Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Testosterone versus Estrogen Central

Really, the biggest potential for post-date communication glitches involves time. Guy time and girl time, that is, baby. They’re not the same. Einstein was right. It’s all relative. Here’s what happens: You go out to a great dinner or a concert or the movies. You giggle, share popcorn. You both have a fabulous time. Sweetly kiss goodnight. Then he whispers, “I’ll call you soon.” Or she whispers the same. You both nod and head home. Now, she assumes that soon means on the cell phone on the way home, at a pay phone the next morning, or at the very latest, within the next two days. Soon to him means “if I have a minute in my busy schedule,” “when I get that new job,” “when I have my fall class schedule in order,” “when the football season is over.” Or soon can mean “never,” “if my mom pressures me,” or “if the Knicks are out of contention.” Problem city:
  • Female is hovering by the phone; male is flipping channels on the remote control.
  • If she calls right away (as she said she would), he thinks, “Whoa! She’s really into me. Sex city!” She’s really just saying, “I had a nice time and I’d like to see you again.”
  • If he calls when he gets around to it (as he said he would), she’s an ice queen because so much time has elapsed (a week, a month, a year, a decade). How dare he leave her hanging! Suddenly, she’s too busy to see him again, and the budding relationship blows sky-high. What’s wrong with this picture? In a word, the word soon.
Guys: Don’t say “soon” when you’re whispering in her ear or any other time. Girls: Don’t believe it if he should slip. (And your being vague doesn’t help much, either. Take it to the bank — he’ll expect a much longer passage of time than you, most likely.) If he does say, “I’ll call you soon,” try one of these responses:
  • “I’ll be out of town for a couple of days. Could you call me after that?” Even if you’re not leaving town, this blows that whole “waiting by the phone” thing right out of the water.
  • How ’bout I call you in a week or so?” Then be sure to add the reason (when finals are over, after work lets up, as soon as I accept the Nobel Prize) so that it doesn’t sound like a brush-off. Mark at least ten days to two weeks on your calendar and call him then.
  • “Instead of calling, let’s e-mail each other from work.” This narrows the call time to 9-to-5 and takes some of the intensity out of the exchange. E-mail is pretty public, so neither one of you can get too hot and heavy with the boss watching.
  • “What does soon mean to you?” Though this question may sound a bit overeager, asking for a definition is okay. Your date’s response tells you a lot about the future of this relationship. Whatever you hear, be calm; don’t panic or get hysterical.
If you’re a guy: Don’t wait quite as long as you ordinarily would. If you do intend to call her “soon,” you’ll score major Brownie points if you make it more sooner than later. Women eventually write off the guy who never calls, but they never forget the man who calls right away. If you’re a girl: Wait at least twice as long as you ordinarily would. Give the guy a break. When he does call, warm up that cold shoulder, or he’ll never call again. The appropriate response to a guy who calls a week after a great date is, “Hi. How are you?” — not “Hi. Who died?” He’ll be so pleased with you he just may call later that night for more of your tender, loving acceptance. Stay cool. Don’t notice. Life is long; phone calls can be short. The best way to avoid the whole call/don’t call scenario is to arrange date number two before date number one ends. Plan to get together again no sooner than a week, no later than two weeks. If your date doesn’t bring it up, you can. No gender rules here.

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