When it comes to paramours, I’ve never been a phone person. I blame my debilitating fear of awkward silences, caused by a date who once threatened me, “Talk or my butt will!” Sigh. Where do I find these guys?
A few years ago, I decided to use e-mail to my advantage, or at least what I thought was my advantage. I withheld my number from potential suitors, instead offering them my Hotmail address. I reasoned this safe approach would allow two strangers to get to know each other a little before the initial phone conversation leading up to a first date. Plus, I have this theory that you can tell a lot about a man by his vocab (size matters), punctuation (excessive use of exclamation points and semi-colon smiley faces are never a good thing), and response time.
I thought I had it all figured out, but somewhere along the way e-mail became my weapon against all of the unnerving mmmm hmmms and ummm hmmms of verbal communication. While it affords me the luxury of editing myself—and deciphering “what he really means” over and over—it has not improved my ability to connect with men. In fact, it has made matters worse because e-banter tends to keep them at arm’s length and they never really wean themselves off of it, even long after we’ve entered official dating terrain.
I finally became aware of this thanks to a very sensitive man who sheepishly informed me via laptop of some very important news: “I think I’m falling in love with you.” Gulp. Not only had I instigated such cowardly communication, I was the queen of it. Would a man one day propose to me via BlackBerry or text message? Calling Dr. Phil!
I mean, how many of my relationships have been ruined by my anti-phone affliction?
This was actually supposed to be a hypothetical question, but I ended up doing a tally on a paper cocktail napkin the other night and I think the answer hovers around three. I am now undergoing my own form of interpersonal rehab. It’s a self-charted means of relationship therapy in which I resist the inherent urge to hide behind a computer screen and actually dial the number of the man I want to converse with, if only to schedule some much-needed face time (for which photo messaging is no substitute, I will argue). I’m done exchanging sweet nothings, or any kind of nothings, via email, or text message for that matter, and I can already see the positive changes starting to take effect—phone bill notwithstanding. Insert semi-colon smiley face here.