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Clod Is In The Details

I spotted a beautiful girl on Wednesday at a local bar. To break the ice, I sent her and her girlfriends a round of drinks. She and I flirted and talked the entire evening, and I got her phone number when she left. Friday afternoon, I left her a message that a bunch of friends and I were meeting at a happy hour Friday after work. I left my cell number so she could call me back. A week has passed and I still haven't heard from her. This is weird, because she seemed like a great girl, and I was pretty sure we'd really hit it off Wednesday night. What's my next move? --Telephone Silence

Why wait until you have a relationship with a woman to take her for granted? Take her for granted right from the start!

Dating is the showroom for the relationship. Especially on the first few dates, it's the little things that count -- like whether you use gold cord or red ribbon to tie the engraved dinner invitation on the dove's leg when you send a flock of them through her bedroom window.

Although communicating via rent-a-fowl isn't a dating must, it does serve an important function: letting a woman know how much you care. Of course, so does a last-minute phone message informing her of an opportunity to stand next to you in a crowd scene with discount alcoholic beverage service. (At least you didn't drive around looking for her, then yell an invitation out the car window: "Hey, I'm starved and my house is a mess -- how about you come over and mop my floors and make me dinner?")

If she isn't on a romantic dinner date with a guy who asked her out last week for this week, she's probably wondering what we're all wondering: Who was that guy buying her and her friends drinks on Wednesday, your stunt double? That guy would surely understand the difference between football and dating: you don't give a "great girl" a two-minute warning, then expect her to come running so you can tackle her. Until you come to understand this, your dating field will fail to resemble the playing field in a fundamental way -- it will not include scoring.

Your answering machine hit-and-run maneuver is unlikely to minimize your losses. In fact, you should never leave a recorded message for a woman you don't know very well. But, but ... you don't want to get rejected, not to your face. Yes, you do. Because what's worse than being rejected to your face is being rejected not to your face. When that happens, you're never sure whether you really were rejected, or as you'd prefer to believe, you called the wrong number or she dropped her answering machine into the Ganges River.

Get this girl on the phone and explain that you were so impatient to see her that you kind of screwed up, and you should have asked her out for dinner. Then do it. The idea is to let her know how special she is to you; something you show by putting a little bit more time, effort, and thought into sweeping her off her feet than you would into brushing a fleck of lint off your sweater.

For courage, just imagine what you could be telling your grandkids: Grampy went to a bar where he met the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen -- smart, funny, and all the trimmins'. Then Grampy called the woman and came off like a huge dorkus, and cheap, too, so she never called him back -- and that's how he got stuck with Grammy!

Heavy Settle

I've been dating a guy for six months, and it's going nowhere. He says he really wants us to be together, but all his time is consumed by work, and when he isn't working, he's out with his friends. He doesn't call me except to return my calls, and he cancels our dates often. I should move on, but part of me feels some hope for us. Why am I so hung up on him?--Low Priority

There's no shame in making a beeline for the obvious. Millions of people do it every day, when they turn to the coffee bar for their daily latte instead of to the carburetor repair shop. Yes, this guy claims he wants to be with you, but he won't so much as bend a time card to do it. This should tell you something, and not that his office has switched to recording worker hours on titanium. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop part of you from feeling "hope for us." Which part of you would that be -- the part that's always dreamed of walking off into the sunset all by yourself, wondering whether your boyfriend's having a good time with the guys, and straining to remember what he looks like?

Copyright 2003, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com).

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