Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear NAW, I Want Her to Text Me First

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For the past three months, a particularly persistent reader has been emailing NAW every two weeks, with the same question. And while we don't usually provide a dating advice column, his persistence seems to merit an answer. Here's his question: 

Dear NAW,
I have been exhanging  phone and text messages the last couple of months with this  pretty  coworker  at the bank  i work at. I know for a fact she likes me. She is very pleasant to speak with at work and on the phone. For some reason, while she does answer all my phone calls and texts, she has never called me on a particular day first.  Is there any way  to entice her to call me first more often. I do see promise in this relationship.   I would really  appreciate your advice.  Thanks!


Dear Claude, 
You're asking the wrong question. You don't need to play games or manipulate her behavior, you just need to take the relationship to the next level. You want a relationship, you see promise in it, you know for a fact she likes you - so why are you only talking to her in person at work? Take a risk, and ask her to do something in person. Then go from there. There could be a million different reasons why she's not initiating text messages with you, so don't try to guess. Just ask her out if you want to get to know her better. If something else confuses you down the road, just ask her about it. 


Dear Hopelessly Waiting,
Stop being a coward and ask the poor lady out already!

M.C Elliot


  1. Carl, I've been thinking of replacing the phrase "man up" with something gender neutral, but I can't find one with the same punch. "Grow up" doesn't carry the same connotation, and "adult up" doesn't work either. There's always "suit up," but that's a little too specific, plus women's suits are usually modified with the word "pant" or "skirt" as in "pant suit."

    A couple of my friends quote a professor who always says, "Stop being a Sally and put on your man pants." I love that phrase, but I can't in good conscience use it. Decisions, decisions...

  2. My personal favourite has long been "put on your grownup pants and deal with it!" because it can refer to most people.

  3. I stand by my comment. "Buck up" is the gender-neutral form we use in my family, if you'd rather.

  4. No, Carl, buck up is not gender neutral. A buck is male.

  5. I don't think the phrase "buck up" means "act like a male animal." Doing a quick perusal of internet dictionary sites seems to validate me on this one. While the noun form of "buck" is male, the verb form is not. It's gender neutral. Unless, of course, women can't be encouraged, heartened, or have their morale raised. But I don't think that's true.

  6. Carl, we're talking etymology here, not intentions. I fully believe that you intend "buck up" to be gender neutral when you say it. I also fully believe that the manifest message is gender-neutral. The latent message, however, remains gender-biased in the same way "sissy" is biased even though people don't literally mean "sister" when they tell someone not to be one.

  7. PS - did your brother ever tell you about the gender-biased-language discussion we had in one of his papers, via my inserted comments and his revisions? If not, you should ask him about the robots.

  8. So at what point do we declare a word changed enough from its origins that we can safely say it's lost the original gendered connotation?

    i.e., I consider myself a reasonably well-informed human, but I had no idea about the etymology of "sissy."

    If your answer is "never," then we simply disagree.

  9. No, Carl, my answer is not "never." However, "buck up" is really, really close to its origins still, so I'm not sure we even need to discuss how long we need to wait before ignoring the origins of that phrase.