Hey, this is Phil. Leave me a message, or don’t, but do me a favor: don’t text me—it’s gay.

When you first heard about SMS—short message service—it appeared to be just another pointless invention like the Opti-Grab or Crystal Pepsi. In time, however, cell phones became more prevalent and “texting” became easier. Presently, more than 80 billion texts are sent each month in the United States alone. But somewhere in the curve, presumably within the last two or three years, text messaging went from being a convenience to being a nuisance.

Drunk texting, predictive text errors, sexting, typing “G-r-a-n-d-m-a” instead of your drinking buddy “G-r-a-n-t”—it’s all bad news. The best way to avoid such missteps is to stop texting. OK, maybe you don’t have to stop texting, but at least consider keeping your iPhone-key mashing to a minimum. Do you think Gordon Gekko texted anybody? Hell no.

Great times for text messaging: When you’re supposed to meet a friend but stuck in a meeting. When you need to send the showtime for the movie to your long-winded sister. When you need to remind your co-worker from Norman that OU’s defense is “weak at best” during the game.

Wretched times for text messaging: When your mother needs some information of some kind. When you need to talk with your boss about time off/a raise/hiring a better-looking intern. When you want to ask multiple people “what’s going on tonight”.

When it comes to texting with women, you’ve got a trickier subject than the rest. The traditional nature of the AG says: don’t. Yet, when is the last time you met a woman who didn’t text, etc. from her Blackberry or iPhone? Your safest route is to follow her lead. If she’s texting you once after a date and twice the next day, text her back. If she’s more inclined to talk over the phone, appease her. The one hard and fast rule: Don’t send anything via text that should be said in person. If you don’t know what those kind of things are, head back over to Match.com—the AG cannot help you.

Finally, get your damn phone off the table when dining and don’t even think about answering it inside a restaurant. Men have been taking off their hats indoors for centuries yet we can’t adhere to simple cell phone etiquette? If the call can’t wait, step outside. No matter how important you think you are, let the AG be the first to assure you—you’re not.

Now—unless you’re texting someone to brag about this website, put down the phone and start living life better.

*Austin-only tip: Headed out to SXSW next weekend? AT&T customers will have the advantage of additional mobile cell towers in and around the downtown area, thus kicking the 3G up a notch. Rest easy, sexters.

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~ by An Austin Gentleman on March 4, 2010.

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