Remember when phones had dials? And long curly cords that tethered them to the wall? Before answer machines or call waiting, before cordless phones and ….breath…. before cellphones?
I wasn’t lucky enough to have a phone anywhere near my room. In fact my mother managed to put a lock on our phone (yes, a lock which prevented you from turning the dial to thereby contact friends and muster some semblance of a social life. I know, no wonder I have issues. Mother Masochist O Mine). I do however remember the joy of holding a hot and sweaty receiver to your ear as you pondered the meaning of life, algebra homework and maybe, if you were lucky enough to date some kind of homosexual, some expression of affection). Ah the late evening phone call. The touch base. We didn’t know it back then, but it was a dying art. When to call, when to pick up, who hung up first, what was said (or not said).. phone conversations were the connection point, the building block of any fledgling relationship.
Fast forward to my 30’s and while phones were no longer tethered to the wall I still found myself sitting on the sofa in an evening, looking at the home phone and waiting for it to ring. For my boyfriend to call. For us to touch base and dissect the day, schedule our time together or just confer on the latest episode of whatever. And while the conversations were more functional, more expressive and less silence infused, the calls served the purpose of keeping us connected. Enabling us to chat to each other without being overtaken by the need to undress each other and get frisky. We talked about anything and everything, but we started to get to know each other.
I sustained relationships via the phone including a guy in Vancouver, a dude in Montana and even a fiance 60 miles away (at different times).
These days – and my how I feel old saying this – the phone is an outdated inconvenience. To most guys I know, its totally avoidable now that texting exists. They no longer have to deal with a live human or take time away from the ride, the game or the controller. A simple text message can keep things humming, prove more flirtatious and clever than a conversation, and to some, can even avoid the humiliation of someone saying no. Case in point, my girlfriend Faye.
Faye is suffering from drive by texting. A man who she’s spoken to – perhaps for 10 minutes- has been texting her now for 3 weeks. No call, no date.. just texts.
‘How you doing?’
‘How was your weekend?’
‘Did you see the election results?”
He’s single, she’s single. I think they’re probably both interested. He has arms and fingers, he could pick up the phone and ask her out. But no.. just this ad hoc pinging reminder of teasing insecurity. I am interested enough to reach out, but not quite interested enough to pick up the phone.
Men who are rolling their eyes.. I know. She could call him. She too has arms and fingers. But as a first impression, who wants to call a guy you don’t know, who’s likely (in your head), watching porn, watching the game, out with another woman or lord help me, sitting with his pants by his ankles. All times at which a guy friend of mine has ANSWERED THE PHONE. Hence we don’t call that first time. Because we don’t want to talk to you when you’re in another woman.. or fantasizing about it.
So here’s my request to that guy.. to every guy. Pick up the goddam phone and call her please. Ask her out. Its easy.
Hey Faye, I wanted to call you to see if you have plans on Tuesday? You don’t? Great? How about Joes at 9?
Its THAT SIMPLE.
Please pick up the phone dudes. Because I’m too old to be deciphering ‘what did he mean by..’ text messages with her at 9pm. After all, I’m expecting a call.