I am remembering the days of waiting anxiously for the new guy I met to call. Remembering my anxiety, my hope, and my stupidity.
Some guys knew when they were asking for the number that they weren’t going to call, ever. They were the collectors of numbers of women. Acquisition was the point to them. Some might pursue me over a course of weeks or months to get the number and still never call once they got it. I was a nut they were proud to crack finally with persistence.
Other guys left the club or meeting or whatever other place we’d met, actually planning to call me until they got home and the reality that they were married or living with someone made them decide it wasn’t such a good idea to call after all. (Ya think?)
A few guys never had to actually make the call because, in my anxiousness, my hopefulness, my naiveté, I thought we’d connected so deeply that I wouldn’t wait on them, I would get things started by calling a day or two after the initial meeting. This rarely worked out. I tried the tactic of waiting a week or two before making a call. That didn’t work out either. They would have called if they were interested. Sometimes my jumping the gun made me seem desperate or pushy, both decided turn-offs.
In my most active dating years, I always made a point to exchange numbers thinking that this would prove that a man was uninvolved. He wouldn’t give me his home number if he were involved, would he? Wrong! While a few showed their hand by only providing the work digits, a few also gave home numbers in those days before cell phones. I hung up on more than one woman who answered the phone….wait a minute, maybe I hung up on someone’s mother! Nah, I don’t think so. Thank goodness, there was no caller-ID to track my number back in the day. Some guys had no shame at all.
Once cell phones got on the scene, having a number meant that there was no more screening device, as imperfect as it was. A guy could be married or marginal – you wouldn’t know that because he gave you a working number with whatever message he put on it. (A couple of girlfriends/wives got hold of me when they snooped through the guy’s phone directory and recent messages but mostly, the cell phone kept the guy’s true status unknown at least in the initial stage.)
After a few years of experiences and a decent bit of angst, I finally learned that guys will call or they won’t. It’s just that simple. If they are interested they will call within about seven days. If they don’t call by then, they usually aren’t interested. Oh and they:
- haven’t been in a bad accident or
- had a heart attack or
- any other stupid story I may have thought up to explain why, when he seemed so interested and we connected so deeply, they didn’t call.)
My goodness, I was a pitiful so-and-so. I learned that there’s only so deep a connection most of us really make in two or three hours of dancing and alcohol-fueled conversation. And they won’t start calling you even if they are polite when you call them first. I stopped calling guys after a while until they had established a pattern of calling during which time I had established whether I was truly interested in them or not.
I never gave guys the wrong number. That just didn’t seem right to me. Better to tell the guy you just weren’t interested especially in a city as small as Boston where you were sure to run into the guy soon after you’d played him. (This happened to me and my friend, D, when we ran into a guy she’d flirted with the night before but gave the wrong number. He was at the Museum of Fine Arts at the same time we were there. It was pretty funny and mortifying, for her, at the same time.)
Now married, I am no longer dating or giving my number out to potential dates, no longer waiting by the phone for a call, no longer wondering what soon means as in he said he’d call soon. As a woman, I thought soon meant the next day if not that very same night. As a man, soon meant within the next seven days if at all.
Mostly, it was a bunch of wrong numbers until it was the right one.