Ever since my very earliest days of drinking, I have been a drunk texter. Initially, my texts were barely legible strings of letters that even I could not decipher the next day. I would only text one of the four close friends I had in high school, trying to tell them how much I loved them. As my drinking abilities matured, so too did my ability to send texts that were, for the most part, composed of real words. And under the influence of college hookup culture more than anything, I now find myself only texting guys I want to sleep with.
This issue is not an uncommon one. Almost every person I know in college has drunk texted an ex, a past hookup, or a random Tinder match something they wished they had not. Anyone reading this has probably sent, and received, this type of message. Besides quarter cards on Ho, this is the most regular type of spam at Cornell. But I believe there are quite a few benefits too often overlooked, solong as you follow a few rules.
Like BDSM, there are two cardinal rules of positive drunk texting: set limits and respect the limits of others. If you know that drunk texting your ex will send you into an emotional tailspin when you are sober, block them on Messenger, delete their number and their conversations in your message inbox. Take similar precautions if someone has said they do not want to talk to you anymore. And obviously, never send unsolicited pictures. Like all other low-risk behaviors, drunk texting only yields positive outcomes when practiced in moderation.
Assuming you follow the above guidelines, the negatives associated with drunk texting are quite minimal ego bruises. The most likely scenario involves the recipient ignoring you. But this is a risk associated with texting regardless of your level of intoxication. Being drunk gives you a great excuse that sobriety cannot. You can say “I’m sorry, I was drunk,” or “Sorry, I was drunk and thought this was someone else’s number.” There are so many options to mitigate the embarrassment of rejection. If it was not clear, these are reasons to drunk text a crush, not drunk email a professor or drunk apply to a job. It is much harder to email the next morning to fix the well-crafted, now-ruined, image your professor had of you.
Beyond curbing minor embarrassment, there are much larger benefits to drunk texting. The most obvious of these is the ability to put yourself out there. A friend has been acting weird? Ask what’s going on, though I would not recommend fighting via drunk texting. Sometimes you just need the courage to start the conversation and then actually deal with it in the morning. This principle applies even better to honest communication with guys for sex. If I had not drunk texted a guy during Halloween freshman year, I would not have started a two-year long hookup. And that relationship would not have lasted if for the first six months I was not able to text him when I was frustrated without feeling embarrassed.
The way to maximize this growth is to text whenever you’re drunk and you want to, as long as you are playing within the rules. And it does not have to be just “Hey” or “Are you up? “ but “Do you want to have sex in the woods? “ Or if you’re consistently hooking up with someone but you want to actually date them, drunk-you has the courage to say “Do you want to go to CTP with me right now?” It might be 1:30 a.m. after Level B fishbowls, but it’s a step in the right direction.
If going after what you actually want is like riding a bike, then drunk texts are the training wheels. They’re the push you need to be more open and uninhibited while still confined to limited-risk opportunities. There will be a time in your life when you are no longer able to respectably drunk text. My mom drunk texts me to tell me she loves me, but I guess she never got the opportunity to do so when she was in college. Take the chance this weekend, while you still can, and see what it gets you.
The Uptight Tart is a student at Cornell University. Sex on Thursdays appears alternate Thursdays this semester.