Call me, maybe?

This is an editorial I wrote for Dig magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

*     *     *

I’m thinking about getting a landline.

It’s not about time travel or saving money. It’s for the sake of dating. I’ve had a cell phone since I was 16, when I had my first boyfriend and my first kiss. But in the last two years, my smart phone has been more of a problem when it comes to dating.

In high school, getting a call from a boy was a chart-topping feeling. When my bright purple phone would ring, I raced to the caller ID box to see if my crush was calling. When he did, I relished our conversations, often interrupted by parents needing to use the line for more important matters.

In the last few months, all I get from guys are text messages. One text message did lead to a pizza date that suffered from poor conversation – a problem that could have been detected with a phone call. Regardless, he asked me on a second date. When I politely declined, I received 32 text messages from him in the middle of the night.

Ironically, about half of those texts were him explaining that he’s “old school” and believes in chivalry.

I’ll openly admit that I’m not on top of technology. I like routine and traditions. So when texting, social media and new, casual approaches to dating became the norm, I had to ask myself – was I the only one still hoping for the phone to ring?

Luckily, this conversation caught headlines when Alex Williams wrote “The End of Courtship?” in The New York Times last month, saying the classic dinner-and-a-movie date has been replaced with hanging out in groups or Facebook posting each other.

Manti Te’o and I can’t be the only two people who find multiple things wrong with this. Perhaps I am stuck in the ‘90s, but nothing is more attractive to me than a man who can dish great conversation. I’m not impressed by a well-crafted text.

Sending me a text doesn’t require much thought, courage and, for all I know, that “Good morning, babe,” text might be ringing into iPhones statewide. I’m no mathematician, but if you send a text to 50 people, someone is bound to reply – can’t do that on a landline.

Enter the Landline Test. When I get a message from a guy, I ask myself two questions to rate his intentions: 1. If he were calling me on a landline, would a call at this hour be appropriate? And 2. Would he say the same thing he typed out-loud over the phone? If the answer is no to either of those, I’m not interested.

There’s a reason for the saying, “Nothing good happens after midnight,” and it’s safe to say a text message after midnight is just groundwork for a booty call, or actually, a text. Putting up with those results in hours of conversation with girlfriends wondering, “Does he like me?”

No, he doesn’t.

Now, I understand that getting a landline isn’t going to solve all of my dating problems. After all, there’s going to be some Mikes out there, leaving me messages like the scene from Swingers, or Trents, waiting three days to call because that’s “So money.”

Being the optimist, I’m hoping for the When Harry Met Sally phone call; falling asleep watchingCasablanca at opposite ends of the city.

But my life isn’t a romantic comedy, so will I end up coming home to my landline with an answering machine that screams the dreaded, “You have no messages?”

Baton Rouge’s own Ryan Chenevert, named Cosmopolitan’s Hottest Bachelor, recently answered this question on TODAY, saying if he is interested in asking a girl on a date (an actual date), he will call. Of course he would, because he is a gentleman, and because he is quite perfect.

Maybe that’s just it. If he’s the right guy, he’ll call at the right hour, have just the right things to say and sweep me right off my leopard stilettos.

In the meantime, I’m in the market for a phone. I’m not afraid to get fancy and hang a clear phone on my kitchen wall, one that lights up when it rings. I’ll also need an answering machine, and the perfect greeting to record.

Whether it’s a sign that I’m old, a prude or just out of touch, I’m convinced that a man worth dating will respect a timeless woman like myself.

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