I recently received a free copy of He Texted by Lisa Winning and Carrie Henderson McDermott from Net Galley for review.
He Texted bills itself as the ultimate guide to decoding guys. It’s basically a dating manual for the digital age, giving women tips and advice on how to understand everything from his Facebook posts to the texts he sends you – and the ones he doesn’t.
I will start with this: As a 35 year old, divorced mother of two, I don’t think I am the author’s target demographic, exactly. For example, there’s at least one mention that you should never, ever take a call while on a date, and in fact, should not even look at the screen to see who’s calling. Well, that’s a nice thought, but as a mother, if my phone rings and my children are not physically with me, I must look to make sure it’s not an emergency with them – and if the screen shows me that whoever’s calling is the person in charge of my children, you bet I’m answering that call. So in that regard, the book seems to be more for the young, single women who are childless, and I would guess, never before married, either.
With that said, however, it’s not a bad book for any woman who is dating in today’s world to pick up. While I don’t think I agree with everything said in the book, it does have some little nuggets of wisdom that you might not have thought of. For me personally, the last time I actively dated (I’ve had relationships since my divorce, but have not played the dating game since before my marriage), cell phones were nothing more than a cordless phone that didn’t need to be near a base. They only made phone calls, and most of the people I knew didn’t have them. I’m not kidding here, people – pagers were still the “cool” thing to have. And if you don’t know what a pager is, then I am jealous of how young you are. Anyway, back to the point. Dating with Facebook and Twitter and cell phones and texting is far different from when I used to have to ask around among my friends and find out if anyone knew anyone who knew anyone who knew anyone who knew Billy/Bobby/Mike/Joe/Tom. Now, it’s simple to go online and read his Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. and learn all about him. But…are you really learning all about him from those things?
That’s the point of the book. It’s a good reminder that a man’s (or anyone’s, really) online life is not necessarily the same life that occurs offline. They also point out the folly of checking out all these online presences: the idea that you know this man based on these things, the fantasy that you begin building in your head about the relationship you could (or do) have – and the fact that the idea and the fantasy are all too often far, far removed from reality.
They give some great tips on how to interpret a man’s actions via Facebook and text, encouraging women to be smart and not read something into a post or a text that isn’t really there. They also address sexting and sending nude photos, which given the implications of doing either of those things, is probably a great idea.
They have three men (they call them the Bros), who tell you straight what they think various things mean. And they don’t pull punches. They’re quite blunt about the fact that this particular text means he only thinks of you as someone to sleep with, or that if he responds this way to your text, he simply isn’t interested. The Bros consist of one single man, one man in a committed relationship, and one married man. Each man brings his own perspective based on his particular relationship status, which is nice.
I did find the formatting a little odd. Whenever someone different was “speaking”, you would see his/her name and photo. I found that a little weird – the photos were okay for the first time hearing from each one, to get an image in your head of who they are. After that, just their name would have sufficed, as I didn’t need to see their faces each time. But again, I’m pretty sure I’m not the target demographic, so it may just be my own personal preference and others would feel differently.
I do think the book is a great introduction to modern dating for those who haven’t dated before. I would be willing to say that teenage girls should read it before dating, but for the fact that there is at least one reference to having spent offline time with your clothes off with the man you’re interested in, and I wouldn’t want to encourage teen girls to think that’s okay – not to mention their parents may not be okay with that. I do think, however, that it would make an excellent addition to a newly 18-year-old’s bookshelf, and that for girls under 18, their parents should read it. Even if they choose not to let their teen read the book, I think it could prove beneficial for them to get a little insight into how younger people are viewing dating these days with texting, Facebook, etc. and help them open up a conversation with their daughters.
I think parents of sons could also find it useful. We’re responsible, as parents, for shaping how our kids view the opposite sex, and it can’t hurt to read this book and see how the Bros think men view women. It could give parents of boys a starting point to discuss whether or not certain ideas about women are acceptable, and might help them find things to talk about that they may not have considered otherwise. For example, I’ve given thought to at what age my kids can date, and how to treat the people they choose to date, but until I read this book, it hadn’t occurred to me to discuss how to respond to texts from someone they aren’t interested in, or to talk to them and make sure they understand that just because they talk to someone online or through text doesn’t mean they know that person – that knowing someone comes from in person, verbal conversation.
Overall, while I don’t think I’m the actual intended audience, I do think the book is a great read for anyone who’s considering dating in today’s world.
*I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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