We have all heard of Dutch courage. Urban dictionary describes it as 'Alcohol induced self-confidence'.
In our times of whatsapp, Skype and Facebook chat, there is a lot of evidence of what I would like to call (and trademark) M courage or Mobile courage.
It is not courage to carry a Nokia phone from 90s. Side bar- I have exhibited that kind of courage for the longest time in the past. Now I have graduated to a Blackberry, which in the iPhone generation, is rather courageous too.
M courage or Mobile courage is a new form of Dutch courage. It does not need any kind of alcohol. All it needs is a smart phone. And the inclination. And with great data plans, its tons cheaper than Dutch courage too!
M courage involves flirting, as incessantly and boldly as you desire, using an everyday communication object i.e.a mobile phone.
You can hide behind the screen and say, actually type, a lot of things you probably would not have the courage, to say otherwise.
The innumerable emoticons at your disposal only make it tons easier. My personal favorite is the 'wink' emoticon, as if offers you the flexibility to pretty much say whatever you want, and leave the receiver guessing whether you meant it or not. The true meaning of the message can be a mystery till you are ready or willing to reveal it. All thanks to ;)
M courage makes people bolder, at times unnecessarily so. It provides a shield one is able to hide behind. It lets you get away with a lot more than you normally can. And it provides an easy 'out'.
It has taken the charm out of flirting as you can't see that cute smile while he is asking you out on a first date. You cant decipher if he is being cheeky or just plain obnoxious when the message appears suggestive. It is tough to fathom the true intentions behind the typed words.
And what do those bloody emoticons really mean? Does a hug emoticon signify a friendly 'you are a true pal' hug or a suggestive 'I wonder if I can unhook that bra' hug? It's a conundrum.
Does the good night emoticon mean...well 'good night'? Or is it code for 'I hope to visit your dreams tonight'? The range of what you can read into the emoticons is rather varied.
M courage is a two-way street. You can use it to drive a conversation further by a cheeky message of your own. Or you can simply put a stop to it by not responding, or typing something generic, like a regular smiley face. With the variety of emoticons available today, a smiley face is the equivalent to a polite nod.
M courage comes with a very comprehensive insurance policy. You are pretty much covered for anything as long as you are hiding behind the mobile phone screen.
You want to ask someone out and wonder if they will say yes? Test the waters with M courage. Send a whatsapp with 'Hey! Long time. What's been happening?'. If you get an almost immediate response, it's a good sign. If the response is delayed by a few hours and is the bland smiley face, let it go. It's not worth wasting your mobile phone battery further. If the response is 'Good to hear from you! How have you been?"- its positive, but could be construed as just friendly. Something like "So what are the weekend plans?" Now that's a promising sign ! As it opens up avenues for further conversations.
Innocent, sweet flirting is all good. However M courage can be misused (or leveraged- it's the way you look at it) for, well putting it mildly, 'hook-ups'. Friends can turn to 'friends with benefits'. Strangers can become one night stands. Boardrooms can lead straight to bedrooms. And casual daters (is that a word?) can become lifelong lovers.
Use it wisely, use it liberally. Keep it light, easy and fun. And remember, once you feel that you would rather hear the voice and see the face, pick up the phone and make a plan to meet. Then it's time the emoticons are replaced by true emotions.
Till then, happy typing ;)