Why You Should Never Call Before a First Date

by Matthew J.X. Malady

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, comedy writer (and interim Hairpin editor!) Michelle Markowitz tells us more about contemporary dating communications etiquette.

Michelle! So what happened here?

One of my guy friends was telling me about a girl that he was going to ask out. He was asking if he should text her to ask when she could talk on the phone, thinking that if the phone call went well, he would ask her out. I’m not a huge fan of this for a couple reasons. I know our generation prefers to schedule phone calls, and there’s nothing more jarring than your phone ringing unexpectedly from someone called “Dan, patchy beard, Crown Heights??” but I think it’s better to just text to set up a first date. Plus, the pre-date phone call is tricky because aside from our parents, we are all so out of practice with actually talking on the phone to other human beings, much less trying to impress them with our easy going nature and love of John Candy’s early works (anyone else? just me?).

I think it’s much better to just text asking a girl out right away. We all like whiskey! How bad could it be?

But if you’ve been out several times, I personally (and many of my late millennial/Gen Y cohorts) love phone calls as part of early courtship. It’s like making out in cars or eating a lot of carbs — it’s sweet and brings back memories of something we used to love doing. Unfortunately, the guys of our generation would rather do anything other than talk on the phone — but still, on the whole, these are amazing times we live in.

My friend ended up texting the girl asking when they could talk, and they talked the next day for 20 minutes, and he said it was “just alright, I dunno?” They are hanging out this week, I believe. I asked if he’s ever had an amazing first phone call with someone he barely knew, and he said he had, but it never resulted in an equally amazing first date. Ultimately no one really knows what they are doing, but we all act as if we do to somehow seem like we have control over something really ephemeral.

That said, there is nothing I enjoy more than giving advice and setting people up (which somehow has never resulted in an actual loving human relationship, but has resulted in several tepid dates!).

What other invaluable dating advice gems have you doled out via text/gchat/etc?

Let’s see, if there’s any chance you want to hang out with a person again, you have to text the next morning/early afternoon at the latest. After any first date you are somewhat excited about, as soon as you finish recapping the night to your friends (“He said he’s into hiking and the outdoors, but I think we could work through it?”) they immediately ask if he’s texted yet.

Just do the industry standard desperately grasping for an inside joke from the night before text. Adorable! I think it’s cute even to do the “had a great time/[joke referencing something obscure from the night]/hope you got home ok” text that night, but I personally like that sort of thing.

Other advice: If you actually like a girl, just text her first before you do a ton of tweets the next morning. Fav her stuff. RT her if you’re really smitten. Try not to like other women’s beach Instagrams. Walk the line, etc. Make solid plans. Ask her how her day is going. The usual.

Lesson learned (if any)?

Almost a hundred percent of advice you give over gchat/text/brunch will never actually be listened to. But we’ll all keep giving it, and trying to figure it all out, cause you know.

Just one more thing.

Guys of New York: You’re killing us with all the tote bags this summer. Love you, though.

Matthew J.X. Malady is a writer and editor in New York.