Writing left handed

Like Clockwork: What Men and Trains Have in Common

Interlaken, Abendberg, and Lake Thun viewed fr...

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There are few things in this world more reliable than the Swiss rail system.  I know this because when I was 17, I blitzed from Strasbourg to Interlaken to Vienna with my then-boyfriend and despite our half-baked travel plans, we never missed a connection.

What exactly does this have to do with dating?  We’ll, I’ve stumbled upon a little “universal truth” and unlike that which plagued Jane Austen’s hapless Bennet sisters this one actually holds water.

My discovery is hardly rocket science; we already know that guys don’t call when you want them to call.  What’s less commonly known (or perhaps known but more generally ignored) is the fact that you can predict the exact hour a man will call once you start ignoring him.  And you can predict this with all the certainly of the Swiss rail system.

How so?  Well, to put it plainly, men are simple creatures.  (Sorry guys, it’s true.)  You don’t want what is easily obtained any more than we women genuinely want you to throw yourselves at our feet.  This is because the illusion of being unattainable suggests value and there’s little value in something that can be obtained for free (unless of course it’s chocolate).

As such, if a man says he going to call you to set up a coffee date but texts you with a half hearted “How r u?” instead, you should ignore him.

Don’t worry.  He’ll be back.  And just like the train from Interlaken to Vienna, he’ll be on time (exactly 36 hours later, according to my latest calculations).

I know this because I tested my new hypothesis with The Civilian last week.  I’ve dubbed my newest prospect “The Civilian” because we met in the real world—not on Match.com or eHarmony or Plenty of Fish but rather in the Mt. Airy coffee shop where I’ve taken to spending my Friday afternoons.

He was working on his laptop at the table next to me and spent the better part of an hour making inane but hopeful comments (“It’s cold in here, isn’t it?” and “Is that tea that you’re drinking?”).  Never one to miss an opportunity for the improvement of my social skills, I tossed a few brilliant, monosyllabic replies in his direction (“Yeah” and “It’s chai”) and got back to my work.

It wasn’t until he inquired, “How on earth can you sit with your legs tucked underneath you like that?” that I bothered to look up from my computer.  This is probably because he concluded his little interrogation with “I could never sit like that.  I’m 6’4”.”

6’4”?  You don’t say…

From that moment on, I was all smiles and charm and “Here’s my card, give me a shout if you’re ever here again.”  (I meant to say, “Here’s my card, give me a shout if you’d like to grab a drink sometime” but having discovered that the man seated beside me was a rather deadly combination of tall, dark and handsome, I wimped out.)

What can I say?  It’s not every day—not ever, actually—that I meet someone dateable during my “office hours.”  He caught me off guard.

Fortunately I’d regained my footing by the time he said he’d call and didn’t.  I ignored him and when I finally deigned (36 hours later) to reply to his latest text, it was only to inform him that I was “too busy” to meet (and thanks to the show I’m co-producing for the Philly Fringe, this was the honest-to-God-truth).

Moral of the story?  He apologized.  And asked to reschedule.  And asked again before finally offering to just join me during my “office hours” at the very same coffee shop where we first met.

See?  Like clockwork.  You could set your watch by a man-about-town because once you start ignoring him, he’ll become as predictable as the Swiss rail system.

10 Responses to “Like Clockwork: What Men and Trains Have in Common”

  1. Debbie

    Oh yes…the tried and true policy works. If you want a man to come to you, tell him to go away…

  2. Zak

    Funny how that works. Before I was married, my then-girlfriend/fiance always wanted to play hard to get. She hated when I gave her presents for no reason, did nice little things, etc. She wanted to be a rebel. As soon as we were married, she hated it when I didn’t do those exact things. Basically, she wanted to be treated like royalty.

    So, to retort, my “universal truth” about women is this: women’s wants change 180 degrees from dating to marriage, and they expect us simple creatures (it’s true, we are) to understand that. Ha!

  3. Katie

    I realize this has nothing to do with your post, but I love Strasbourg! I spent a couple weeks there, oh… 8 years ago?? Wow, it really has been that long.

    And I’ve tried to get Matthew (he’s a real-life friend at Inside the Nice Guy) to understand the “value theory” because sometimes he seems too forward, which has a tendency to scare women off, but yeah – there’s a fine line between flat-out game playing and leaving no mystery whatsoever. This guy sounds sexy! Hopefully he’s not just playing games. 😉

  4. Tech Support

    That is the worst advice ever, don’t ignore guys just to play the game. There are guys who think if you ignore them, you are not interested and want them to leave you alone. They respectively might think you would prefer not to be pestered buy a guy your not into.

  5. Lincoln

    (Long time teader, first time commenter)
    Uggh! Uggh! Uggh!

    You tell us to go away when you want attention, you tell us to go away when you don’t want attention. Can you blame us “simple minded creatures” for being confused? I’m glad you’re at least admitting it. I think all of the mistakes in my naiscent dating life can be attributed to this.

    There are women I’ve expresed interest in and have blown me off who I haven’t pursued out of respect.

    There’s one woman who I took being ignored after agreeing to a date as a “try again later, but do a better job next time” when she really meant “go away, I’m just recoonected with a friend from high school and want to see where things go there” (and since we bump into each other in the same circles, that’s not awkward at all).

    The thing I like most about the lady I’m seeing at the moment is that she tells me (verbally or otherwise) what she’s actually thinking and I don’t have to pull out my magic decoder ring to figure out what she’s thinking/wants/expects from me. Oh, and she laughs at my jokes. A lot.


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