By Georgia Horrocks
My mother, Pringle and me
A weekend of analysing text messages from a middle aged man named Ian Pringle has made me consider the importance of a single word.
I should probably explain that Ian Pringle isn’t a love interest. Well, not mine, anyway. No, poor Mr Pringle has been selected by my mother as a suitable match for herself. Somehow — god knows how — she has managed to obtain his number. So it’s fallen to me to compose replies to a series of hastily screenshotted messages.
Without pictures, fonts, or any art direction at all, tone is virtually impossible to convey. Meaning can be so easily lost. One wrong word could send your mother’s potential beau running for the hills.
David Nicholls once wrote (in a rather trashy beach read), “I love you is an interesting phrase, in that apparently small alterations — taking away the I, adding a word like lots or loads — render it completely meaningless.” But the same can be said with most sentences.
That’s why composing a text to Ian Pringle is a bit like writing an SMP; no word should be left unchallenged. Swap it out for another. Rewrite it. Reorder it. Reword it.
I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to know my mother and Ian Pringle are going for coffee next week. She’s going to wear a black dress and a cardigan. It’s all, “v. exciting!!!!”