The following extract is from Kayleen Schaefer’s book, Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship.
Text me when you get home. Usually it’s late when women say this to each other, the end of a night that at some point felt thrilling. We might have been at dinner, a concert, or a cocktail bar. We might have been just hanging out talking even though we knew we’d be tired the next day. Maybe we shared secrets or surprise compliments (or both). Maybe we danced. Maybe we hugged with total joy. Maybe we were buoyed by booze or maybe we just felt light because of our love for each other.
My best friend, Ruthie, who lives a few blocks from me in Brooklyn, and I say it to each other after these kinds of nights. “I love you,” one of us will say. “Text me when you get home,” the other will say. We’re saying the same thing.
LISTEN: Kayleen Schaefer talks to Mia about her book, Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship. Post continues after audio.
I hear it on the street sometimes, like the other night when I passed a woman walking away from her group of girlfriends and into a rowdy crowd. “Text me when you get home,” one of her friends called after her. I hear it on television, too, on the HBO show Insecure, which is more about the star, Issa (Issa Rae), and her best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji), than anything else.
Men do not tell their friends to text them when they get home. Some guy somewhere must have been worried about his buddy finding his way back okay at the end of a night, but he probably just said, “Get home safe,” or didn’t say anything at all.
This is because women who say, “Text me when you get home,” aren’t just asking for reassurance that you’ve made it to your bed unharmed. It’s not only about safety. It’s about solidarity. It’s about us knowing how unsettling it can feel when you’ve been surrounded by friends and then are suddenly by yourself again. It’s about us understanding that women who are alone get unwanted attention and scrutiny. Should I hold my keys in my hand? Why is this driver talking so much? Is this guy following me? Am I too drunk? Is that guy who just said, “Hey, gorgeous,” going to say anything else? My place feels so empty.