'Can you here me now?'
I have an online dating issue. When a man and I are going to have our first phone chat, I set up a specific day and time so we don't have to play phone tag. This allows me to schedule around it and be prepared and at my computer viewing his profile when we talk. I take the man's number and call him, because I'm not comfortable giving out mine right away. During my several years of online dating, the percentage of guys who aren't there at the planned time has been about 90. Many never contact me again, even to explain or apologize. — Feeling Very Stood Up
A woman can be a little premature in setting up who wears the ball gag in the relationship.
Telling somebody they need to talk to you at a specific time might work fine in business, but because men tend to be wary of controlling women, it's a risky tactic when you're vying to maybe become a guy's girlfriend, not his supervisor. But, here you are, not only setting the call time but informing a guy that he'll be doing the waiting and you'll be doing the calling. Very possibly, there's more in your e-mails that suggests you're bossy and controlling. If so, for a guy, this can foreshadow a lot of being ordered around by you: "Sit. Stay. Repeat after me, 'I'd love nothing more than to turn off the playoffs and join you in watching Valerie Bertinelli kill her abusive husband with a shovel in the Lifetime Movie of the Week.'"
The dynamic of Internet dating probably plays a part in your 90 percent no-show rate. Instead of connecting human to human in some chance meeting, it's the dating equivalent of clicking a box on drugstore.com to add Q-tips to your "basket."
You're not so much a person as you are a picture of a person, and whether you'll actually resemble the person pictured remains to be seen. No, you swear, you really are 5-foot-8 and 127 pounds ... on Mars. (Here on Earth you're 317 — if you weigh yourself first thing and don't put on socks.)
Now, maybe you have a peculiar attraction to rude men, but more than likely, you just need to try something new: Relax a little. Give out your number. Not your home number, connected to your address, but the number to your cell or one of those pay-as-you-go phones that isn't traceable to you. Should you start getting unwanted calls, put the thing on silent or give it to some wino and tell him to answer it by breathing heavy and asking, "Are you wearing crotchless panties?"
Instead of trying to wring every bit of uncertainty out of your life, accept that there might be a little phone tag. When you do get on the phone with a guy, step away from the computer and your spreadsheet of questions. Your goal shouldn't be vacuuming him for data; it should be having fun getting to know him.
If you're having fun, you'll be more likely to sound like fun — like the sort of woman who keeps the spark in a relationship (and not by tasing the guy whenever he's a little slow to take out the trash).
Must love dogs in bed
The guy I'm dating says it's "disgusting" and "troubling" that I let my dogs sleep in the bed with us, and he refuses to stay over unless they sleep on the floor. Trust me, this is not a simple matter of buying my dogs a nice dog bed, but a matter of an otherwise great guy not understanding or respecting my relationship with them. (This happened with the last two guys I've dated.) — Two-Dog Night
A guy can respect that your dogs are important to you and still feel that the ideal bedmate isn't something that spent the evening licking a dead squirrel and then going around sniffing all its friends' butts. If your priorities are such that you'd kick a great guy out of bed before you'd roust a Great Dane, you'd better understand and accept that you're narrowing your choice of men. You might consider whether you have some ulterior motive for putting your dogs between you and these guys.
It is easier to have a "relationship" when conversation is "Woof," "Sit" and "Treat?" instead of "So why do you think you have issues with intimacy?" It's possible you're just one of those intense dog people, like the woman who had her French poodle's headstone inscribed "Disappointed by humans, never by my dog."
Well, OK. But, I bet she never had a boyfriend who peed on the rug, chewed her expensive shoes, and licked up his own vomit.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or firstname.lastname@example.org (advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle to Beat Some Manners into Impolite Society.