By Michael Harriot
E-Bae: (n.) a person who carries on their romantic relationship through mostly texting or on social media.
Face-Boo: (n) The Facebook friend who you have a slight crush on. You comment on their statuses, like all their pics and even poke them. Even though you’ve never met in person, they’re your Facebook boyfriend/girlfriend.
As the information age completely envelops every aspects of our lives, changing technology is slowly evolving our interpersonal relationships. Everything is digital now.Even my mother texts me. Sure, she thinks “LOL” means “lots of love” and she ends every text with “Sincerely, mom” as if I didn’t know who was sending the message, but it illustrates how differently we communicate now than we did a scant 20 years ago. One of the biggest ways this phenomenon has manifested itself is in our love lives. We have moved from love letters and courting on front porches to swiping right on Tinder and sending direct messages on Instagram. Text messaging has replaced late night phone calls while the “Quiet Storm” plays on the radio in the background.
We at NegusWhoRead know this takes some getting use to. In an effort to guide you through this new era and standardize the rules for getting a “Face-boo” or an “E-Bae,” we present to you the complete guide to digital dating. Feel free to use this handbook as a primer for conducting your individual textationship. Whenever anyone has a dispute about whether something is appropriate or not, please refer to this guide to settle all disputes as we are now the official sanctioning body for digital relationships.
Beginning your relationship One must understand the variations on information acquisition before you step into a textual relationship. Too often the subtle cues are misread by one party. For instance, if someone gives you his or her card with their phone number on it, you are strictly forbidden to use it for personal reasons. They meant it for business purposes. There are only two ways to get a number for personal use:
- To type it directly in the phone, or the most efficient and preferred method
- To have them call your phone
Once you are given a number for reasons of personal interest, you have 72 hours to use it. After then, by the rules of conduct, the mutual interest self-destructs.
If you are friends on social media, it is permissible to slide into the DMs only after three or more public acknowledgements or @replies. Anything before then is considered thirsty.
Texting versus calling There is much debate surrounding this issue. There are some who prefer to be called, while some are too busy for that bullshit, it is a personal choice. Whichever you prefer, choose wisely, because the chosen method is valid for the entire tenure of the relationship. You don’t want to tell a guy “you have to call me to ask you for a date” and have him blowing your phone up for months after you lose interest. Similarly, if you choose texting as your primary means of communication, it means that after the relationship is over, for a period of no less than three years you should expect random texts at 3 a.m. containing the universal booty call: “WYD?” ONLY answer the WYD text if you want to participate in WYD activities. If not, leave the text unanswered until the next morning, when you respond “Sorry. I was asleep.”
Sexting Sexting is a very touchy subject and should be handled within the boundaries of your digital relationship. You should, however, understand that there are certain rules to sexting that apply universally:
- Unsolicited dick pics Remember that time you were at that wedding reception and the bride said “as soon as I saw his semi-erect penis taken in bad light laying on his hairy thigh, I knew it was love…”? Nope. Because it has never happened. I’m not saying that there aren’t women who don’t like pictures of penises. I’m just saying that you should always let them make the request. For a woman opening her messages and seeing a penis she didn’t ask for is like having your white co-worker bring a dish to work, and telling you to try some. Yes, unsolicited dick pics are White people’s potato salad. You should also be aware that she is going to show her friends.
- Unsolicited female nudes We were going to list a few caveats, but after further research, we couldn’t find one instance of a guy being upset about receiving unsolicited nude pics. Not one. If Betty White sent unsolicited pictures of herself, it might be disgusting…
But we’d still look.
- Privacy rights After a breakup, you have the right to ask that all dirty talk, pictures and other embarrassing evidence be erased from your partner’s phone. You should also be aware that they have the right to say no. Once you send anything digitally, all rights, privileges and ownership is transferred to the receiver.
Social Media Social media is one of the best starters and biggest ruiners of relationships. “Sliding into the DM’s” is the new millenium way of asking a girl to dance. The governing body has deemed that there is a sliding scale for social media relationships:
- If you like more than 5 of my pictures or statuses in a 24-hour period, we “go dagetha”
- If you are actually in more than two pictures together, that’s your boyfriend/girlfriend.
- If you are in a profile picture with someone, in 23 states and the District of Columbia, you are common-law married.
Digital Booty Calls – The aforementioned “WYD” is the simplest and easy way to procure a digital booty call, but some people don’t like to approach such a delicate subject with so blunt a tool. There are various methods for signaling that you’d like a booty call.
- The emoji – The eggplant followed by the question mark is the universal symbol for signaling sexual relations.
- The code word Whenever you enter a digital relationship, I suggest you both agree on an obscure word. If your partner/friend uses that word, it means they want to have sex. Make sure it’s obscure, too. You don’t want to make your code word “tangerine” and end up getting kicked out of Whole Foods or doing the horizontal bone dance every time someone describes Donald Trump.
- The roundabout way this consists of starting a long conversation that eventually leads to sex. It’s the stupidest way to do things. If you are in a text thread with more than 10 replies, you should assume the other person wants to fuck.
Evolving an “E-bae” Digital relationships often evolve into real relationship. Moving from a textationship to a real relationship is easier, because you already know the most important things about the other person, like their level of spelling, their grammar, and whether they know the difference between “you’re” and “your” or “loose” and “lose.” It is easy to tell when your relationship is evolving. If you start sending or expecting “good morning” texts, your relationship is evolving. The good morning text is so indicative because late night texts are inversely important. The later a text is sent, the less meaningful its content is. If someone is thinking of you at 3 a.m. it is probably because they are drunk or horny. If they’re thinking of you at 7 a.m. they probably like you. Unless they’re still drunk and horny.
Can I see your phone? The answer is no. Ladies, you won’t be able to explain why you have unsolicited dick pics, because guys always think they are the only ones chasing you. Plus it is hard to explain why the others are bigger than his. It’s probably the angle. Yeah that’s it.
Guys, even if you’re trapped under a refrigerator in a house fire and your phone is the only one with a signal, do not let your partner use it! I guarantee you, when the firefighters save you, as you are riding in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, in excruciating pain with third-degree burns, she will hold your hand, lean over and whisper in your ear:
“So who is Keshia?”
Ending a Digital Relationship The beautiful thing about a digital situashionship is that that it is easy to get out of. Just stop answering the messages. Even if they are persistent, you can always block them, or do the most underhanded trick of them all:
“New phone. Who dis?”
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About the author
Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot
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