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On Your Own

Men, Too, Are Weary of the 'Call' Game

January 13, 1986|HOWARD HALPERN

It seems that women are not the only ones who experience frustration, bitterness and rage after the "I'll call you" line is delivered. Men, although they are the ones who speak those words, are often let down by what follows. I asked male readers to share their experiences, and here's a sample of the letters I received.

An Indiana man writes: "What about the lady who gives you her phone number, asks you to call, and when you do she agrees to go out and then she stands you up? This has happened to me several times over the past two years. What is it that makes a woman display strong interest one day and act as if you've just arrived from another planet a week later?"

A Los Angeles man writes: "Permit me to present the other side of the coin: A man meets a woman at a party. They have an interesting conversation. They exchange phone numbers, which is an indication of the willingness of both parties to maintain contact. The man calls her a couple of days later. She states that her evenings are busy, but that she's available for breakfast.

Hasn't Called Her Again

"Now what's a working man supposed to conclude? That (a) she wants a discussion on the vagaries of the Dow Jones averages; (b) she's playing a coy game; (c) she's afraid that a dinner might lead to a sexual demand; (d) her evenings are taken up with others; (e) she's not interested in seeing this man?

"Whichever it is, this man hasn't called her again. He has to earn his living in the morning."

A North Carolina man asks: "Why do women give their number, get a call, and then brush off guys? This happens to me more than I would like it to. It cannot be my appearance. I am 6 feet, 4 inches tall, 182 pounds and, although I'm not Bruce Springsteen, I am not disfigured either. I'm one of the guys you're supposed to take home to Mom. I don't get it."

One letter signed "the average man" read: "I am 23 years old, a college graduate, have average looks and intelligence and a decent job. I am not extremely outgoing but friendly to everyone and not attracted to any one particular type of woman.

'How Dare You Call'

"Now the problem: I have at least 50 phone numbers that women gave to me. These women vary in age from 17 to 36 years of age, and they run the gamut--high school seniors, widows, cashiers, bank tellers, students, down-home country girls, high-level executives, professionals, etc. They were all generous about giving me their numbers and acted interested when I said I'll call. However, when I called them it was a different story. I have arranged meetings with some and been stood up. But most never got that far. Many had the attitude 'How dare you call. I wouldn't even think about dating you!'

"The bulk of my calls were met with excuses about why they were not free for an evening. For example, 'I have to baby-sit my mother's boss's children.' 'I have to wash my hair.' 'I have to work out of town three of the next six weeks.' (What about the other three?) 'I have unexpected company from out of town.' (Three weeks straight.) The list goes on and on.

"Women have brought upon themselves the problem of giving out their number and not being called. Why would you give me your phone number if you don't want me to call? Just tactfully let me know you are not interested so I can spend my time finding someone who is."

Lesson for Women

There is a lesson here for women who complain about men who ask for their numbers and then don't call. Often the fact that a man has not called has nothing to do with game-playing or insecurity. Like women, some men feel they are casualties of the calling experience. Others ask for your number and mean to call, but if your response seems halfhearted, they lose the incentive to act. And you may never know that you had something to do with that.

Now I'd like to ask women to explain why they give men their phone numbers and then put them off.

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