‘What are doing on your phone, hun?’
…Is usually what my husband asks me most evenings.
Immediately and rather guiltily I put down my phone
Oh, it wasn’t nothing buddy. I was baring my inner most secrets, grievances and possible sexual preferences. To my closest girlfriends. To my sisterhood of opinionated, raw and judgemental friends. I am sharing photos of my pizza dinner, my new hair colour or the excessive amount of toys I’ve bought the kids for Christmas and which I’ve secreted into the house and now stashed in my closet (it used to be black and skin tight clothes from Zara, but now I frequent a shop called The Entertainer and it’s not for adult battery operated delights).
WhatsApp is my window into the real world of all my friends. The sharing of sonograms and engagement stories. It’s where I get all that amazing news and stay up to date with these incredible women I have handpicked in my life. A space where we can vent and offload our streams of consciousness in 100 messages (or more).
Via the wonders of WhatsApp I have been informed by the bride that she is running late for her own wedding. I have been told of friends going through break ups and divorces. I have found out about addiction problems and personality problems.
I have also more joyfully celebrated baby’s first tooth coming through, amazing shopping hauls and the first night baby sleeps for more than four hours. The photos fly back and forth. I can share via videos the first steps of my closest friend’s kids, and I get the full 3D experience as I hear the squeals of the parents in the background cheering them on.
And whilst I revel in hearing the great and the big news and watching those incredible videos, a lot of my joy also comes from sharing in the day to day mundanity, because for me it is never mundane at all.
‘I managed that porridge you were raving about this morning, it’s bloody ace!’
‘Look at the dawn light on the walk to work this morning’ (with attached honeydew picture of Clapham Common at 7am)
That’s the sweet spot.
That’s friendship and real life and real sharing.
It’s basically saying,
‘I was eating this or seeing that and I thought OF YOU. You were in my thoughts and it made my newly manicured fingers press these magical buttons to send you a sweet message. You mean something to me and even though your day is going on around you and the kids are screaming in your ear about something you’ve forgotten or got wrong, I was thinking of you.’
Never underestimate the importance of that to someone.
But I am constantly correcting ‘ducking’…. because there is an awful lot of ‘ducking’ that is needed to describe my life.
And when something is genuinely exciting….. we can WRITE IN CAPITALS. You can’t do that in face to face conversations.
Sometimes we’re asking for advice (dangerous territory, you might just get honest feedback), but more often than not, just venting.
I can tap away at a speed akin to touch typing on my iPhone. I can reel off what I did to get my baby to sleep through, how long it too my pelvic floor to recover or the most annoying thing my husband said over the breakfast table (this morning it was him asking ‘tell me again what we’re doing this weekend?’ I’M NOT THE FAMILY PA.) Side note; I most certainly am the (resentful and under appreciated) family PA.
Sometimes I get into such a debate that the WhatsApp conversation will roll on delightfully for hours. Especially good if there’s a variety of participants and then I get to check in every now and then and exclaim ‘What??!’ or ‘Have you seen they’ve released next series of The Crown?’
Yes, I know we don’t pick up the phone like we did, and we sure as hell don’t see each other face to face like we used to. But thank God for WhatsApp and the fact that you can’t recall a message once you’ve hit ‘Send’.
And when a husband or boyfriend goes rogue…..we hunt his ass down on WhatsApp.
And very occasionally I’ll use WhatsApp to apologise to my husband. Most recently I engaged in an excessively vitriolic outburst about when his garden office was ‘actually’ (note my tone of disbelief), going to be ready. Once I’d had a coffee (a croissant, a quick look around Zara, a few feisty messages on WhatsApp to friends explaining my annoyance)…. and calmed down. I might have then realised that a leaking roof and the fact I didn’t sleep well last night was absolutely not his responsibility or fault. I started to feel the familiar heavy weight of sleep deprived shame.
I open Whatsapp
‘Sorry about this morning’.
Select bottom left.
Emojis – in my opinion solely reserved for girl-chat and teenagers suddenly find their place in my marriage. I need to convey sincerity and love for him.
‘I *solid red heart emoji* you’
Fluttering pink heart symbol, fluttering pink heart symbol, purple aubergine.