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One thing you can usually depend on with men (other than leaving the toilet seat up), is that you can take our words at face value.  Our speech is primarily goal-oriented and our words can be taken literary.  One important example to the contrary, however, is the phrase, "I'll call you." On the surface, this phrase sounds simple enough: Three little words that seem to promise a future interaction.  But the truth is, more often than not, when uttered by a guy at the close of a first date, all they really mean is "good-bye."

So why do guys break with their usual direct (some might call blunt) language usage and opt for a pleasantry that is intentionally misleading, and has left more than a few women wondering if their phone service, hearing, or understanding of the English language is faulty?  The answer may surprise you.  It is primarily because the end of a date is a particularly stressful time for men, and we're looking for an exit line that is both brief and vaguely upbeat.  "I'll call you," fills the bill to a "t."


You see, for a man, the end of a date is the culmination of a serious amount of effort on his part.  First he had to risk rejection to ask you out.  Then he had to spend the evening trying to impress you with his wit, intelligence, charm and accomplishments, while avoiding alienating you with his opinions, arrogance, poor conversational skills or lack of proper table etiquette.  He wants to make sure everything goes right so at the end of the evening your clothing will magically melt away and the two of you will be joined in a sweaty, undulating mass of ecstatically-intertwined flesh, knowing all the while that, at best, he'll likely have to settle for a little tongue and a quick feel. But he is also aware that he may fall far short of his goal.  His attempt to initiate physical interaction may subject him to rejection, ridicule or being seriously laughed at. Or, horror of horrors, when he goes in for a lip lock, you might shift the target at the last moment causing him the ultimate humiliation – a close encounter with your cheek.  

So the pressure is on.  And if he is unsure of how well the date went, how much you liked him, how much he liked you or all of the above, and  your parting kiss, hug, handshake or fist-bump was unfulfilling and/or gut-wrenchingly awkward, he may be hard-pressed to come up with some succinct witticism to bid you an appropriate farewell.  And at this point, though he may be uncertain about the future of your relationship, he still doesn't want to ruin any possible potential with you by abruptly saying, "Ciao," "It's been real," or "See ya'."  Thus he trots out that trusty old chestnut, "I'll call you," which allows him to quickly extricate himself from an uncomfortable situation with optimism and a little dignity.  If he actually is satisfied with your evening together, he will probably be true to those words and dial, email, fax or text you for a repeat performance.  If, on the other hand, he is undecided about his feelings or deflated, disappointed or depressed by your encounter, he can now safely retreat to the sanctuary of his abode and engage in quiet introspection to determine how he really feels about you and a potential second date.  Or he can just get drunk and watch internet porn.

If you have any questions about men, relationships, dating or a related topic, please feel free to email them to me at: I will try to answer as many as I possibly can here in my column.

(C)2008 David M. Matthews.  All Rights Reserved.


Member Comments

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Now its Ill Text you and lets Hook up.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Nov 22, 2008
    • I read “He just not that into you.” I loved the book and it is full of the rest of the excuses we accept along with “I’ll call you.” After I read it I passed it on.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Nov 23, 2008
    • annie123,

         The authors are from Sex and the City. I don’t know if they have access or where to find them. If and when I do I will let you know.

         The concept as I understand it, is that men say everything and anything to keep from telling you the truth, “He’s just not that into you.”  

         One chapter states that he’s just not that into you if he’s having sex with someone else. He’s just not that into you if he disappeared.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      David M. Matthews wrote Nov 23, 2008
    • Hi Annie,

      In general, when I write my columns, I do so to make a point about how men think in order to stimulate thought and discussion.  In my article above, I have already stated my case, and as such, I view the comment section as a place for other people to agree or disagree, and share their stories and experiences related to the topic (like you did above).

      I monitor my blog and read every comment, but seldom feel the necessity to re-insert myself into the mix.  Since, however, you have requested my presence - here I am ("speak and ye shall receive").  I'll be happy to answer any question you might have, or offer clarification to any point I made above.

      Looking forward to hearing back from you.



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