At the same time, as a ridiculously accurate caricature of a light skinned chick on occasion, I am, prone to being a petty
muthafucka. For those who are unfamiliar, colorism is still very real in the black community (I didn’t say it was right, I just said it was true). And as such, there are certain privileges and expectations that come along with being on the lighter end of the skin tone spectrum. So much so that there is a plethora of meme’s poking fun at this dynamic. As with many stereotypes there’s often a grain of truth – even if that grain is a few stuck up chicks ruining it for the rest of us. That being said, perception is reality, so as expectations are laid upon us it is easy to fall accustomed to fulfilling them.
Text messaging has created an entirely new avenue for the same old tropes to play out in popular culture. The promptness, frequency, quality and timing of when we send, read and respond to text messages says a lot about our
feelings for the person with which we’re communicating. This is where iOS “Read” receipts come in. For those who are unfamiliar, if you have an iPhone you have the option of letting the sender of a text know when you’re read their message (FB messages have the same feature). Now, this can be both helpful and heartbreaking. The “Read” receipt can signal so much without the message recipient doing more than opening a text message. It speaks volumes. Tinder Era dating is wrought with game playing, a false sense of abundance and results in treating people as commodities that you can discard when you’ve used them up. Therefore we all spend a lot of time in our heads trying to determine if we’ve reached Peak Situationship and when the other shoe will drop. Sending “Read” receipts is one way to signal that without saying a word.
I was under the misperception that people could only see your “Read” receipts if they also had theirs turned on. Therefore I obliviously went about my business with the occasional (frequent) “Oh my bad, I’m just seeing this message” to folks who I knew didn’t have theirs turned on without any inclination that they actually could see that I def saw that shit 2 days ago and chose not to respond. When my homegirl alerted me to the fact, in passing, that mutual “Read” receipt activation was NOT NECESSARY for folks to see I’d read their message I was astonished! All this time I was being an asshole without even trying.
But knowledge is power, my people, so I knew what I had to do. Turn that shit into a tool of my well established light skinned pettyness. Lucky for me I had my first opportunity shortly there after: after a disagreement with a paramour, he sent me a message saying “I’m sorry.” Now, the old me would definitely not respond for awhile because fuck that guy – but the new me had a way to make the sting of neglect even sharper and more long lasting than before: I got his text, turned my “Read” receipts BACK ON, opened his text immediately, pretended to typing something (which results in the … icon showing up in the message box), deleted what I started typing and set the phone down entirely. Not only was he hit with the “Read” receipt, but the one-two-punch of the “message being typed but not actually sent” icon is some next level shit. This is a level of pettyness that our light skinned foremothers, generations of AKAs and high-saddity southern belles could only dream of reaching. Now, as a Certified “Read” Receipt Master Teacher, it is my duty to share with you what I know in hopes that one day you will carry forth the good work of being a petty muthafucka, because sometimes, the only proper way to respond to tomfoolery is with soul shattering precision of a light skinned dismissal (aka acting like a spoiled brat and treating those around you like peasants). You’re welcome.