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The New Ways Guys Dodge A Date

Attention, ladies: Did your guy go AWOL? Here are the latest (sorry) ways men try to sideline you.

By Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro

he Artful Dodger was the colorful, trenchcoat-wearing pickpocket in Oliver Twist, named for his wiliness at committing petty theft and avoiding arrest. Eventually, he is nabbed with a silver snuff box and shipped off. A lot of male daters are not too far off: adept at dodging early dating situations without much explanation. Indeed, when the dating motor is sputtering, many men shut it off and walk away, or allow the engine to idle, occasionally giving it a nonchalant rev to prevent stalling. Either way, it’s the same old tricks and hedges, well-known connivances practiced by those uncomfortable with an “honesty-is-best” policy.

Below are our “worst hits” compilations of date escapes. Peruse this list,
Letting the call go straight to voicemail is a default dodge.
and know that guys who use these strategies are to be avoided so your self-esteem can blossom:

Dodge #1: Straight to Voicemail
Straight to voicemail (STV) is the default dodge, and every dater has caught an STV on occasion. With the advent of caller ID, mystery suitors disappeared and only the chosen few were granted a hello. Like an experienced arborist, dating veterans have learned to count and decipher the rings: a full sequence of unanswered rings (i.e., the recipient is away from their phone), no ring (i.e., recipient’s phone is turned off or lacks a cell signal) and the dreaded two rings STV (i.e., the guy checked the caller ID, scoffed, and promptly pressed the “Ignore” button). After two STVs, you’re wise to move on.

Dodge #2: The Put-Off
When total avoidance isn’t an option, the put-off plus multi-step close is a common dodging method: “Let’s talk Tuesday and see how the weekend is shaping up. Sound good?” Translation: Consider yourself lightly penciled in, like a crossword clue, subject to erasure without notice. Guys who employ this are unsure about another meeting, but if nothing better pops up… who knows? Half-baked plans and whisperings of “I’ll meet you there” that are never intended to be taken literally fit here as well. When making pliable plans (e.g., “My friend might be having a party on Saturday… we’ll talk…”), the dodger’s built-in escape clause is in selling the anticipation, not the confirmation. Do you really want to be part of that?

Dodge #3: Tech Difficulties
Blame it on a dropped Razr, cell-phone bill mishap/suspension of service, or lack of antenna bars. Unprincipled theatrical types might even try mimicking static, “Can you… chhhhhhh… hear me… chhhhhh?” Bounced back emails and
Some guys enlist roommates to give you false information.
phantom text message troubles fall under this category, too. As technology and email become more and more reliable, this lame dodge is shady and rarely believable. You might want to suddenly encounter your own problem with dropped calls.

Dodge #4: Roommate Scapegoat
Some escape artists delegate dirty work to a patsy with nothing to lose… except the message. “Oh, my roommate never told me you stopped by.” For further effect, some even enlist their roommates to give you false information (“Didn’t he mention he’d joined the Peace Corps?”) Trust your b.s. detector.

Dodge #5: Iffy Emergencies
Feigned flat tires, family “emergencies” and illnesses that don’t actually require prescription drugs are sadly still part of the dodger’s lineup. Like the mini-whoppers used at your first post-college job, these implausible excuses will get him by, but won’t earn marks toward a long-term career as a worthwhile mate.

Dodge #6: A Crazy Workload
Following radio silence, communication resurfaces two weeks later. Whether caused by a rut of datelessness or a truly hectic fortnight, a dodger will utter: “Things got crazy at work.” Potentially, this can jumpstart a fizzled romance, albeit from square one. When this option is spurred by Happy Hour, this quickly sounds like a pathetic Plan B “booty call” attempt. If you don’t want to partake in that kind of romance, simply ask him, “I’m sorry, who is this?”

Dodge #7: The Phantom Girlfriend
“I’m seeing someone else right now.” When dodgers pull out this line, they want prospects to feel like they’ve been waitlisted and may be called in the future. Sometimes, a stronger tale is spun (“I’ve met my soulmate/future spouse/mother of my children”). If you get this whopper, don’t even consider waiting for him to find a spot for you. Move on.


Phineas Mollod traded his J.D. for the editorial life and is often found riding the congested E train with his wife and daughter in New York. Jason Tesauro pushes pen and ink by day and leads the MGAffairs.com lifestyle seminar series by night, ne'er far from his sweetheart and a Brady Bunch houseful 'o tots in Virginia. Together they are the authors of The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice and The Modern Lover: A Playbook for Suitors, Spouses, and Ringless Carousers.
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