Seriously, why the heck doesn't he call?
THAT is the question. A modern girl's mantra and a curse.
Since the invention of the telephone, this is the dilemma women across the world have been dealing with, and with not much luck. Why Doesn't A Man Call remains one of the priority topics tackled during girlfriends' endless phone chats and coffee shop get-togethers, at women's online forums and in relationship books. It wins over the breaking news, baby raising issues, popular recipes and career advice.
"I met this great guy, we hit it off immediately and he took my number. It has already been three days, and he hasn't called yet. He must have lost my number, otherwise what's wrong?!.."
"We've been dating for a few months, and it has been wonderful. But he hasn't called me for a week - why? Should I call him myself?"
"My boyfriend calls me only once a day. Doesn't he miss me? Is it so hard to pick up the phone and call?"
I can't count the times I have been asked stuff like that by my female buddies and I am embarrassed to confess how often I myself have been pondering this (often rhetorical) question. My girlfriends and I eagerly analyzed and reexamined the situations for hours only to get more confused. My Moscow State and Columbia universities' degrees and my flashy curriculum vitae didn't help: no matter how much we know, when it comes to relationship land, we, girls, sometimes get to feel helpless and vulnerable. And this is particularly challenging for the women who grew up in the semi-feminist world and are so used to scheming and planning. We've become incredibly good at managing our lives and get frustrated when something (or someone) gets out of our control.
Plus the reasons to "why he doesn't call" are so plentiful. The woman's fantasy's a wonderland, so we speculate, and plot, and project possible scenarios, building more and more interpretations. Did he drop his phone into the toilet or accidentally delete my number? Is he sick, too busy, too tired, too shy, too spineless, afraid of rejection or unsure - about me, himself or the relationship? Or perhaps between the last date and now he might have lost his job, or his great grandmother has died, or he could have gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend... Unless he is a good schemer, too,- some dating experts advise guys to wait two-three days before calling a girl in order not to appear too desperate. (Not that I have ever met a guy who read dating advice.)
Psychology manuals insist (justly!) that men are very different from women - the truth we've somehow started to ignore during the last 50 years. Men do think, feel and react differently. Their relationship timeline might also be different from that of women; therefore, it could take a man up to weeks if not months to decide to pick up the phone and call. Finally, love issues in general don't have a similar toll on men as they do on us, girls. Not that relationships are not important for the opposite sex, but guys just tend to think less about them. Especially if the stock market crashes, a car incidentally breaks down, or there's a Manchester United vs. Zenit match on that evening.
Or - and this option women are most reluctant to consider - the non-calling man might not be very much into us. The 2004 bestseller by two New York writers suggested just this. The book, provocatively titled "He's Just Not That Into You" (a star-struck Hollywood movie with the same title came out a few years later) called women to lose control and step back, giving in to the utmost and nearly forgotten law of nature - men being The Hunters. No matter how metrosexual they have become lately. "We like not knowing if we can catch you. We feel rewarded when we do. Especially when the chase is a long one. We know there was a sexual revolution. (We loved it.) We know women are capable of running governments, heading multinational corporations, and raising loving children - sometimes all at the same time. That, however, doesn't make men different," one of the book's authors, Greg Behrendt, wrote.
Yeah, that's exactly what my mother used to preach to me since I was in middle school. An overachiever already then, I used to argue that times have changed and gender dynamics have as well. Why do we need to wait and torture ourselves, I lamented, when things could be so much simpler?
Still, imagine the world where men always called and, moreover, always did what the women wanted them to. No more mind games, no more disappointments, no anticipation, no losing - but no winning either. And no more mystery and excitement. Emotions, if any, running flat. A strange world it would be, I tell you. I don't know how we'd even procreate in that world at all unless mass cloning takes over.
So my answer to a yet another girlfriend pondering on this near-Hamletian dilemma would be that he'd eventually call. Or he won't. It's just something we, women, can't really control - to the better.
Women Talk: Too Much of a New Year
Russia has always been referred to as feminine and Russian women have been one of the most popular stereotypes of this nation, both positive and negative. But is this an all-male fantasy? Here is a hip, modern, professional and increasingly globalized Russian woman looking at the trends around her, both about her gender and the society at large. She talks and lets other women talk.
Svetlana Kolchik, 33, is deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire magazine. She holds degrees from the Moscow State University Journalism Department and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has worked for Argumenty i Fakty weekly in Moscow and USA Today in Washington, D.C., and contributed to RussiaProfile.org, Russian editions of Vogue, Forbes and other publications.