleted from my cell phone -- permanently.

Want to make plans for the weekend?

Wondering how my day was?

Roxanne Jones
Roxanne Jones

Need to discuss our relationship?

Call me.

Save texting for simple stuff: Let's meet at 8 p.m.? Do you like sushi? Or even, you looked so hot last night! When it comes to texting, the KISS rule applies -- Keep It Simple Stupid.

Now of course, there are times when a "U & I R DUN" text may be in order. But that rule is only acceptable if you've gone out once or twice and had an awful experience. Dumping or even divorcing someone via text message is just cowardice. It's a punk move but it happens quite often and not just among teens, as pop star Katy Perry tells us in the July issue of Vogue magazine.

"He's a very smart man, and I was in love with him when I married him," Perry says, of her ex-husband Russell Brand. "Let's just say I haven't heard from him since he texted me saying he was divorcing me December 31, 2011."

It's best to say good riddance to a loser like Brand. Because while it may be cute for teenagers to text their sweetheart all day and night, that is really no way for intelligent, confident adults to communicate.

"People can hide themselves in a text message," warns Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy in Chicago.

"When you talk to someone on the phone that's when their true personality starts to shine. Hearing someone's voice tells you if they are positive or negative, or enthusiastic about life. The voice conversation is very important. It keeps people from hiding. The phone is a screener."

How technology has changed romance

Katy Perry and Russell Brand split?
Brand: I have 'compassion' for Katy

As a happily single woman, I am shocked at how many professional, attractive and otherwise intelligent men have no idea how to hold communicate effectively by phone or face to face.

Real communication often takes courage. It's not easy to drop our defenses and reveal our insecurities to one another, especially if we've gotten our feelings hurt a few times. But developing your emotional intelligence is a critical ingredient in all healthy adult relationships.

A short text in the middle of the day to let someone know you are thinking of them is a sweet gesture. But if you imagine that sending a daily barrage of texts, such as "driving to work, heading to lunch, or just left a meeting" is a romantic way to show you are thinking of your partner, think again.

Or texting in the middle of the night. I once dated a 50-something guy who thought it was romantic to send me a "good morning" text at 4:30 a.m. Good grief. When the chime on my phone jolted me awake, I panicked: "Someone must have died," I thought. Why else would anyone text me at this hour? Bad move.

"Texting is not the place for anything serious. Never handle something over text that should be handled in person or over the phone. This just shows that you are a weakling who deserves a good slapping. Swallow your fear, and pick up the phone." says relationship expert Michael Masters, author of "TextAppeal -- For Guys! The Ultimate Texting Guide."

Don't get me wrong, no one has time to be on the phone all day every day, but I can guarantee you that if the woman you're dating would rather text you than call, the relationship is over.

Also, it's best to avoid needy "Crack Texting." "This is hands-down the number one mistake people make," says Masters. Texting is best used as a slowly developing conversation. And the benefit of texting is that you actually have time to think before you blast off an inappropriate message. I like Masters' rule: "The hotter the person is, the less you should be texting them. Don't be needy."

The lost art of offline dating

I get it. I love technology and I text, tweet, tumblr, pin, and share on Facebook with a passion. Social networking is an integral part of my life. But when it comes to romance, women still need to hear your voice or look you in the eye when we're talking.

"[Research shows] that about 93% of how we make our first impressions of people within 30 seconds of meeting them is nonverbal communication -- body language, voice tone, personal appearance ... " Gandhi reminds us. "And relying on texting to build a relationship is a recipe for miscommunication, and premature intimacy."

Don't let technology turn you into a coward who is afraid of real conversation, or sharing yourself in any meaningful way. Don't be a Russell Brand. If you have more virtual friends on Facebook than you do in reality, it's time to reevaluate your life. Get out there make a few actual friends, in person.

Dating is easy. It's risky. But it is not nearly as complicated as many people make out -- as long as you actually like yourself first and are basically satisfied with your own life.

I admit there is one date text I always will answer: "Want to go to the Knicks game tonight?" Now that message just might be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roxanne Jones.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2248 GMT (0648 HKT)
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2049 GMT (0449 HKT)
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT