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Full Version: Dating and Giving Out your Phone Number -- Safe?
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lillymarkman
I'm new to New York and I'm definitely interested in dating. But I have a concern about giving out my phone number. I feel really lame when a guy says "Can I have your number?" and I pause like an overly paranoid geek. And I actually said to a guy, "Actually, can I just give you my e-mail?" and I felt like an ass. I'm just a little concerned about handing out my phone number. But how else am I going to connect with anybody? E-mail just seems so lame to me. Is giving out your cell number safer? What do the rest of you do?
auralpoison
First, Welcome to Bust, Lilly. Good Busting to you! Do stop by here & introduce yourself:
http://lounge.bust.com/discus/messages/19/340.html?1151294375

I do feel I should drop a bit o' science on you. This topic did not need it's own thread when it would have easily fit here: http://lounge.bust.com/discus/messages/15/37127.html?1151349680

We here at the Lounge are self-moderated & it gums up the works to have an extraneous thread like yours. Also, it's appreciated that you go here if you want to start a new thread to see if other Busties feel it's warranted:
http://lounge.bust.com/discus/messages/19/1700.html?1151258527

Just wanted you to have the 411. Have fun & I'm sure we all can't wait to get to know you & have you be a part of our little community.
maimy
AP, I tend to agree, but a safety in dating thread *could* go. I would have thought it a good idea if someone had vetted it.

Lilly, if this does get off the ground, it may be more general than strictly about phone numbers. That said, my own solution was always to ask the guy to give me his number. For me, that felt better, it allowed me to control first contact without all the annoying "Is he going to call?" bullshit, and it assured me that all MY pertinent information was safe until further notice. I don't even like giving out my email too freely.
tyger
i'd be for a safety in dating thread. sure, if it was vetted it'd have a witty title, but i'm all for making use of threads once they're here
pollystyrene
Cell phone # is probably somewhat safer that giving out your home number.

If you're not really interested in the guy, but don't feel comfortable saying no, you could always give out a number from the Rejection Hotline, if there's a number for your area.
bklynhermit
you know, if i'm sure i'm not interested, i have no problem just saying, "actually, here's my email address..." or even "i'm sorry, but i'm just not interested." i even invent the occasional boyfriend if the number asker gets too insistent. i hate the notion that you HAVE to give out a number to be considered polite. fuck polite. i don't want to date you. we'll probably never see each other again. why should i compromise my feelings of safety so that you can feel like a player?

this probably comes from the same place in my hard, black little grinch heart that hangs up on telemarketers and blatantly ignores proselytizers and panhandlers in the subway. i figure i'm saving both of us a lot of time and energy.

if you do think you might maybe like the guy, though, that's more uncertain territory. you could play it cool and tell him that's an easier way to reach you when you give him your email address.

i wouldn't give someone my cell before my landline, though. if they're one of those over-persistent dudes, they can get in touch with you ALL the time. at least if it's the landline you can say you didn't get the message in time, etc.
auralpoison
I don't give my digits out too freely, but if I think a cat has potential I go with the cell. If he's a psycho, I can always toss the number & get a new one, lickety split.

I've never made up a boyfriend, I just tell 'em to feck off. If somebody is really persistant, I give them the number for the Rejection Line. Polly, I've got my local shit memorized!
pam76
I agree with Tyger, I think a safety thread is a good idea. You could talk about all those great tips for dealing with crime, like when somebody asks for your wallet, throw it as far away from you as you can, then run in the opposite direction. The idea is that the crook will be more interested in the money than you and will go after your wallet, and not bother chasing you. And you could post self-defense tips.
pam76
Oh and the phone thing -- I don't want to scare anyone but I read an article on the web that said that people with good tech skills can find out all kinds of stuff about you (home address, etc) with just your phone number -- INCLUDING cell phone numbers. So everybody please be careful. I'm not saying we're all going to be stalked, but identity theft is everywhere now. Lily, for dating purposes you can get a forwarding service that disguises you real phone number, and they're pretty cheap, my friend has one. I think hers is called Alias. Alias Phone, Alias Line, something like that. Look it up. You give out a fake number but still get the calls on your own phone. Much safer, probably worth it if you date a lot. (Although my friend uses it to run a phone sex business -- she can tell when it's a "customer" calling her fake number instead of a friend calling her real number, so she can ignor the customer if she's out to dinner or something. Think I should consider phone sex? She makes a decent amount of cash doing it. Although I think I'd probably crack up and ruin the mood.
venetia
I agree with Maimy. It's much easier to take their number.

Anyone who still "insists" on getting your phone number after you have said "but I don't want you to ever call me" should definately not be given any kind of number if you can help it, as it just encourages them to go around intimidating unwilling women. IMO.
pollystyrene
I just took a self-defense class, so I'd be happy to share my wisdom with everyone.

Such a coincidence, I just saw a commercial for PrivatePhone tonight- perfect solution!

And my sister was telling me about Mailinator, a temporary email address service.
emtee
I'm wary about giving out my phone number- it's always been unlisted, and I have changed it regularly- I've had a few run-ins with scary people. Cell phones are usually what I give out, because it's much easier to change a cell number than a land line.
karma77
I met a guy in a bar last fall who I thought was cute at the time. When requested to give my number, I usually ask for the guy's. However, this time, I gave him my cell number. Big mistake. He called me at 7am Sunday morning - the morning after I met him! I was completely stunned that anyone would do that). I told him I would call him back, but instead he called me a few hours later and started trying to play a guilt trip on me because I said I was busy hanging out with my sister. He was rude and arrogant, yet continued to call me.

The guy called over and over for about two weeks. Because it was my cell, I felt like I couldn't escape his calls. He was a complete creep, and it was awful.
lillymarkman
I want to thank everyone for your input, even if my thread was "extraneous". (Sorry!) You make me feel more at home in my new digs. Even if you're all not physically here with me.

Thanks to pam76 and polystyrene for the phone number idea. I signed up last night for www.aliasline.com. It was very reasonable. I did check out www.privatephone.com as well but they only offer voicemail, they can't put your call through directly. Plus they had a really trashy looking girl on their home page and that turned me off. Trashy has its place, but not when I'm looking for a reliable business service! Must be run by men.

Terrific, terrific information here ladies, you're a wonderful source of support!
capilot
OK, here's the thing: businesses are in business to make money. If they say the service is free, then there's a catch. If you don't know what the catch is, they can't be trusted.

Always ask yourself "What do they want me to give them, and how will they use it to make money?".

With this privatephone.com company, they probably want you to give them personal information like your real phone number, your address, and who knows what. After a few years of sales calls, junk mail, and spam, you'll wish you'd just given your number to a creep in a bar.
dusty
I think it is really important to learn, for your own safety, to get over being 'polite'. Being 'polite' is how women get raped, stalked, killed.
maimy
"By bklynhermit on Monday, June 26, 2006 - 10:33 pm:Edit Post

you know, if i'm sure i'm not interested, i have no problem just saying, "actually, here's my email address..." or even "i'm sorry, but i'm just not interested." i even invent the occasional boyfriend if the number asker gets too insistent. i hate the notion that you HAVE to give out a number to be considered polite."

I am flabbergasted to hear this notion even exists! I mean ... I've been around a long time, and have never heard of this from anyone before. Who is teaching this brand of "politeness"?? I'm genuinely interested in where this could possibly come from. My mom was as old-school with good manners as can be, but obligations to strange men were never on my curruculum ...

It has only rarely been a problem for me to get rid of unnecessary attention with little more than a sentence, neutrally (blandly, coldly) delievered.


Unrelated note, I invented a husband just today. Walking out to the parking garage, a very nice looking guy walked by me, and we both smiled. Nobody else was around, so he turned around, said, "Miss?" politely enough, and asked me if I was married. I smiled once more and said yes. In no way did he set off any alarms, but even if I did consider myself single, I probably wouldn't have followed up on the moment.
venetia
Maimy, I get the impression that quite often, young women are put in a position where they feel they have to either be "nice" and compliant or be "a bitch" in order to be non-compliant. And I think who is teaching this is guys.

There's a certain type of young guy who can be extraordinarily self righteous, aggressive and even hostile if the woman he approaches doesn't give him the attention he feels entitled to. If I didn't know better I would really have the impression from them that women who didn't want to be chatted up were being somehow rude or at fault. If people keep reacting as if you're being rude, then it's hard to hold onto the idea that you're not.

Also, if you're experiencing being hit on as a scary and unwelcome thing, it's harder not to frame your decision not to accept the offer as anything other than a rejection, which often does come out rude at first. Rejecting advances with the appearance of polite, smiling confidence is something that takes a bit of practice for most of us.
battygurl
I agree with dusty about getting over being polite. It's not easy, but it's necessary.

I have no problem saying I prefer to be contacted by email. It's actually true for me, and I don't see anything wrong with that.
venetia
I agree too, fwiw. For example, there's no very polite way to refuse to let a new accquaintance walk you to your car or bus-stop if he insists, but statistically they are simply more likely to rape you than a stranger is, so if you don't feel right with them it's best to go alone.
girlygirlgag
I used to feel that being polite pressure, and boy, that does stink! I hated feeling like I was on the spot and had to have answer that consisted my didgits. Then one day I just smiled and said "No". Just, no. He looked so dumbfounded when I said it grinning from ear to ear. Of course he called me a nasty name, and said I was ugly, but I felt so empowered!

BTW, what is it about men calling you ugly names and shit when you reject them? Okay, if I am such an ugly, useless, biotch, then why were you all up in my business 5 seconds ago? No wonder they are single.
pepper
or calling you a dyke. mmhmm, yes that's right. because i don't want you i Must be into women. ego much?
ggg, that's a perfect thing to say to them too, "no wonder you're single".
dusty
Thanks, I didn't feel like I explained myself fully, but you guys did it for me.
maimy
"By venetia on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 10:49 pm:Edit Post
There's a certain type of young guy who can be extraordinarily self righteous, aggressive and even hostile if the woman he approaches doesn't give him the attention he feels entitled to."

Absolutely true. My favorite is the guy who calls you a whore because you DON'T warm up to his sexual advances. *Sigh*


"Also, if you're experiencing being hit on as a scary and unwelcome thing, it's harder not to frame your decision not to accept the offer as anything other than a rejection, which often does come out rude at first."

This is a good point. I wish we weren't raised with the simultaneous dynamic of being in universal competition with all other women, and at the same time unable to say "no" to a man, any man, just because WE do not choose him.

I do tend to forget that it took me a lot of years to get to the point of confidence. But I did begin cultivating nonverbal cues very early, to dissuade anyone's even speaking to me to begin with. For all but the worst offenders, that can be deterrent enough - to display neutral unawareness of attempts at eye contact, smiles, gestures or whatever. To be un-engageable by the initial cues people send out before they approach (and to be un-engageable on purpose!).

I'd argue that saying anything to them, particularly saying something insulting like "no wonder you're single" yields these guys attention, which is exactly what they want, even if it's not positive attention. To appear completely unaware that they exist is (a) far less rewarding than engaging their approaches, whatever the manner, and (b) quite possibly a safer choice. With some, you can't predict what a response will be. And is it worth risking bad reactions with insults to someone you'd rather remained a stranger ... ?
pepper
as in "don't feed the bar tr*lls". ha ha.
venetia
Aw, Maimy, you're right. My problem is I make a lot of eye contact and smile in a friendly way at people (for this I get more than my share of crazies, especially in those countries where people don't talk to strangers in city streets - but I also get some amazing experiences and conversations, plus every old person in the neighbourhood as a friend). I try to ignore people but I'm so curious I've often inadvertently looked them all full in the face, so I just make do with my own approach which is a friendly and sincere thanks for the offer and an honest explanation of why I don't accept it. Mostly people find this quite disarming, especially if I say "thanks but I don't want to have sex with you". I don't think my way is right - it just works for me better because of my personality.
maimy
Venetia, it's sad, isn't it? You're a friendly person, you're accustomed to greeting people with confidence and a smile, both secure and outgoing. Unfortunately, there are times that will invariably "translate" for some people into something you aren't communicating. As usual, the dullards ruin perfectly normal behavior for the rest of the playground. And there are so MANY dullards!

