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An important historical document
With no current events to speak of, I thought I’d treat you to a little trip down memory lane. Specifically, we’re going all the way back to 2010, to a Gchat so stupendous that I emailed it to myself 6 years after the fact to ensure I’d always have access to it. (And it’s a good thing I did because now Gmail doesn’t let you see your old Gchats!) Some of you were there for this conversation; some of you have only heard its lore.
All email and Gchat transcripts that follow have not been edited (aside from removing his name), so please enjoy my voiceover via the footnotes.
Thursday, February 11, 2010 - approximately 7:40pm
It was a dark, cold evening during my sophomore year at The University of Michigan. For some ungodly reason, I had a midterm at 8pm on a Thursday. It was around 7:40pm and I was at my dorm, checking my email (and likely Gchatting with a few friends) before heading out to take my exam. All of a sudden, someone new signed on—someone I’d never seen on Gchat before.
In the second half of my freshman year, I applied to write for The Michigan Every Three Weekly, the satirical, sporadic step-cousin of the The Michigan Daily. The E3W’s slogan remains “Better than sex, twice as often”—which I found delightful even though I was still years away from having sex.
I submitted a few sample articles, which I doubt were even that funny. And yet, somehow, I received this email a few weeks later during Spring Break:
You äre right aböut that, Emily.1 Maybe it's the Swedish liquör
talking, but sure, you cån join ståff. We will häve to work on your
style some but I think yöu get the general idea. I will email you
after breåk when back in the country with details on höw to proceed.
Oh and one more thing. Quit appearing in the Michigån Daily if you
want to remain on staff, Emily Lucille Grubman.
Tack så mycket,
I had been unenthusiastically accepted into my dream extracurricular!! Not only would this be a fun way to round out my resume, but it also meant I’d be allowed to occasionally breathe the same air as Him.
At the helm of the E3W was an intimidatingly wry Editor in Chief who had thick brown hair, blue (or green?) eyes, the jawline of a god, and just enough of a teeth gap to convince me that he was indeed mortal. He was smart, sarcastic, and obnoxiously good-looking. Meanwhile, I was battling bacne and rarely getting published. He was two years older than me and so far out of my league that I didn’t even bother to pine for him. (Instead, I chose to cling to a toxic relationship with someone much more… average-looking.) We were friendly, but not exactly friends; we were basically coworkers. Over the one and a half semesters we spent on staff together, we interacted at meetings, work sessions, and the occasional party, but it was always, well, as “professional” as a college humor publication can be.
Then, at the end of the Fall 2009 semester, he abruptly stepped down as Editor in Chief. As an example of our ever-so-slightly-more-than-acquaintance-ship, here’s my response to his resignation announcement email:
Me: This is tragic! you'll be missed.
Hot Editor: Thanks, Emily, I appreciate it.
Now, back to the story…
Thursday, February 11, 2010 - 7:41pm
For the first time in my never-not-Gchatting life, my Hot Editor was online. Now that he was no longer on the paper, we no longer had an excuse to interact. I had never seen him online before, and didn’t know if I’d ever see him online again. This was my one golden opportunity to… flirt the only way I knew how?
Having come of age on AIM (the locus of the entirety of my 7th grade “relationship”), dating apps allowed me to flex the only flirting skill I ever developed: strategically deploying witty banter from behind the eye-contact-free safety of a screen.
I had to say something! But the clock was ticking; I couldn’t be late for my exam. I also couldn’t let this chance pass me by. Say something, Emily. Something funny, ideally. Something he needs to respond to. But what? Tick tock, must leave now, hurry up! I didn’t have time to overthink it; I threw caution to the wind and said the first thing that popped into my head:
Me: be my valentine? ;)2
Hot Editor: grubman!
HE: err, uh, wull?
I didn’t have time to elaborate—I had an Econ midterm to get to! I closed my laptop and tried to refocus my mind as I ran to the exam room. I couldn’t let my elation over the fact that he’d technically said yes crowd out all the studying I’d recently crammed in.
Four hours later…
Friday, February 12, 2010 - approximately 12:45am
After my midterm, I was mentally (and emotionally) depleted. I went back to my dorm, probably ate a snack, and eventually found my way back into the social scene that was Gchat. I was both exhausted and high on adrenaline when I saw him online and resumed our “conversation.”
sorry i left so abruptly earlier.
