The Dating Nerd is a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he is really, really good at dating. He’s been on more dates than you can shake a lengthy bar tab at, and he’s here to help the average guy step his dating game up a notch — or several.
Hi Dating Nerd,
I just had the best first and second hang with a girl ever. I wanna call her up — text messages feel so flimsy and I really love hearing her talk, like the actual sound of her voice. But my buddy Chris keeps telling me it’s a bad idea. Just bad, bad, bad. Is it that crazy? I know like, pickup artists say you shouldn’t call someone for at least a week afterwards. What’s your stance?
– Call Me Crazy
Hi Call Me Crazy,
After your first date, you must wait a week to call her. At least. You absolutely must. Whereas most matters in dating are complicated — which particular sex maneuvers she enjoys, how you say sorry after you fart — this one is extraordinarily simple. Just don't do it. Please. If you take one piece of advice from me, ever, it should be this one. Okay, actually, it should be “get regular exercise.” But “don’t call her for a week” is a close second.
Yeah, I know you want to be that guy in a romantic comedy who falls in love headfirst, without reservation. But unless you are, in fact, Ryan Gosling, or another freakishly attractive person, with so much raw sexual magnetism that dating advice is irrelevant, do not pick up that phone. Also, if you're Ryan Gosling, why are you reading this? You don't need my advice.
But if you live in the real world — if, like me, you are a solid 7 in the looks department — then put your phone away.
I'm not suggesting this because I believe in, like, the power of mystery, or something. Some pickup artists will teach you that being elusive is the key to a woman's tightly-guarded pants. I say that's ridiculous, unless you're an actual spy whose Russian spymasters will kill you with plutonium if you disclose your classified information. Like most people, you probably don't have any particularly delicious secrets. Don't act as if you're magical treasure, the sight of which is a great privilege. You're not.
So don't do that garbage where you wait four hours to text her for no reason. Here's a fun fact: everyone enjoys a bit of vulnerability. It's courageous. It takes guts to put yourself out there. If you're nervous on a date and you can't compose yourself, you should probably just say, "Y'know, I'm kind of nervous, because you're really attractive." That's way more interesting than whatever fake-ass Stoicism you might muster.
But that philosophy does not apply to phone calls, whatsoever. Because we’re in an age where a phone call is a Majorly Big Deal. A phone call is basically equivalent to delivering a handwritten letter on horseback at sunset in a blizzard without any clothes on, except with less retro appeal. When you call someone who you’ve been texting, you’re saying, “I won’t settle for perfectly functional text-based communication — I’ve got to hear you breathing.”
Which, if you’re at the right stage, is a perfectly reasonable sentiment. Even sexy. But there’s almost no way you’re at that stage a week in. Most likely, you’ll come off as desperate — like you’re eager for her very most intimate company.
You might respond that someone should take it as a compliment that you want to take that kind of plunge—that you want to hear their melodious laugh, etc. And this would be true in a perfect world. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where women are constantly dealing with unwanted male attention.
As in the case of every social situation ever, being great at dating requires that you put yourself in the other person’s shoes. So, please remember that any even slightly attractive woman is constantly getting accosted by a zoo’s worth of men, all the time. She’s getting a daily barrage of “hey baby” from knuckle-dragging meatheads. Scary homeless people are giving her the once-over, then the twice-over, then mumbling indecipherably. And her male co-workers keep casually asking her out for a drink, even though she’s said “I’m busy” more than someone named Busy.
So it’s absolutely, perfectly rational for any woman to have a bubble around her personal space. And if you break that bubble, you’ll probably come off as creepy, no matter how good that first date was. It’ll leave a bad taste in her mouth.
Also? If you absolutely can’t bear to not call her for a week, if you will die of anticipation, you should probably grow the hell up. Nobody, but nobody, should have that kind of power over you, unless they share your DNA or your checking account. Yeah, okay: maybe she’s shockingly likable, her ass defies all description, and she’s the only woman you’ve ever met who likes the dumb music you do. Whatever — calm down. The sun will still rise tomorrow if you don’t hear her voice tonight.
By the way, I don’t dispense this advice idly. I have been precisely this kind of idiot before. See, about three years ago, I had a fascinating woman on lockdown. Or so I thought. After our meeting at a cocktail party was sealed with what seemed like a very meaningful kiss on the cheek, she added me on Instagram and started liking all my photos. She was just straight-up going for it.
So I called her. I figured, why not? Well, she answered the phone cautiously, with a nervous “um, hello?” And when said hi and asked her what she was doing, she said, “I’m at the grocery store.” There was an awkward silence while I tried to mentally compose some sort of quirky vegetable joke. When my brain failed me, I said, “Hey, are you free tomorrow?” “Yeah,” she said, “Just text me,” with the kind of tone a woman uses on a misguided toddler.
After our phone call, she decided she wasn’t free tomorrow. Suspiciously, she also wasn’t free that weekend. In fact, we never went out. What happened was, with that out-of-the-blue phone call, I transformed, in her mind, from “interesting writer-type” to “desperate writer-type who’s treating me like an oasis in a merciless desert.” I learned a significant lesson that day. I now pass it on to you.
There is only one exception: Call her if she asks you to. Of course. Don’t be dumb.