Thursday, 25 April 2013

Asks for Number, Doesn't Call

It is one of those mysteries of Single Life. Why do men ask women for their phone numbers and then not call them?

My guess is "The goldfish."

Recently I skimmed a news article on a goldfish who had lost its roommate (bowl-mate?) of 30 years. The article assured us readers not to worry about the survivor's grief: the goldfish memory is only 5 seconds long.

Some men, especially cute, happy-go-lucky, friendly men, are like goldfish.  "Hey, you're pretty! What's your number? Cool! I'll call ya. Hey, YOU'RE pretty! What's your number? I'll call ya!" At the time they are absolutely 100 % sincere. They honestly believe they are going to call you because right at that moment they want to call you. But then they forget as soon as another pretty face swims into view or as soon as they have slept off their hangover.

I believe it was Greg of He's Just Not That Into You who was refused a phone number by a woman who said she was tired of giving her phone number to men who didn't call. She said something like "My surname is Cupertino. If you really want to call me, find me in the phone book." Stung, poor old Greg called up every last Cupertino (or whatever) in the phone book until he found the girl. This is because Greg really, really, wanted to call that girl.

Another reason I think men ask for phone numbers is that they think they should as a polite gesture. It could be the man equivalent of you saying to another woman, "Oh my gosh! We should have coffee some time!" when what you mean is that it might kinda sorta be nice to have coffee some time, or it would be nice if you really did wish to have coffee some time. (If non-British, non-American, non-Canadian readers have no idea what I am talking about, you should understand that a lot of Anglo-Saxon social life is made smooth by what we call little white lies. It's almost a genetic disease. Having read St. Augustine on lying, I can't stand it, but I probably do it.)

Asking for phone numbers could also be a form of social insurance. For example, the guy may be thinking, "If tomorrow I remember this girl, it would be helpful if I had her number already." The operative word here is "If."

For the record, this is not about you. This is most definitely about them. A man will forget about meeting a woman who looks like Cindy Crawford if his subconscious has long been in thrall to women who look like Ava Gardner, or his kindergarten teacher, or his first babysitter, or his first girlfriend. Sure, he will acknowledge that the Cindy Lookalike is cute when she's right there in front of him, but after she's gone, it's Ava as usual. He'll just about kill himself to see an Ava-type again, even if he has no idea why.

That reminds me. I should write a whole post on this, but what do you think of going to events celebrating a famous singer, actress, writer, et alia, whom you resemble? Of course not many of us look like film stars, but say you are a dead ringer for the young Ayn Rand. Would it not make sense for you, despite not being a Randian yourself, to check out the local Objectivists' club?  The drawback , of course, would be meeting men whose beliefs might be entirely and uncomfortably different from yours. Still, I think it an amusing idea. And what could be more charming to some bloodthirsty Objectivist than a woman who looks exactly like Anne Rand asking him to explain Objectivism to her? Or to a Rita Hayworth fan than discovering himself beside a red-headed girl in the intermission between Hayworth films?


Sheila said...

An Ayn Rand poem:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Finish this poem yourself,
you worthless parasite.

Ah, Objectivist love.

I'm a Meg Ryan. Very much so. Perhaps I should get an enormous perm.

Seraphic said...

No, you are married. Don't you dare go out there and disappoint the men who love Meg Ryan. I go to Dame Emma Kirby concerts only with my husband.

Re: Objectivist love. LOL!

MaryJane said...

Greg's book is really a must-read. It made me STOP telling my girlfriend's "no, don't worry, I'm sure he'll call...". Incidentally, the movie is not even close to anything like the book so no one should expect to benefit from it.

I am unsure about this look-alike business... though it could be positively wonderful for a self-esteem boost.

Mustard Seed said...

I used to remind myself of my personal statistic, which was that only 50% of men requesting my phone number actually used it, so as to avoid disappointment when they didn't call. Somehow in the last couple years, that percentage has risen.

Why is it, though, that the guys that don't interest me quite as much are always the most likely to follow through? Maybe my detachment from them is somehow alluring? Very confusing.

Domestic Diva said...

Mustard Seed, I've also found that the men I'm NOT interested in are the ones most likely to call, whereas the ones I AM interested in are less likely to. Words of wisdom on this one, Seraphic?

ye olde tea shoppe said...

