Dating Tropes Explained – Part I – The Call

I’ll preface this and say that this post is purely based on my ridiculous imagination, honed to a sarcastic edge by my free time.

You may have heard the following piece of advice at some point:

Don’t call her within the first three days of getting her number.
… or five/fortnight/x days known divided by two plus e^xi(Pi), etc etc etc

Some of you have heard this so often that it’s just become dating fact. There are guides DEDICATED to this simple action, such as this one, this one, and this one. And, in a weird way I have to say that all of them make at least one good point. But, they also make a few irrelevant ones, and all of them have a good ‘ole stinker in there to ensure that you end up on the phone sounding as awkward as possible.

“Throw a joke in there.”

“Sound eager.”

“Be cocky and confident.”

This kind of advice column is essentially the male version of the Cosmo “100 ways to please your man” article. No offense to the authors, but really.

Like most things in human psychology (such as this statement), any platitude crosses the realm into truthiness after it is shouted over a long enough period of time by a sufficiently large mob of people.

And what’s more, I WILL concede that there IS hidden wisdom in not calling a woman right after you get her number. A few logical reasons first, that many people like to cite:

  1. You JUST met her. If you wanted to make plans so quickly after, you could have just done it in person and avoided the whole phone tag thing in general.
  2. Calling right away lets her know that you either a) had nothing to do or b) moved all of your plans for someone you’ve just met.
  3. You can come off as overeager, or creepy.
  4. … and many more that you can read up on in articles like the ones linked above.

But, beyond the simple (and mostly practical) logic, why DID waiting three days (or whatever) to call a woman become such a mainstay in the modern man’s romantic arsenal?

*Cue special lighting effects*

I like to think that it’s because we’re all trying to model ourselves after the Ultimate Man. You know – that guy that’s taller, funnier, more interesting, and well-read. He’s probably also Batman.

Back to the issue at hand, when we ask others how long we should wait to call a woman, are we not asking… What would the Ultimate Man do?

WWTUMD? – A question to live by.

Things you need to know about the Ultimate Man:

  • He’s busy. Hobbies, work obligations, life-long friends to catch up with, places to go, things to do, ambitions to conquer (large and small)
  • He knows his limitations, and does his best every day to mitigate or eliminate them
  • He doesn’t sweat the small stuff – he picks his battles
  • He always keeps his cool, even when things aren’t going his way
  • Happy/contentment is his default emotion
  • He is not universally successful with women, but he is MUCH more successful than Average Joe.
  • By the same token, he doesn’t care that he’s not universally successful with women, because his life doesn’t revolve around them.
  • When he was Average Joe, he didn’t know all of the things he knows now, and wishes that his Average Joe friends would wake up, stop asking him for step by step advice, and be willing to make the mistakes they need to make to learn what they need to learn to live the lives they want to live.

Now, let’s say the Ultimate Man meets Jane in a bar. They click. He’s gotta run, she’s gotta run, and they exchange numbers.

When should the Ultimate Man call?

… were you thinking three days? Were you? I mean, I prefaced this whole article on the idea that there is a set period of time that you have to wait to call the woman, right?

Well, if you didn’t know this about the Ultimate Man, now you do: your opinions and expectations don’t mean jack in the busy and adventurous life of the Ultimate Man.

The short answer is that the Ultimate Man will call this woman whenever he damn pleases – only less rude and sarcastically than I just described.

Let’s run through a play-by-play:

  1. Tuesday night – Ultimate Man meets Jane, an interesting woman at art exhibit/dance class/boxing match/bank robbery and exchanges numbers.
  2. Wednesday night – Ultimate Man finished work for the day, and had plans to meet with his buddy Ultimate Wing. They go out on the town to catch up because they haven’t seen each other in a few weeks, due to their adventurous lifestyle often taking one or both out of town on the weekends.
  3. Thursday night – Ultimate Man finished work, attends his three times weekly sports class, and spends the rest of his night planning the road trip he’s taking this weekend while drinking an Old-Fashioned or something equally manly.
  4. Friday night – Work’s done and the Ultimate Man is ready for his road trip with his pod of equally interesting, sometimes even mixed gender buddies. They go rock climbing, or touring, or vision-questing, or whatever it is they feel like it.
  5. Saturday – A great day doing Ultimate Man things with his Ultimate Friends.
  6. Sunday – A return home for a well-earned afternoon of rest. But wait – the Ultimate Man can’t help but feel like he’s forgetting something… where is his Pac Man Zippo lighter? He wants to have a celebratory cigar on the roof of his apartment building with Ultimate Wing, who stopped by with stories about his own trip. Ultimate Wing got first place in that thing he did over the weekend!
  7. Monday – Shit. Work, and Ultimate Man still can’t shake the feeling that he’s forgetting something. Later that day clicking through his phone to call Ultimate Friends about their Summer trip to Exoticland and how they all need to brush up on their Exotic language, he sees Jane’s number in his phone. Crap – how long has it been? He decides to call and vaguely hopes she’s not angry, at the same time realizing that if she is, meh. They’ll get over it.

See that? The Ultimate Man calls Jane when he can. It not malice or games. It’s just that calling Jane isn’t the only damn thing in his planner for the next week.

But what does Average Joe (who is not as observant or self-critical as the Ultimate Man, otherwise he would be on his way to becoming the Ultimate Man) see, when he watches the Ultimate Man stroll into the bar, and all the ladies who know him as the life of the party look up and smile because they want to hear about whatever it is he did last week?

Average Joe sees a guy who says interesting things and waits a few days before he decides to call women. Average Joe decides he should say interesting things (versus do interesting things) and wait a few days before he decides to call women – not because he’s busy, but because “that’s how successful guys do it.” You can see how Average Joe kind of gets it and misses the point, all at the same time.

Gentlemen, if you find yourself in the Average Joe camp in more than one major aspect of your life, work on it. You can be the guy that (almost) everyone wants to talk to and learn more about if you work on it a little bit every day. It’s not a race, and it’s not about getting laid. It’s about YOU, and turning into someone you can be proud of. Do it for you – not for the ladies. The ladies are an unintended bonus to you being f*cking awesome to be around.

One Response to Dating Tropes Explained – Part I – The Call

  1. Alternatively, it isn’t even like the Ultimate Man will have so much going on that it takes a week to call. He may call the next day, after 2 days, after 3 days, whatever. The key, like you cover in depth, is that he is going to call whenever the hell he wants to call because he has value to contribute and knows it. And, the woman knows it too. And the woman also has value to contribute. This is like an amazing orgy of value where there is just value being passed around like Debbie in Dallas. The only person not getting in on the action is the unconfident boring person in the corner, also known as a cameraman.

    It’s only creepy to call too quickly if the woman sees a value mismatch between the value the man offers and the value the woman wants from a man. You think a woman would balk at a call 3 hours later from Ryan Gosling or whoever the new movie Vampire girls swoon over is? Absolutely not.

    The most salient point in your article is “It’s not a race, and it’s not about getting laid.” As soon as you find that you are happy with yourself, you will be able to make someone else happy. And really… a lot of people happy, because the amount of people who are *truly* happy with themselves is painfully small. The people who are worth connecting with seek this in the opposite sex. And then it naturally becomes about finding someone who creates an interesting spark in you and not about getting laid. The sex is a natural follow up to the connection you have made.

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