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October 9, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

If you give a boy your number and he doesn't call, what does that mean?

-- Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Oh, I have such a good story about this -- worth a rare glimpse into the sparingly revealed BG-autobiography -- based on my long-ago date with a movie star who shall remain relatively nameless.

So we have this great date. Great. Theater, dinner, drinks, drinks. Another round. Talkingandtalkingandtalking at this old-school New York tavern, hardly noticing that the stools are all up on the counter and we're the only ones there besides the David Lynch-style barkeep, sweeping back and forth in one place. We're laughing, connecting, meeting each other's gaze. Awwww, yeah. The kind of date other people have.

Finally, though, we must tear ourselves away; even superheroes and movie stars have school nights. He hails me a cab. We thank each other. I take a step toward the taxi. There is a pause. A brief, swollen, electric spark-pricked silence. Then he speaks.

"See ya."

See ya?



For weeks Friday and I obsess, Seinfeld episode style, over tone and inflection. SEE ya? See YA? What could he mean? More to the point, how lame did THAT sound?! Fortunately, our inquiry distracted me from the ringing silence of the telephone. Of course he never called. But of course you know what he should have said in that moment: "I'll call you." Mmmm hmmm. Even if it were a big fat lie. Yep. Because it's not actually a lie, anyway. It's filler. Packing-peanuts for a fragile point in time. WD-40 for the moment. Same as "Great, how are you?" or "Tell 'em I say hi!/Will do!" Blah, blah, blah. We don't mean 'em, but without 'em, arguably, we sound...mean.

So women, don't worry about this "I'll call you" thing any more. We have more important battles, such as campaign finance reform and social security. And guys, don't be surprised/miffed if you get I'llcallyoued, too.

And by the way, not calling might also mean...calling is scary. So if you've got the guts (and the digits), just follow the Prison Principle: you get one phone call. Drop a dime and say hey. Or try e-mail (Calling Lite). But don't dwell (as in, by the phone). Get back out and meet the guy you will see again, and not just in the movies.

Breakup Girl



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