So true, Mustard Seed and Domestic Diva. I'd be interested to hear what Seraphic has to say, too. Of course, it could just be Murphy's law or something... does that sound cynical?

Lara L. said...

Seraphic, they've found the guy kicked out of Saudi Arabia for being too handsome!

Cute, but too much photoshop for my taste. And I bet he would have stayed in S.A if he was wearing the orange jumpsuit, as any virtuous men would.
Totally asking for it.

MaryJane said...

I would also love to hear your thoughts on why the men who call /ask are the ones I am not interested in, but the interesting-to-me ones don't.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess the benefit of never having had a guy ask for your number is that I've never worried whether someone will call or not. :-) How do you girls do it?


hip2bsquare said...

Apologies for barging in, but I'd like to offer a male perspective on Mustard Seed and Domestic Diva's issue, if Seraphic will give me permission.

I don't think the variable that determines whether or not a guy who has asked for your number actually calls is your interest level in him or your level of perceived detachment. Quite frankly, I'm perplexed by a lot of the dating advice that I've read elsewhere for both sexes that boils down to trying to appear as cool and uninterested as possible--if people followed it slavishly, it'd be a wonder that anyone ever paired off!

There are good reasons for women not signal their interest in a man before a man signals his interest in her; men (at least men who do not hew to traditional morality) are sadly wiling to take whatever they can get from a women who comes onto them.

But when a man asks for your phone number, he's already signaled that he's interested. By giving it to him, a you signal that you're interested. At that point, whether or not he calls is due entirely to factors beyond your control.

I've never heard a guy pal say "Yeah, I was totally into this girl, but then I realized she was interested in me too, so I backed off."

Then why do the ones you want to call do so more rarely, you ask? The men in whom you're most interested in are the ones who are probably pretty interesting to women generally. They have a lot of other options and they chose another option for reasons peculiar to them that should not be taken personally (e.g. another girl he's met resembles Dame Emma, Rita Hayworth, Meg Ryan, or whomever represents his feminine ideal).

Then why did he ask for your number in the first place? It's hard to say--I've always called women when I've asked for their numbers. He definitely found something about you attractive, but decided not to pursue you after further reflection. While it's disappointing, you're probably better off without a guy whose attraction to you is lukewarm.

Seraphic said...

I second Hip. I do not think there is any relationship to how attracted you are to a guy and how likely he is to ask for your phone number or call your phone number.

Calling you or not calling you is not about you and what you want. It's about him and what he wants.

When they can, men do exactly what they want to do. They want to see you, they make an appointment to see you. They don't want to see you, they don't make an appointment to see you. Really, it's that simple.

To add to this, you know how your mother says "There's many fish in the sea?" Well, the bad news is that we don't get to choose from ALL of the fish in the sea. We get to choose only from the fish in the sea who think we have tasty bait--to continue the fishing analogy. In real fishing, some kinds of fish are attracted to some kinds of bait, and other fish to others.

Domestic Diva said...

Thanks, Hip & Seraphic!

Urszula said...

That was a good explanation, thanks Hip. I honestly don't seem to have the problem of men not calling me - although I do have a preponderance of men I'm not interested in pursuing me for further dates after I've already indicated (maybe too subtly) that I'm not interested. Seraphic, I know you mentioned we should be more direct, but how do you get a message across when a guy texts you to suggest a date? Is texting back "No, thank you" to a guy you will surely see in another social context, appropriate?

Athanasius lover said...

Jean, you're not alone. No man has ever asked for my phone number, either.

Mustard Seed said...

Urszula, you could always try texting back that you're busy with XYZ this week, but will see him the next time you're in whatever social context you know him from. I've done that before and while it still feels uncomfortably firm to me, it allows you to be polite and gracious, makes it clear that you don't want to go on the date, and leaves the door open for you to be cordial to the guy when you see him again. At least, this has worked for me.

Urszula said...

That's great advice, Mustard Seed. I was looking for a definite, but yet kind way of letting a guy know I'm not interested.

Now that I think about it I actually tried that once, and it would have worked fine except the guy was clueless and the next time I met him in a group social context, he grilled me for a week on what I was busy with and insisted I "need to make time to meet with friends". But some people I guess just will never get the point ;)