Red Flags

Dear Steve,
Your column last  week was a cop-out. Although your answer was clever and funny in a caveman sense (hey this is the year 2000, remember?), you evaded the question completely – “WHY DON’T MEN CALL WHEN THEY SAY THEY WILL”? If they were even half-way smart, they wouldn’t promise to call at all. WHY CAN’T THEY FIGURE THAT OUT? When a man tells me they’ll call me, it goes in one ear and out the other – I barely even hear it anymore. I only hear the sound of red flags blowing in the breeze, which indicates that they’re fools to even say it and worse yet have no intention of following through on even a remotely rational time frame.

I was aiming for clever, not insightful. In my experience, clever answers are usually funnier than insightful answers. Nonetheless, I accept your challenge, and I will now risk boring my readers (both of them) by seriously answering the question, “Why don’t men call when they say they will?” But first, I’d like to make one or two comments.

There are many men who actually do call when they say they will. These men are usually polite and non-threatening in any way. Unfortunately, few women are interested in these men. The cliche “men don’t call” exists because many women prefer self-absorbed Alpha Males (like me) who don’t place calling women at the top of their priority list. Saying that ‘men don’t call’ is like saying ‘all chicken is fried.’ Obviously, all chicken is not fried – there’s also roasted chicken and tandoori chicken. If somebody thinks all chicken is fried, I’d say that person only likes fried chicken and ignores other kinds of chicken. Perhaps this aversion to men who do call is an example of Groucho Marx’ axiom “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

It’s clear you’re one of those women who likes men who don’t call. Why? Because you’ve dated so many of them, that whenever any man says he’ll call, you can only “hear the sound of red flags blowing in the breeze.” By the way, when you hear flags blowing in the breeze, how do you know they’re red? Do red flags sound different than other colored flags? Here’s another question – why have you, and millions of other women, dated so many guys who don’t call that it has turned into a stereotype? Let me answer that. Ninety-four percent of the reason is that millions of women grew up with emotionally distant fathers, men who were so preoccupied with work or their own lives, that they did not give adequate amounts of attention to their daughters.

Most of these daughters still love their distant fathers and desire, unconsciously, to fix that old wound by recreating the situation of their childhoods. The unconscious logic is this: by receiving attention from another emotionally unavailable man (like the guy who doesn’t call), a woman will heal the pain of not receiving adequate attention from her emotionally distant father. Receiving attention from emotionally available men (men who return phone calls) doesn’t scratch that particular psychological itch. The funny thing about emotionally unavailable men, however, is that they’re emotionally unavailable. I think this is what Nietzsche meant by “the eternal recurrence of the same.”

Finally, here are some possible answers to your question: “Why don’t men call when they say they will?”
1) They actually mean it when they say it, but they’re so damn busy they forget to call. An honest mistake for any hard-working man.
2) They actually mean it when they say it, but they’re intimidated by the whole phone call thing. They can’t think of what to say, they aren’t sure if you really want them to call, they start feeling insecure, etc. An honest mistake for any wishy-washy man.
3) They don’t mean it, they just aren’t good with language. They can’t think of a graceful way to say “I don’t think we have the necessary chemistry to merit further contact.”
4) They don’t mean it, they’re just trying to be nice. Like when women say that size doesn’t matter.
5) Men don’t call because they know women want to be called by men who don’t want to call them.



Filed under Advice, Dating

3 responses to “Red Flags

  1. leisa

    6. They don’t call because they have been hurt beyond belief in the past by love, and don’t think it’s worth it to attempt again..?

  2. Rocco

    7. They don’t call because by calling, they immediately kill any attraction the woman may have had for them. By being an aloof, confident man who is absolutely indifferent to calling, the woman’s desire for him is exponentially increased…

  3. 8. Or they don’t call cuz they just don’t want to.

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