Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Type-cast: What Your Internet Voice Says About You

Close your eyes. No wait, that's not going to work. Keep your eyes open, but imagine you've never heard my voice. Now, audio-lize that this is Barry White typing.

Hmmm, how you doin' darling? You damn sure know I can't get enough of yo' love, don't you baby? Here...I poured you a nice glass of red wine. I've got some dark chocolate for you, too.

Hey! Wake up! Ladies, and many of you gentlemen, trust me, I know how sexy Bar just made those last few sentences sound. Many of you will have to take a couple seconds to throw those pants back on before you keep reading. I'll wait.

...Ready? Okay. Now, what was the point of that little exercise? Was it just to show how powerful the voice of the black man can be? Well, that's the point of most of my exercises, but not this time. You see, the voice of text can be very deceptive.

In my decade and change of using the interwebs, I've gathered some cautionary tales of the type, and compiled some rules of the wrote. Let's dig in.

There was one time in my life when I played wingman for a friend. He was going on a date with a girl and it just so happened she was bringing an extra lady. On our way over, I'd asked him how they had met and if she was cute. His response was simply that, "she types like a hot girl." (Nerd!).

I looked over at him confused, only for a moment, before replying with a "sweet!" I learned my lesson that fateful sophomore day.

As it turns out, you should never take anyone at their written word.

The girl was not the cutest, and neither was her friend. We all watched 2Fast 2Furious hoping it would end none 2Soon. On our way out, it became very clear that they had not expected us to look the way we did, either. The awkward evening ended with a "Well...I'll AIM you sometime."

Vin Diesel would never have stood for a buffer seat

You see, the way we type has a drastic impact on how we're perceived. Side note: if you think this has already gotten too judgmental, you should probably stop reading, but if you do that beware...you've already been judged.

I've met plenty of girls in real life that lose a lot of credibility when they switch over to different mediums of communication. I don't care if you're a stinking rich Rhodes Scholar with the world's greatest ass, if you type with "u" instead of "you" and put 15 exclamation points and question marks after everything, sprinkled with hearts, we're just fundamentally a bit different. You're still really good looking, though.

Many of you are thinking that it's outrageous to demand that the perfect girl be more perfect, but the fact of the matter is I know there will be times when we won't be able to speak face to face and will have to text, e-mail, or Facebook one another. In that eventuality, I'd rather not start cringing.

Now I don't want to be sexist and say only women are guilty of this, because it's just not true. Many men....many, many, many men....commit similar crimes. The exclamation points are the most common occurrence between both genders. Men, however, often combine this with a needless sprinkling of capital letters. I've never seen said men literally scream at people when talking to them in person, so I have no idea what carried over online.

Inner monologue: "I hope she likes me!"

Also, while we're in the keyboard realm, let me just clarify something. Smiley faces should be used only on special occasions. A few years ago, guys realized that anytime a girl sent them a smiley, or if they were lucky enough, a winking face, in a text that it meant they were on the verge of closing the deal. In their brilliant rebuttal, they decided to do exactly the same, but way too often. Have you ever noticed that a smiley face requires you to hold down the shift key? That's a sign from the computer Gods that this will take extra effort, and therefore should be reserved, and conservatively used.

It's important to note, however, that Internet voices do have positive aspects. For instance, I've never seen anyone have low virtual self esteem. When someone's fingers are placed at "asdf-jkl;", they feel a sense of confidence in the lack of proximity with whom they are speaking. Words come out weeks earlier than if they were being said in person. That guy or girl you have a crush on? They love the fact that you type with so much purpose, sometimes even ending your sentences with a period -- just to show how f'in serious you are.

BuffStuff2k3: That's right...A whole book.

You'll also find shy people coming out of their shell. While they may be completely silent in reality, their written words are as commanding as Keen, showing others that they're total badasses after all. (2 of you will get that joke...hopefully. See the tags for answers).

So there you have my little blurb. It basically boils down to this: While you have the ability to acquire, practice, and manipulate any written voice, bare in mind its consequences. If you type like an idiot, that's what people will think you are. If you type like a cowboy, that's what people will think you are. If you type like baritone R&B singer, well, then people will just be all over your nuts.

Do the write thing,
Tapan Jones

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Gold-less Standard

I spend a lot of my life thinking about class. Not the kind where I have daily assignments and get beaten by nuns for stepping out of line, but the other kind - like Mad Men. I've never actually seen an episode of the show, but from what I gather, it's about a bunch of outrageously well dressed men with a penchant for bedding Plain Janes who look like they're gathering around the 'ole black-and-white to watch the moon landing.

It's tough to compete with the coolness that cigarettes, top shelf beverages, well parted and groomed hair, and dashing designer suits on your shoulders can bring. As the 3 wiZZe men once put it, "cause every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man."

That line of thought got me thinkin'. Gentlemen, what happened to us? We used to be able to stare ladies down into an unparalleled seduction. They used to hurl their chastity belts, then giant boxer like briefs, and eventually classy underpants at our well shaved and chiseled jaw lines. It's time for us to get back to our roots!

Let's take a look at the story arc of a gangster's wardrobe. At the turn of the century, they ushered in an era of Mobster that existed well into the 1950s. Suits were worn to every major business summit And just because. Cool suits. Bowler hat cool. It was acceptable to have a cane with you, even if you didn't suffer a lower back ailment. Those were the days, gents.

"Tell 'em not to mess with The Sometimes Boys"

Nowadays it's all sweat suits and wife beaters. Actually, I bet the guy who named it the wife beater is responsible for this decline in style. You're telling me that during an active exchange with his marriage partner that he would say, "Hold on. Just one second. I have to slip into something more comfortable"? Any wife on the planet would have beat his ass on his way over to the walk in closet - and deservedly so. I bet it was called the wife beatme, but he just wanted to seem like a hard ass to his friends.

So the sweat suits lead to a lack of showering, and eventually unnecessary accessorizing. I don't think I've ever met anybody, from any culture, at any age, at any point in time, that was wearing a gold chain who I felt I trusted.

Figure 19.70: The Transformation

The gold chain just screams a lack of taste with an emphasis on looking really greasy. You wear them because you think you're putting on a little shine for the females, but it simply doesn't go with anything. It's as out of place of the Smirnoff Ice in your hand and the toothpick behind your ear.

Where's that leave us? Gentlemen, for the biological benefit of our gender, I am issuing a call to arms....and legs, and anywhere else you wear clothing.

I'm not saying go out and buy fancy gear for all 24 hours in your day. Alls I'm saying is for your next time out, iron your shirt, give yourself a decent grooming, perhaps even manscaping, and rock clothes that make it look like you're a better dresser than Uncle Jeb from Alabama, whose 20th marriage anniversary to his wife/sister/daughter is coming up next month. (Get him something nice). That's all.

It'll be like working out. A renewed sense of self confidence and swagger will come over you like a fine summer breeze. And the women will notice. Oh my, will they notice. The irony of the situation, in fact, will lie at how much faster they want to take those very clothes off.

Follow this advice, and live a happier life. Unless of course we want to turn into this, then go for it:

Double Sexy, All the Way

Stay (so) fresh and (so) clean, clean,
Tapan Jones