I had an exam to get to.
HE: you can't just play with people's hearts like that! Not on gchat!
also, you have exams at night?
they're super fun
econ 401 weeee
sorry bout playing with your heart, too
HE: got lost in the game
oh baby, baby3
Me: I always seem to be doing that...oops
HE: so what's up Emily
what's your story?
Yo: not too much is up. just living life
what is YOUR story?4
HE: Just living out the twilight of my retirement
oh and dodgeball
and puerto rico for spring break, most vitally
Me: well shoot, it sounds like you've finally made it
puerto rico, dodgeball
HE: too5 see them together in print like that, it just really hits you. this is the life
Me: you're an inspiration, [his name]
HE: Yes, I hope to inspire many young Puerto Ricans in my seven days on the island.
We're going to smoke in a tropical rain forest
Me: so jealous. I'll just be smoking on the dirty streets of NYC6
HE: I could never go there--too many Puerto Ricans7
that'll be fun though; I hear it takes upwards of 2-3 days to see the whole city though
Me: yeah I'm not what we'll be doing exactly
'twill be an adventure
umm i think imeant to say sure in that sentence somewhere
probably after not
HE: i was hoping so
Me: merely typing back and forth with you is causing me to catch your contagious typo-ness8
HE: i was in two spelling bees! it was the indesign. The INDESIGN!
Me: whatever you say, darling9
HE: do you still do that? copy editing?
Me: well i should be.... but they didn't exactly contact me for this last issue
HE: i figured
HE: they took me off all the email lists
how does it feel?
HE: i get a lot less email
Me: that's a feeling
Me: wait... was this not a voluntary retirement?
HE: it was quite voluntary
Me: or it was voluntary, but now everyone hates you?
HE: it was voluntary, people were caught off guard, several of said pople were resentful, i seldom talk to said people now. I don't think everyone hates me. That would be pretty unfounded
yeah, like I don't "hate" you
HE: i alway suspected you didn't, but it's nice to know for sure
actually, when I first joined I thought you hated me
Me: I'm not sure exactly..
I just got that vibe
maybe you didnt smile enough
HE: it was a very serious job
is that why no one ever spoke? they all thought i hated them? I assumed it was because they didn't have anything funny to say.
Me: I think the latter. I know I didn't want to say anything un-funny, for fear of no laughter
HE: i hated those meetings so much
*4-minute intermission because my computer crashed or something. Probably due to too much Megavideo streaming*
Me: oops again. that one was the computer's fault. not me
yeah, those meetings weren't the greatest
although i'm sure it was worse in your position
HE: oh much
the hardest part
HE: is when someone would say something unfunny or maybe even marginally funny, and i'd have to react publicly
give my impression of the feasability of the joke
you were like God on judgment day
but to a lesser, more secular degree
HE: yeah somewhat less
HE: so what's this be my valentine stuff you'v been throwing around? That emoticon was a real attention getter13
Me: good. cuz I prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate14, and if flowers are involved, no preference
HE: should these be sent to East Quadrangle?15
Me: well, I just assumed you'd bring them with you on our romantic date16
HE: right, right, the date
which it's sounding like it isn't going to be at East Quad dining hall...
Me: I've been on a lot of romantic dates in the EQ Cafeteria17
HE: i bet i know how those ended.
Me: with sprinkles..
let me just change my shorts18
Me: nice, I've already got you out of your pants19
HE: my screen is fogged up right now, this is ridiculous
so emily, you pulling some schtick or are we going on this date?20
Me: i guess we're going on this date21
HE: don't be upset if it's very similar to 'my roommate is a spider'22
Me: in what way?
spider-roommate? I promise I won't kill it23
HE: oh god no, i was just referring to a dorm room and lost dvds. the spider is incidental to the comparison, really
Me: haha ok
cuz yeah, I would've killed it
HE: well right
so you should probably tell me what your cellular telephone number is or something24
what is that like so cal
Me: you know it
HE: wow, my contact list has just been classed up
Me: yeah, and then I get a fun Minnesota one.
HE: that's funny, i don't recall ever telling anyone where i was from
Me: well you don't have a facebook26, so trust me, you told me
HE: yeah that's about the first thing i tell anyone
god knows why
in any case, who needs facebook with google buzz on the scene?27
i even put a picture up
doyou know how big of a step that is?
