* This is a dramatization of actual texts.
I sort of gave my phone number to another guy recently. I know, I know. My friend advises against this behavior and the last (first) guy who got my phone number stood me up the day after our one and only date.
Apparently I’m not good with rules or lessons.
I was out with Hildy again, doing our single girl thing while our kids were with their dads. A guy asked me to dance with him and he turned out to fabulous – fun and energetic, knew what he was doing. We went our separate ways after the song ended but he’d talk to me here and there if we passed each other. Every time he wanted to dance again someone else had asked me first. Then as the night drew to a close he grabbed me as I walked by and insisted I join him for one more. As I stumbled around the floor (this is not a note about my sobriety – I was not at all intoxicated, I’m just supremely ungraceful) he asked me for my phone number.
Sigh. I told him my “No, I don’t give my number out,” deal but he asked again. I could tell he was younger than me, probably quite a bit so. Usually telling a guy in his 20s my age gets them to stop asking. He said he was 29. I said I was 36. He didn’t care. Damn it.
So I had to pull out all the stops. “Do you have any kids?” I asked innocently. He shook his head no, then asked if I had any.
“Yep. Four,” I said, wiggling four fingers in front of his face for emphasis. This really is a great way to get a guy to stop pestering you – even if you don’t have kids, I recommend it as a way to get out of awkward situations where the man won’t let up. Look very serious and say, “I have four kids. By six different dads,” then watch the man backpedal his way out of your personal space.
I only have four kids by one man, my ex, but still, it’s a scary amount of progeny to most single guys. This guy still wouldn’t stop even after hearing about my brood.
Persistence can be admirable as long as it doesn’t cross that pesky line into stalking, and my friend Grace says she always went out with guys who had the courage to ask her out because asking someone out is scary, so I gave him my number. He wasn’t offensive – he’s actually quite cute in a young, somewhat cocky manner – and how am I going to learn how to date if I don’t date?
He texted me about 10 minutes after we left. According to Hildy, guys do this so we women then have their phone numbers and they figure out if the number is real or fake. That is exactly what Fandango did after getting my number, as well, so by my vast subject pool of 2 men I agree with her assessment.
The texting didn’t stop there, though. No, he texted me a few more times that night and then again in the morning when he was getting ready for work. He’s ridiculously over the top with his compliments – beautiful, cute, gorgeous, I’ve heard it all in the past week, and then some.
I decided at this point that his nickname would be Tiger. As in “Slow down, there, tiger.” I couldn’t tell if it was his youth or if all guys do this, but let’s just say he was not shy about making it clear he was attracted to me.
Turned out we were both going to the same spot with friends Sunday night. So I received even more texts about how he couldn’t wait to see me.
Sunday night arrived and my friends and I found a comfortable spot at the venue and talked and people watched. Time went on and I started to think Tiger wasn’t coming, which was a minor let-down considering how much he talked up wanting to see me. But then I found him, and we chatted a bit, went back to our respective social groups and met up later in the evening near the bar.
He was not nearly as bold in person, which was a relief since we were in public. At least, he wasn’t bold until my friends said it was time to go. He said he was going to walk me out and led me around a corner where he didn’t wait for an opening, he just went directly for the kiss. Something told me he’d done this before.
My friends found me and whisked me away from the Tiger’s clutches (don’t you love horrible metaphors?). And then the texting started up again. The kiss seemed to embolden him further, with some of his texts making me blush. I realized I’d never be able to open a notification from him with my kids in my presence.
I asked my friends, “Is this normal?” Is this what dating is like now? You don’t wait to actually go out, you start with the heavy flirting from the very first text? You’d think I’m completely out of touch with mobile phone communications, but remember, I haven’t been single for fifteen years and have no idea what these young bucks do with their newfangled texting contraptions nowadays.
According to my friends, yes, this is fairly standard operating procedure. “Is it only with the guys in their 20s?” I wondered. No, they said, the same thing was going on with guys in their 30s and 40s.
So I have to not only relearn how to flirt in person, I have to learn how to do it via text, as well? I’m not a person who throws around innuendo with ease, and I am more than a little apprehensive about an ill-formed flirty text being mocked when it reaches its destination. Trying not to play along makes me seem cold and elderly, I fear, but playing along too well might make me seem like someone I’m not.
“It’s a game,” one friend said. “Just fake it if you don’t feel like you know what to say, or if you feel stupid.”
I’ve found, so far, that using 🙂 when Tiger texts me something semi-scandalous is working okay.
I was feeling a little better about how to manage my texts to and from him last night, proud that I’d not said anything stupid or that I’d regret, I wasn’t explicitly encouraging his behavior, and I was not fretting about the situation at all because I’m not looking for a boyfriend so this is all very low-pressure. We’re going out this week and I have zero expectations (but I’d prefer to not be stood up, thanks).
Then Tiger asked me late last night if I had Snapchat. Lord help me.
Photo used under a creative commons license, credit to William Warby.