An Open Letter to a Guy Who May or May Not Be Named Dan, Regarding Our Recent Text Message Exchange

Dear Dan,

Dan's hand has been pixelated to preserve his privacy.

I hope you don’t mind if I call you Dan – your first text was “hey this is dan”, so I’m guessing that’s your name. And I’m sorry I didn’t respond right away, but I just kind of assumed you’d somehow magically realize it was a wrong number. I was wrong.

Your second message took me by surprise. As a general rule, I don’t welcome unsolicited photographs of strange men’s body parts, but I wasn’t offended at all by yours. That’s probably because the body part in question was your hand, it was next to a package of felt-tip pens, and the accompanying text was “these are the biggest sharpies they have. will they work or u want bigger?”. Sure, someone with a junior-high mentality could interpret “or u want bigger?” as some sort of crude innuendo, but I don’t think you meant it that way.

I’m not sure why I responded the way I did. I’m sorry. I just wrote the first thing that came to mind. “I don’t know anyone named Dan” was a lie, and a pretty transparent one at that. Of course I know people named Dan. Dan is a very common name. But all the Dans I know are either distant acquaintances or friends I’ve drifted away from over the years; I can’t think of a single Dan that I’m on Sharpie-buying terms with. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m on unconditional Sharpie-buying terms with anyone. There are people who’d buy me Sharpies if they happened to be going to the store anyway, but I can’t think of anyone I could call at 3am to run out and buy me Sharpies immediately, no questions asked. They’d all ask questions, Dan. Questions like “Do you know what time it is?” or “Can’t it wait until morning?” or “Did you say Sharpies?”. What’s wrong with me, Dan? Why do I fail to inspire that kind of loyalty and trust? Is it because my text messages are filled with lies and half-truths?

Speaking of which, you’ve probably figured out by now that “and I don’t need any Sharpies” wasn’t entirely true. Of course I need Sharpies, Dan. Everyone needs Sharpies. But I currently have more than enough Sharpies to get me through the next several months. It wasn’t a lie, really, as much as an oversimplification – but I admit it was misleading, and for that, I apologize.

About the “LOL”: I wasn’t laughing at you; I was laughing with you, or at the very least inviting you to laugh with me. I would never laugh at you, Dan. You seem like a genuinely nice guy, going out and buying Sharpies for someone, even willing try a different store if the Sharpies at the first store are unsuitable. And you were thoughtful enough to put some effort into composing the photo: most people would have taken a picture of the Sharpies by themselves, but you incorporated your hand into the scene to provide a sense of scale. Well done, Dan.

I feel like I know so much about you, just from that picture. You’re right-handed, which is something we have in common. The four fingers in the photo are pretty unremarkable, honestly, but I have to wonder why your thumb isn’t visible. Is your left thumb missing or somehow disfigured? There’s no shame in that. You should never be embarrassed by your thumb, Dan, unless of course you have a horribly offensive thumb tattoo. But I’m sure you wouldn’t have something like that.

Or would you? I mean, what exactly were you going to do with those Sharpies, anyway? I’d assumed it was for an art project, or to label food going into the office fridge, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe you belong to some awful hate group, and you were buying Sharpies to make signs for a rally. It all makes sense now – you have some vile hate-filled slogan tattooed on your thumb, don’t you? That’s disgusting.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Dan. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know you at all.


33 thoughts on “An Open Letter to a Guy Who May or May Not Be Named Dan, Regarding Our Recent Text Message Exchange

  1. Very awkward. But that is a sexy hand. Maybe the sharpies were for making murals in the library when the librarians aren’t looking?

    Good response. Much more tactful that I would have handled it. ;)

    1. Okay, I had to look this up. I had no idea there’d been so much research on finger length ratios. One thing that I saw mentioned, though, is that all these studies looked at people’s right hands, because they said there was more variation in finger length in left hands. And this picture is of Dan’s left hand.

  2. It’s shocking, Laura, the amount of different ways sales people try to get you to part with your money. I’d be surprised if his name was Dan, and if Sharpies were the only things he wanted to show you. I think you responded in the correct manner!

  3. You’re funny. Was it really 3 in the morning? My index finger is a smidge longer than my hideously empty ring finger, depending on which direction I point my hand. Really freaky is when the little piggie that stayed home is longer than the little piggie that went to market. I added you to my favorites menu, but haven’t subscribed yet; that’s too much commitment for a Sunday morning. I used to have to buy tampons for my ex when I was married, at odd hours. That didn’t bother me, since, I imagined, a person could run out at the end of last month’s “visit”, and forget, but having to run out and buy her cigarettes, an addiction that she had every day and should have planned for, that was a little much. (Not what split us up, but I don’t miss it, that’s for sure) I’d rather buy Sharpies for a stranger.

    1. It was early afternoon here, but it was 3am in parts of Asia, and for all I know, Dan could have been calling from there.

      The obvious explanation for your ex’s behavior is that she was planning to get pregnant. If she did, she wouldn’t need tampons for a while, and she’d also want to quit smoking (which, I presume, she kept trying to do, and then sent you for cigarettes when she failed). Or else she just wanted a pretext to get you out of the house for a while. Oh! I just remembered — I don’t know you. If your breakup was recent and painful, don’t read this paragraph.

      1. That breakup was way long ago and amicable. She did want to have a baby with me, but never told me (it had to be my idea, I guess); then I fathered a sweet little girl later with a woman who I had dated for 3 weeks. I get to see my daughter several times a week and rarely have to see that woman, so that’s cool. I did not meet her by getting a wrong number. My parents used to have a number that was one digit off from a local radio station, so my dear old mom got a call at midnight one night to “Play me some Stones, man!” She didn’t have any Stones, though, so they were out of luck.

  4. Dan seems like a reasonably nice guy. You should have let him buy you the Sharpies, and see how it went from there. It could have been the start of something beautiful. Or at least colorful.

  5. Hilarious!
    Reminds me of the random voice-mails I always seem to get.
    One informed me that ‘they’ were leaving for the day and were done with the porta-potty, which would be left outside the gate for me to pick up’.

    1. My old work number was apparently similar to the number people could call to make low-cost dental appointments at a dental school. People wouldn’t believe me when I told them they had the wrong number — apparently, they thought it was more believable that I was a lazy and deceitful dental school receptionist lying in order to avoid the work of scheduling appointments.

      I got voicemail messages for the dental school, too. I even changed my voicemail greeting to explain the situation and give out the dental school’s real phone number, but I still got messages from people wanting to schedule appointments.

  6. i loved this post. been thinking about the writing for a few days now. it made me laugh and that is wonderful….hope i can do the same for you sometime!!!! great!!!!

  7. One of my favorite posts of the year! Okay, so it’s only the second day of the year, but let’s say we’re counting the past 12 months… one of my favorite posts.

  8. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that
    I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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