Me: I can imagine
did you have any trouble with that?
HE: well i had to wade through a lot of folders of sexy pics
so there was the timefactor
Me: yup, i can still imagine28
Me: okidokes, sounds good
HE: well put
And just like that, I scored a date—for Valentine’s Day, no less—with what I considered at the time to be: The Perfect Man.
I think the reason I seem so aloof during this hour-long conversation is because I was trying so hard to play it cool. But in reality, I was probably sweating my pits off, trying to craft the perfect response to everything he said so that he’d just keep talking to me. And it worked! I’m sure I immediately texted ALL of my friends before drifting off into an elated, horny slumber.
For some reason, this 14-year-old email thread doesn’t show my sent emails, so I’m unsure what the first sentence is responding to.
Allow me to dissect the beautiful strategy behind this: 1) Valentine’s Day was 3 days away, providing the perfect “excuse” to casually ask someone out without really asking them out. 2) Valentine’s Day was also largely scorned, so, if denied, it would be easy for me to claim that I was merely making a timely joke. 3) The winky face is key! Am I flirting, or joking? Serious, or sarcastic?
Either way, I’ve expressed romantic interest without exposing myself to the risk of humiliating rejection that comes with obvious sincerity (aka vulnerability). However he chose to respond, my ego and I would be safe.
In the off chance someone from Gen Z or younger ever reads this, we are referencing Britney Spears’s turn-of-the-century hit “Oops!… I Did It Again.”
Oh the deflection. smh!
As a ruthless copy editor of the E3W, I definitely clocked this. However, I couldn’t risk cockblocking myself by correcting his spelling “outside of the office.” I needed him to know I was cool and chill!
Just to be clear, we are talking about weed and only weed.
Hahahaaaa (are you starting to see why I was obsessed?)
Negging aside, I’m truly bummed I couldn’t come up with anything better than “typo-ness.” (Typoid was sitting right there!) But it was late and I had just wrung my brain dry for that Econ 401 midterm, so I wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.
‘Darling’ = flirting.
I can guarantee you I had to look up what ‘acrimonious’ meant.
There was a mostly-one-sided rivalry between The Daily and The E3W, which played out in occasional flag football matches. I think the humor magazine The Gargoyle was also involved—but nobody gave a fuck about them.
According to the time stamps, we spent about 30 minutes totally ignoring my Valentine’s proposal (fine by me!). But after just a 5-minute lull in the conversation, he brought it all back. It seems he might actually be interested!
Ugh, you low-class fool.
Sadly, I was probably referring to all the times I ate dinner with my Asshole ex and his friends.
LOL this still cracks me up.
For a virgin who’d only ever seen one penis thus far, I talked some big game.
In the 3 minutes it took for him to send this, I was most definitely racking my brain for a sexy retort to his screen being fogged up. By cutting the crap and asking if I was serious about going out, he saved me from saying something stupid.
Kinda wish I used ANY emoji—although, we only had emoticons back then—to convey at least a fraction of how FREAKING EXCITED I was.
So, I fully forgot about “My Roommate is a Spider” until re-reading this. The E3W would occasionally write and film “funny” videos that appeared on… our website, I suppose? Anyways, I had been the lead actress (lol) in “My Roommate is a Spider,” a sketch about a guy inviting a girl back to his dorm room, only to reveal that his roommate is a human-sized spider. I feel like Hot Editor was the writer or director of said sketch? I dunno, I assume I blocked out this memory due to sheer embarrassment.
Now I’m wondering if the sketch ended with me murdering the spider/roommate…
HUGE milestone. Also, “cellular telephone number” reminds me how big of a nerd he was—and how that only made him hotter.
More negging—shame on me!
Because he was too wise and cool and hot for Facebook—unlike me.
I think I’m still trying to deliver sexy innuendo, but it’s not landing at all. Give it up, girl!
If you’ve been paying attention to the time stamps, it’s 2am and we’ve been Gchatting for over an hour. Nothing could pull me away from our digital sexual tension! (In fact, knowing when to exit a potentially flirty interaction is something I’m still working on.)
Not a text, a CALL! Swoon swoon swoon swoon swooooon.
Sigh, I’m in love.