I do that during the day on my way to work and in the office. Other than that, I go on recon-mode and "case" every situation before opting for friendliness.

That said, though, I do strike up the oddest conversations with a variety of people. It's still possible to be a choosy ice queen and yet sometimes get into chit-chat with the most unexpected people. More than anything, I cultivate conversations with women, or women who are with their boyfriends, or entire parties of people. I can't tell you how many times I've been "adopted" for a night or whatever, at some event where I may or may not even be on my own in the first place. And that's wonderful. People are probably my favorite pastime. But MEN ... not always so much. It's sort of depressing sometimes, but mostly it is what it is.
raisingirl
QUOTE(maimy @ Jun 27 2006, 06:34 PM) *

Unrelated note, I invented a husband just today. Walking out to the parking garage, a very nice looking guy walked by me, and we both smiled. Nobody else was around, so he turned around, said, "Miss?" politely enough, and asked me if I was married. I smiled once more and said yes. In no way did he set off any alarms, but even if I did consider myself single, I probably wouldn't have followed up on the moment.


I've done the same kind of lying as well.

I've also considered getting a cheap modest ring that looks like a wedding band so I can slip it on from time to time when I don't want to appear "available." Sometimes it does help to ward off the crazies, but other times I think it would just attract them even more.

OH! Right, the reason I bumped this thread: I've been reading Amy Sedaris's new book and she says that she likes to have a first date take place in her apartment, where she'll cook dinner on her own turf, having what could possibly be a more relaxed evening rather than having a stuffy evening at a restaurant. I wish I lived in Amy's world where this could be possible; I just think there needs to be a lot of trust there, or you need to meet the guy through mutual friends in order for something like this to be possible.
auralpoison
Anybody ever had a problem with a guy that insists on giving you his number even though you've declined? Like, straight up, no thanks, because I'm not going to call you ever for any reason no? One guy would force it into my hand & I would hand it back or drop it on the floor. Even after I crumpled up another cocktail napkin & threw it away he persisted. There's a guy over to my local that's given me his business card FIVE times. After the fifth time I just asked him why he wanted me to call him. He was flabbergasted, "Uh, friendship?" No, dude, you flirt with me all the time & I never flirt back, you just never pick up on that because I'm a woman alone in a bar, so I'm obviously gagging for it. Another time I had a guy that kept trying to give me his business card even though I said no. He didn't quit until I dropped it into his beer. "You bitch!" I may be a bitch, but I'm not the one pushing my info on somebody that's clearly not interested.

I don't think email is rude. I used to have a hotmail acct that was for that specifc purpose. If you're offended that I won't give up the digits then you don't need 'em. Email should be good enough.

I can't do the polite thing. I can't make excuses/lies cos I'm bad at it, I just say I'm not interested or I ignore it. Guy from my pizza parlour kept asking if he could kiss me the other night. Um, no. "Why not? Boyfriend?" Because I don't want to kiss you. "Oh. Are you sure?" Positive. "Why?" Because I don't want to. "Okay."

sybarite
I suppose you could just come out and say 'I'm just not that into you', but that might be too subtle for these guys. Sheesh.

Shoe on the other foot: I would never *insist* someone take my number if he seemed reluctant to. It's like asking for a lukewarm, half-assed drunken booty call.
spiderella
I was just thinking about this very topic the other day...I was complaining to myself that I just didn't like the whole practice of men asking strange women for their phone numbers at all. I mean, again and again, some guy I've never seen before in my life will walk up to me, ask me my name, and then just ask for my phone number. No introduction, no small talk (which can be annoying, but more polite). Just the number. I mean, there's no better way of saying, "Hi, you don't know me, but you look like somebody I'd like to fuck. We should get together sometime." dry.gif Maybe I've just never been approached by a guy who wasn't a jerk. (Or maybe approaching strange women is something only jerks do. That's what I think.)

Personally, I would never consider calling (or being called by) someone I've never met before for a date. I mean, first, I'm terrible at meeting new people, but also, I just wouldn't get into someone's car or go to someone's apartment if we didn't have mutual friends or know each other from somewhere. (Like work, class, etc.) Maybe that's a little paranoid compared to what other people do, but I just can't do what other people do.
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