“I’m not sure what time we’re supposed to meet up tonight. I’ll just call him,” I muttered to a group of friends while we were discussing a guy I was newly seeing. I glanced up from my phone to wide eyes and horrified expressions. “What?” I asked, defensively…but I knew what. I had anticipated this reaction. Boys don’t do phone calls unless you’re already dating. “Well, don’t call him, it might freak him out. Just text him,” was their unanimous decision.
When did everyone become so scared of using their phone as an actual phone? Did Alexander Graham Bell work his semi-colonial ass off so that I could wait around for a text message that reads “What’s goodie?”
For a generation of people that pays more attention to our phones than we do almost any other medium of technology, it’s startling how resistant we are to making (and receiving) phone calls. Don’t get me wrong, this is a two-way street. Girls are just as weirded out by the phone as guys are. Even when it comes to arranging a non-committal hookup, most consider a phone call a red flag. “Wait…why is he calling me?” is the common response to a guy’s digits flashing across her phone at the bar, but “GUYS, he wants to hang out later,” is more probable if he sends a text asking what’s up.
I may not be able to put an end to this international communication pandemic, but at the very least, I can exploit my own personal experiences with phone calls to raise awareness (because I am a woman of the people).
At 13 Years Old
Ah, the year of my own phone line. If I had to designate a period of my life as my prime, I’d have to say that this was it. I was unstoppable. Three way calls? No problem. Instant message you after school? How cute! You must not have your own private phone line equipped with your own phone number and answering machine recording that you change every other day. NEXT.
Luckily, I had my mom to serve as my personal secretary when I was out taking part in recreational activities (playing manhunt) or giving back to the community (babysitting my neighbors for free). “Tiffany, Thomas is on the phone!” she would yell if I was too tied up to get to the phone at the moment. This tactic quickly granted me the upper hand in the relationship, a point that was further proven when I received a souvenir box from his trip to Aruba with ten dollars stuffed into it. (I was advised to give the money back, but we all know I pocketed that shit). Our breakup conversation went as follows:
Boy: “Hi, are you still mad at me?”
Me: “Yes, Thomas, I am still mad at you because my hair still smells like whipped cream from your field day pie-contest antics and I also have a bruise from the water balloon you threw at me at Tara’s end of the yard party. I don’t think this is going to work out. Sorry.”
At 17 Years Old
At this point in life, I’d considered myself pretty seasoned when it came to relationships. After all, my Harry Potter-hybrid boyfriend had just recently broken up with me on my house phone (I can’t recall why this particular conversation didn’t take place on my cell, but I know that it seemed A LOT more personal when he told me he wanted to “do his own thing” during his senior year of high school on a line that my parents EASILY could have been listening in on.).
Fast-forward: It was at least 9 months before the Junior Prom, aka time to start shottying dates. My former-bestie-turned-arch-nemesis had already asked two of boys that I was thinking of asking (LOL #HIGHSCHOOL), so my sister and I brainstormed a list of potential prom suitors in my basement. We came up with the perfect choice, and I considered calling him, but after much deliberation settled for a text message that was straight and to the point, with a smiley face thrown in for good measure.
Me: “Hey, SO random, but, do you want to go to prom with me? Haha :)”
Boy: “Who is this?”
I decided then and there that I was NOT ABOUT THAT TEXT MESSAGE LIFE.
At 21 Years Old:
It’s probably not necessary for me to go into specifics here, because pretty much every conversation with any boy that year went as follows:
Me: “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! What are you doooooing?”
Boy: “Hey, nothing where are you”
Me: “I’m at Queeeeens taking shots– oh my god you will NOT believe what Lauren just did!”
Boy: “What did Lauren just do?”
*DROPS PHONE, CALLS BACK*
Me: “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! What are you doooooing?”
At (Almost) 24 Years Old
Blame it on brunch mimosas or pure frustration, but one recent Saturday morning I decided that it was bullshit that this guy that I hadn’t seen in years was leaving heart comments on my Instagram photos and writing me 140 character love notes on Twitter, but couldn’t muster up the courage to call me on the phone and ask me to hang out.
Me: “I’m calling him.”
My friends: “Are you serious?”
DIALS. NO ANSWER
My friends: “He’s totally staring at his phone wondering if you butt-dialed him.”
RECEIVES TEXT MESSAGE: “Hey, was that a butt dial? I’m hoping it wasn’t.”
*TAKES SIP OF MIMOSA. CALLS HIM BACK. *
Me: “Hi, are you going to continue to stalk me on social media or are you actually going to ask me to hang out?”
It didn’t work out, for obvious reasons, BUT I WILL NOT GIVE UP HOPE. Somewhere out there lives a living and breathing male creature who won’t assume that I’m undergoing a psychotic break for returning his text message with a phone call. Until then, call me maybe…or don’t, it’s cool.