Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Problem or Reality?: The Girl Who's Never Heard a Man's Voice Ask Her Out

I spoke to a young woman the other day (23-24-year-old  range) who told me something I found totally and completely shocking.

Never in her roughly 10 years of having guys ask her out on dates has she actually received said invite via the man's voice. They've come via text, gchat, Facebook message and direct message tweet, but never through the actual mouth of the actual man - zero in person requests, zero phone calls. She has only ever read the words, "want to hang out Friday" on a screen of varying sizes.

I was like - OH MY GOD THAT IS OUTRAGEOUS AND TERRIBLE AND SAD. What is this digital world coming to?? How are we all going to survive?? No one should ever accept a date request over a text ever again! Boycott it all! Voice date requests only! Damn the men!!!

Then I brought this very topic up at a recent event attended by like aged individuals. And by "brought it up" I mean halted all conversation and shared my story with shaking rage. Much to my dismay, nobody else was particularly upset. "Makes sense," they said, and, "this is the world we live in," and, "20-something just need to learn to be appropriate inside that structure." They weren't agreeing with this recent development, but they weren't suggesting we revolt either.

It was - in a re-written cliche - "you can't beat them, so learn how to handle them."

I realize we can't go back in time to the days when men had to show up at your house to ask you out.

"Imagine how pissed girls were once the telephone was invented and guys didn't have to ride their horse up to your log cabin to request a date," one friend said.

But to me the problem with the shield that texting and other digital communication provides is that it delays your understanding of whether or not the person doing the asking is an actual adult worth your time. You can edit and re-edit a text ten times before you send. You can lie about your entire person in an e-mail before the first date. Yes, you can lie on the phone too, but there's something about making the effort to place that nerve-wracking phone call that separates the man/women from the boys/girls. I want that layer of protection - that personal moment. I don't want the first time I hear someone's voice to be when I'm sitting across the table from them over drinks.

I guess the question is, how totally out of touch am I? Is the digital age actually good for the "ask out" process in ways my granny brain can't understand? And who among you have also never heard a person's voice ask you on a date?


  1. Recently, two different guys have ONLY called me to ask me out and to be honest, I really just wanted them to text me. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I knew they weren't my prince charming, but texts give me a chance to collect my thoughts and sound amazingly witty (or so I like to think)! I will say that the phone call was a brave and bold move, and that has got to count for something!

  2. Depends on the girl, I'd say. I'm 23, and I hate the phone. We're talking a deep, visceral loathing of calling someone "just to chat." That's what I use gchat for (for better or worse; I accept that opinions diverge on this front). So while I see your point about the guts involved in making that phone call, for me it would probably seem totally incongruous within the context of how I normally communicate with people.

    Let me think. I believe my last boyfriend made the point to call me the first time he formally asked me out. Like, interrupted us texting to do it. And while I thought it was a sweet gesture, I didn't think it was necessary. It actually threw me, because I'm so uncomfortable on the phone with people I don't know (really, really) well. The times I've been asked out since then have all been online/through texts--but so has all of my plan coordination with friends. So it never struck me as weird, much less outrageous/terrible/sad/caps-worthy. :)

    1. Just curious, what do you do when you need to use the phone at work?

  3. When my brother starting dating his girlfriend two years ago I remember our conversation clearly. He called and toild me he met this girl he liked and asked if he should text her or call her. I basically shouted through the phone CALL!!!! Because I am a firm believer that men hide behind texts so they dont have to face rejection and that a woman responds to the courage it takes to call and ask something like that. So he called. And it scared the crap out of her because she had never had anyone do that. But it scared her in a good way. The kind that two years later they are talking about getting married, and she still talks about the day he called her and how impressed she was. I believe one day there is going to be a course in college called "verbal communication 101" and "eye contact." Yet, I say all this while currently holding two iphones and an ipad and typing on my laptop. :(

  4. I get the whole would-rather-text-than-call thing, especially now, when it's becoming less and less common for people to use the call feature on their phone. now that we're so used to seeing text and being able to take a minute to react and think about a proper response, it's 20x more awkward than it was before to hear the other person breathing on the other end, waiting for your/her/his response.

  5. That ain't nothin'!
    Just wait and see what gutless wonders they are when it's break up time!

  6. yeah, it's not really a big deal. I am 29 and married, but I see that stuff go down all the time, and I don't necessarily think it separates the boys from the men. My brother in law (22) asked his girlfriend out through facebook, and they became official through a series of text. It's sweet, they love each other, they are happy, and they seem very normal. It's a new world, and I kinda think it's cool that a new way of communicating has opened up. Some people aren't good at expressing their feeling on the spot. A text message/email can help them sort out their feelings. And I mean honestly, I can bet there were plenty of people back in the 'old days' whose entire courtship was played out through mail correspondence. How is that different then an email or text? It's kinda romantic, really.

  7. We obviously live in a digital age where the way we communicate is drastically changing, but I find myself having a hard time embracing the technology sometimes, especially when it comes to dating. While I communicate with friends and family through text, there's something about this whole "asking a girl out via text" thing that seems insincere to me. Approaching someone in person or making a phone call requires infinitely more courage and effort than punching a few buttons on your phone does. When it comes to a first date, I'd be way more impressed and pleased with a phone call. Texting just seems lazy.

    PS- love your blog!

  8. At 27, I have been asked out exactly once in person, every other time has been via some sort of digital technology. What's worse, in my opinion, is the "Want to hang out?" question -- guys don't even ask you on a date, they leave this vague "hanging out" thing out there that leaves you wondering if they're asking you on a date or to do something as friends... or maybe that's just my own issues coming through (I had a date two weeks ago that ended really awkwardly after I spent the majority of said date trying to determine if it was a date or not).

  9. Voice communication no questions asked. To me it shows you really like someone. And if you do, enough to ask someone out, picking up the phone isn't that grand of a gesture. I would hope you'd make a much larger one in the weeks to come!

  10. As an older man (43), I get why women think that men should call. However, women, who seldom ask men out, don't realize just how much it can hurt. Guys react to getting rejected in different ways. Some handle it well. Others decide to ask out more women, so that the rejections aren't important. And some either stop asking anyone out or take long breaks in between rejections.

    What strikes me is that this discussion doesn't really take into account the man's feelings at all. It's as though men are required to feel rejection, and the more immediate, the better.

    Remember, if a man asks a woman out, he has to be prepared for her not to like him, to reject him. Which means that either he has to not care, which more often than not creates men that are cads; or else he will ask women out less, because avoiding pain is often better than the effort exerted.

    In a saner world, men and women would just go out without there being any pressure. They would get to know one another before deciding if they were actually interested. Making the process less traumatic, I believe, leads to that world. And yes, it means that you will go on more dates that could be bummers. Ok. But keep in mind that in doing so, you're helping that person be better socially, which is good for everyone.

    And of course, if you don't like that, there's always the other solution: women should ask men out.

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