In my heyday, long past, “text” was a noun. In this 21st century world, “text” has become a verb: If you want to send someone a “text message” from your phone, you “text” him. People have wrecks while texting in their car. So, we see the English language expanding to fit our lifestyle.
I have grown to like text messaging, but only in a limited sense. I am definitely not hooked on it, as some seem to be. I probably send or receive a text message once or twice in an average week. They are extremely useful in situations (court, for example) where answering the phone is impossible but you need to send or receive information. Usually the message will be something like “Witness is running late—she’ll be there in five minutes.”
I find text messages useful but not particularly personal nor a primary means of communication.
And then there is the “tweet,” which is no longer simply a description of bird talk. No, those who use the social media Twitter are now said to “tweet” their messages. I am determined to look into Twitter and learn to tweet—it can’t be rocket science given those who make the news using it—but have not taken the time. I suspect that I am going to find that this is not a particularly personal-feeling means of communication either.
But, apparently, there are those who do find these to be extremely personal means of exchange. Take U S Congressman Anthony Weiner, for example. You may recall that I only recently wrote about the Congressman here. At that time the Washington Weiner had not yet come clean about his very personal tweeting and text messaging. Now, it seems, he’s tearfully confessed that he has had inappropriate text/twitter messaging with at least six women.
Aha! So it was him and not an evil hacker! I knew it! Didn’t you?
But, let’s move on back to the topic of language. I am told from the news that what Weiner was doing is called “Sexting,” which apparently comes from combining the word “Sex” with the verb “Text.” Voila! How cute! A new English word. Sexting.
I became personally familiar with sexting a couple of years ago when I discovered some “Sexts” (is this the right word???) on my husband’s phone. Oh, dear! They were X-rated—no, they were XXX-rated! It amazed me that so much description could be packed into so few words. And the names by which his girlfriend signed off were, well, they, too, were imaginative, but, alas, are not repeatable here.
Hubby answered with equally-“sexy” messages, but I must admit he was not nearly word-agile as his lover in this game. As my husband’s best friend said when I told him of them: “Whoa! She’s a pro!” True.
When confronted, my husband, himself, said: “I am embarrassed. This reminds me of junior high.”
I agree. But it didn’t quit. Notwithstanding his professed embarrassment, he continued right along, apparently unable to break free from the fantasy admiration he felt from these missives, juvenile or not. I found more steamy sext messages right before we split for good. And he even admitted that he loved the game of sexting. It was, apparently, a huge turn-on and addictive. (I’m telling you men think differently from women…)
You may recall that Congressman Weiner is not the first to fall to Sexting urges. Former (as in “now resigned”) New York Congressman Chris Lee was sending out his manly pictures to Craig’s List—to anyone interested, and his sending them in the first place tells me that he was so proud of himself that he just knew there would be public interest out there. If you want to review Congressman Lee’s advertising picture, you can find it at my post. of February 10, 2011 (hyperlink gadget just will not work here for some reason). As for Weiner, here is one of his tamer picture-messages:
You can also Google and find the infamous crotch shot—through underwear, thankfully. I will spare you a copy of that picture, here, but I will say with regard to the same: “Poor Weiner…” I think that the thrill of this sexting thing must over-inflate one’s estimation of himself, if you get my drift…
And the person he was wooing (was he “wooing” her?) ratted him out, saying, “He’s got some serious issues…” No doubt, but I’m sorry to say that these issues are not rare in the male community. Like it or not.
So, everyone: Get out your vocab lists and update. And thanks to these hunks for expanding our mother tongue! C