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Call Me

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 11/5/2003

I'm a single guy, OK looking, three years out of college with a pretty good job. My friends tell me I'm a catch, but I've always been sort of shy around women. On the advice of these same friends, I've gotten up my courage and started asking every attractive single woman I meet for her phone number. I was surprised, and intrigued, when a lot of them refused to give me their numbers but asked for mine. The problem is that none of them has ever called. I've always heard girls bitch about guys who don't call, but I'm here to tell you they do the same thing to us. Is this a revenge thing? I can understand if a woman doesn't want to give her number out to a relative stranger, but I can't understand why, if she's not planning to use it, she asks for mine. Is there something I can do or say to make them pick up the phone and actually make the call?

Waiting by the Phone

Dear WBTP:
While it's certainly possible that some of the women you've given your number to are happily avenging themselves on the male population by tossing your number in the nearest trash bin, it's unlikely that every woman you've given it to is a love-thwarted harpy ready to poop on the heart of the next man who approaches her. Each woman who took your number had her own reason, but, vengeance aside, they probably all fell within a few categories. Some women use it as a kinder, gentler device to shake off a guy they don't want but don't want to hurt, some intend to call but just don't get around to it, some are too shy to call, and some not-so-nice gals just collect numbers. The fact that you've got a perfect strikeout rate, though, indicates that either you have really bad luck, really poor judgment, or your approach needs work.

The next time you meet a woman you'd like to see again, before the subject of numbers even comes up, suggest another meeting, something along the lines of: "The governor of California's new movie opens Friday at the Blahbityblah Theater--would you like to go with me?" If she says yes, instead of asking for her number, volunteer yours and suggest some good times to call. This not only shows you're serious about seeing her again, it puts her in control, which might prompt her to offer her own number in return. Of course, if she declines, you've already learned she's not interested and you don't need to waste time with phone numbers at all.

The holidays are coming, and I dread it. My husband's family makes a huge deal out of Christmas: The house gets dressed like Macy's window, they throw a huge party with a Santa for the kids, and on the big day there's a gift-giving ritual even Halliburton would envy before everyone finally sits down to stuff themselves like butterballs, after which we all watch Christmas videos. My husband's brother and sister fly in from out of town days before with their spouses and kids and stay through the 26th, and we're expected to spend all day, every day together. We don't have kids, but my husband loves it and is looking forward to it by Labor Day. The first couple of years we were married I thought it was fun, but for the last few years I've been feeling more and more like the Grinch. I think if I have to sit through that damn Jimmy Stewart movie one more time I'll jump off a bridge myself. How can I get out of this without ruining it for everyone?

All Scrooged Up

Dear ASU:
I understand how you feel. Most people dread spending the holidays alone, but that much concentrated Christmas togetherness could have me longing for an icy river, too. You have more control over the situation than you think, though. There's probably no way to gracefully get out of the big events, but it's unlikely that your skipping a brunch or two will throw everyone else's holiday into the toilet. It's a common conceit to think that our presence is required, but the truth is the party goes on with or without us, and all our egos would be black and blue if we saw how much fun people have when we're not around.

If you can't talk your husband into a Christmas cruise, choose a few hours to keep for yourself and, as plans are being made en famille, tell everyone you've got work to do then and are unavailable. It's not really a lie, since you're working at keeping your sanity, but the only person you need to explain that to is your husband so he can back you up. If he balks, tell him he can make this his Christmas present to you. Then use those hours to recoup and regenerate so that you can put on your holiday happy face for the times it really counts. And instead of watching Clarence get his wings for the umpteenth time, suggest a walk. There's probably more than one member of the family who'll think it's a wonderful idea.

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