What Are You Doing Now? A Virtual Yet Inescapable Drama

Life was great for men back when landlines were the only means of immediate, distant communication.

Your girlfriend called and you didn’t pick up the phone? You were away somewhere, no big deal. Back then you could take a whole day to return a call and she wouldn’t even think of being angry about the delay. You had many plausible, perfectly reasonable excuses at your disposal.

Now it’s instant communication everywhere, all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge geek and I’m glad I was born in time to live through the ongoing digital/mobile revolution. I enjoy it even more in Vietnam, where mobile use is widespread, 4G networks are cheap and strong (on non-shark-eating-overseas-cable days), and almost no content is censored. The Vietnamese love mobile tech so much, they make iPhone flip-flops and Apple bedsheets!

But like any human progress, mobile technology brought its share of social problems. One among many others is the advent of Virtual Drama. Something that could never have existed just 10 years ago, and is now practiced religiously by Vietnamese girls.

Virtual Drama is virtual both in form and substance, in the sense that it takes place online, and that it doesn’t make any fucking sense.

Virtual Drama typically unfolds as follows:
  1. Your woman sleeps over at your place on a given night. In the morning you leave for work or whatever activity a strong independent man such as yourself deems worth his time. You arrange another date with her the evening after tomorrow. A kiss and you part ways.
  2. Only a few hours later she starts messaging inconsequential crap (Do you still like me?), or that Vietnam-exclusive gem of uselessness, “What are you doing now?”
  3. Being a man of experience with ladies, you know you should reply with an equally useless message to keep things cool. Because, you know, you’re a man so you like things to be cool.
  4. Her being a woman, she craves drama as plants crave sunlight, and so the conversation quickly takes a sour turn. Could be something you said. Could be how long you took to reply or “see” her message. Anything works, really. It doesn’t matter as long as there is drama.
  5. The shit goes on for hours and hours and up until the next day. She won’t let you off the hook. She’s this close to break up with you altogether (then comes that other Vietnam-exclusive gem: “I hate you, I will never see you again – Em ghết anh, em không sẽ gặp anh nữa”). Whatever you say, or how smart a negociator you think you are, doesn’t make any difference whatsoever at this point.
  6. A whole 24 hours goes by like this. Nothing you say seems to alleviate her resentment. And there’s only a few hours left until your next scheduled date. You’re starting to think you won’t fuck tonight after all.
  7. Suddenly the conversation cools off and becomes all sweet again. Not that you both came to an agreement of any sort. She just suddenly drops the whole issue.
  8. You meet her for the next date and it’s like nothing ever happened.

I’m not giving any real-life example here, not only that I don’t want to be too specific as to lose relatability, but also because, again, whatever you say doesn’t matter. It’s like trying to reason with someone high on drugs (hers being Drama). You won’t be able to control the flow of Virtual Drama; She’s the playwright all along, and only she decides when and how the drama unfolds.

I’ve tried many counter-offensive strategies and none of them worked to date (if you have a good one please share!).

I tried saying up front I’m not someone who likes texting. See you tomorrow. Have a good day. I also tried not replying at all. Ignoring the whole thing. To no avail. She will only up the ante and you will end up not fucking, without really knowing why all this happened.

Perhaps you think you’re clever and come up with a bombshell argument. The message that will end all messages. An implacable truth, born out of sheer logic. Well, think again. She will then use the oldest trick of Vietnamese girls with Western men: the lost translation. Just when you thought you had her cornered, suddenly she answers off-topic and/or reverts to pidgin, nonsensical English.

You would think speaking Vietnamese is a good way to get around that one, but you’d be wrong, because substance is beyond the point. The point is not to argue about anything at all.

The point is to keep you focused. In marketing they call this “staying top-of-mind”. It’s about ensuring consumers will think of you first and foremost when they’re ready to make a purchase.

However adept you are at multitasking, there’s no way you can fully free up your mind for other pursuits when the girl you thought you had secured starts giving you shit. Whether you’re at work dealing with real-world problems, or busy texting other girls, Virtual Drama slowly crawls into your system like cancer, swallows up your whole attention, hijacks your mind for days and nights, and stubbornly refuses to go away. And that’s the whole point of it.

When all is over, Virtual Drama never actually happened; it occurred exclusively online, within the span of time you both were apart and supposed to just wait for the next date. But it felt like you never were apart the whole time. In that sense it did its job.

A man’s attention is to a woman what a woman’s cleavage is to a man. They just can’t get enough, but if you give them too much then you lose value. The only sensible way to not give in is to spin plates, i.e. keep several women at hand. It’s a give-and-take, though: you’ll get more sex, and also more virtual drama.

Pictured: A woman enjoying drama by the pool.

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