One of the questions at Seraphapalooza concerned the the guy who keeps contacting a girl--with texts, emails, maybe even phone calls--but never asks her out.
And here is where the techno-generation gap opens before my feet because I have never encountered this problem myself. Men and women of my generation pick up telephone receivers, push buttons or dial a wheel, and talk. When we were teenagers, that was what we had, and so that is what we know how to do.
Sure, in the 80s and 90s, men could write letters, but they rarely did. Postal delivery in my town was such that it would be very eccentric and risky to ask a girl out by letter, and only a complete weirdo would write "What's up?" on a postcard and pay 40 cents for the privilege of posting it to a girl.
But times have changed and no longer do men have to actually pick up a phone, push buttons and talk to a real live girl through the receiver. They can send endless little notes that many a girl feels she is expected to answer almost at once. Back in the days of verbal phoning, a man might find himself talking to an answering machine instead, and as he would assume the woman was out, she could reply at her leisure. Calling three times or more in rapid succession was socially unacceptable and made a guy look like a lunatic.
Those were the days! And sometimes I remember that I am a member of that generation and just throw aside computer and mobile phone, grab the house phone and just call somebody up. I do this especially when I have a question and I need the answer now.
I happen to know how difficult it is to call the apple of one's eye and ask it out on a date because I have occasionally done that, back in the days before I realized how pointless it is to ask men out on first or second dates. And therefore I do not have loads of sympathy for men who are too timid to call women up and ask them out although I understand that they have been coddled and protected from the scary, scary challenge by texting.
One of the difficulties about the guy who keeps contacting but never asks out is that a girl gets neither the chance to reject or to accept his advances. Possibly that's the whole point. Maybe some guys who just like to hang around getting a buzz from proximity to a girl without having either to go away or to commit to an actual evening out together. And if you suspect a guy is like this, you might want to consider telling him to buzz off.
Here is a magical phrase: "Well, and what can I do for you today/this evening?" In the days of rotary phones, it was assumed that when a man called a woman, he called not to chat like one of her woman friends but for some purpose, for some business-like task. The phrase "Well, and what can I do for you today?" was a polite way of asking, "Why did you call?"
I recommend, then, that if a guy sends you short texts saying things like "Whtsup" that you reply with "?" In short, derail pointless texting and thus force male interlocutors into actually having a reason to contact you. If you don't actually like the guy who keeps sending you texts, text back "Very busy 2day."
Do remember that your social time is your own and you do not have to lavish it on anyone upon whom you do not want to lavish it. There are time-tested and true ways of telling men to get to the point or to buzz off, should you want them to buzz off. "And what can I do for you today?" said with a smile or a :-) leaves the door open to a guy asking you out. "Pardon me, Scooter, I'm really busy right now" tells Scooter to buzz right off. Indeed, he will recognize this expression from the primary female in his life, his mother.
I would be particularly grateful today for the suggestions of readers with well-honed text management skills.
By the way, I thought this article was spot on, so great thanks to Cordi for sending it in. In my auntish opinion, it should be required reading for men. In a sane world, health teachers would be allowed to hand it out in high schools without both the Junior and Senior branches of the Feminist Brigade going into hysterics because reality is so embarrassing and politically incorrect.