2. The breakup playlist: Sexts and smiley faces




1. The breakup playlist: Shyness

3. The breakup playlist: Man

4. The breakup playlist: Shuffle

Nothing I like more than some clever, steamy digital communication. After all, I love words. And I love sex. Two great tastes that taste great together.

We were good in bed together. He was generous, took charge. But wonderful sex is not just the lay. It is the sensuality of the cocktail and dinner beforehand, the flirting and touch across the table. Sexuality is the intellectual intimacy of shared observations throughout the day, the electric anticipation buzzing across your skin between meetings, memories of touch seeping out your pores. The knowing he is thinking of you as you are thinking of him.

A month or two in, I sent him a little somethin’. Maybe it was in my iPhone camera’s ‘noir’ filter. I may or may not have been wearing a blouse.

His reply, in its entirety:

heart emoji

emoji happy surprised emoji





I talked myself out of my disappointment. After all, the relationship was new. Not everyone is easy with the words — I’m a professional writer for crying out loud!  That’s understandably intimidating. In life, I’m trying to practice patience and empathy. I would wait, and I would try again.

I tried again, this time with explicitly dictated plans for what I might do to him. Or let him do to me. Before I’d thumb-type I’d be quiet. Think through was it was that I wanted. How he made me feel. And I’d write from that very place. The soft place. The adult and ancient and private place. And I shared it with him. From my tiny screen held in my hands I’d send those thoughts and feelings across the magical airwaves into space an down again and land them in his tiny, tiny screen. Into his hands and eyes and mind and body.

Again, my iPhone message screen was a blur of yellow dots. Smiley, silly, googley-eyed faces of all kinds, doing any number of goofy things.

My heart sank. I thought I might cry.

One day not long after my last ill-fated attempt to seduce or excite or connect with him, my first-grade daughter came home from school. As I do each day I opened her pink, flowery backpack and retrieved the purple plastic two-sided folder and examined the worksheets, corrected by her teacher.

And there it was: A white paper full of subtraction exercises, which she apparently completed in perfection in her first-grade scrawl. Apparently, because at the top was the universal symbol of innocent, innocuous approval:

emoji happy





I decided there were things I couldn’t share. Not yet, anyway. Maybe it was too soon. Maybe he was too shy.




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