Senior dating: I’ll call you. Maybe.

I'll call you soon

It was one of those hilarious conversations you clearly remember.

February 2004. Driving around near Key West with my brother and his wife, laughing and talking about men, women and that Mars/Venus stuff. They had recently gotten married; I had been divorced almost 10 years.

“Here’s one: What does it mean when a guy says, ‘I’ll call you?’ ” I asked my brother.

Joe laughed.

I waited.

“You’re serious?”


He replied something like, “It means maybe he’ll call you and maybe he won’t, but it’s an easy and polite way to end a conversation, or get out of there.”

I'll call you maybe

Here’s the first definition of “I’ll call you” from the Web-based Urban Dictionary of slang words and phrases, as posted and defined by readers: “Literal meaning: ‘I do not plan on calling you, EVER.’ Often said by a man to a woman at the end of a date, because he is too much of a coward to just honestly tell her that it is not going to work out, and that he does not want to call her.”

In her column published in the Los Angeles Times last summer Victoria Carlson wrote, “For the inexperienced, ‘I’ll call you’ is filled with promise and possibility. Those of us more seasoned daters know ‘I’ll call you’ really means: I’m never going to call. Ever.”

And this, from Greg Behrendt, co-author of He’s Just Not That Into You: “If I were into you, you would be the bright spot in my horribly busy day. Which would be a day that I would never be too busy to call you.”

“It’s polite to say ‘I’ll call you,’ just as it would be to say ‘It was nice to meet you.’ It’s a natural way to end a date,” said professional dating coach Nancy Slotnick in her book Turn Your Cablight On. “If he doesn’t say it, it doesn’t feel like a proper good-bye, and you both end up feeling awkward … It could also be that he didn’t think you were as into him as he was into you. Men are just as afraid of rejection as women are.”

I'll call you

The guys say:

So I surveyed a few male pals.

Some maintained that if a guy is interested enough to ask for your number, he’ll probably call it. However, most agree that “I’ll call you” often is a copout.

Consensus: People don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. It’s human nature.

Behrendt was a bit more graphic in his book: “A man would rather be trampled by elephants that are on fire than tell you that he’s just not that into you.”

It’s a two-way street, the guys pointed out:

“What about women who give us wrong numbers?” asked one. “Hello, Pizza Hut!”

And—also to be polite despite a lack of chemistry—women will share their numbers and when the men call will: (a) not answer the phone; (b) say they are dating someone; or (c) make up some excuse why they will not be available for the next three years.

What does this have to do with seniors? Men of any age can be insecure/not into you/busy/forgetful/afraid/whatever and not call. It just appears to be the rule for this generation, not the exception.

Back in our teens, 20s and 30s, my girlfriends and I concur, it didn’t take much more than a smile to make our phones ring. Now that we are seniors, and single again, we expect, from experience, that men won’t call when they say, “I’ll call you.”

Senior dating: It’s hard.

A lot has been written about male insecurities and fear of rejection, especially concerning successful women, which many of my friends are.

Several years ago I asked a guy friend—cute, cool, confident … from appearances—if that’s true. “Whoa! We need a red carpet! We’re totally insecure,” he admitted.

Another guy once told me that my red lipstick was threatening to men.

“What do you think is the hardest thing about dating at our age?” I asked a girlfriend as we sat alone with glasses of merlot at a restaurant bar recently.

“Not dating,” she replied.


For many of us, dating is way out of our comfort zone and the longer we don’t do it, the more awkward it becomes. And often the more independent we become, the more we like that.

Now that on line dating has progressed from being accepted to expected, more sites are targeting seniors and more seniors are getting together. But no matter how they meet, most seniors in new relationships have significant considerations they didn’t when they were young—family, finances, lifestyles and a slew of inhibitions.

Last year, I overheard two male friends who hadn’t seen each other in awhile:

“Are you dating anyone?”

“No, it’s not so easy anymore.”

“I know what you mean.”

“Yeah, women used to want to go out and have fun, go away for the weekend. Now all they want to do is be with their grandchildren.”

What do we want, really? Do we know?

I’m a strong believer in the Law of Attraction and The Secret. Thoughts become things. Ask, believe, receive.

But how can the Universe deliver, if you don’t know what you want?

Good question.

All right. Call me. Any old time.

My number is Beechwood 4-5789.

Play the song:



About Lorrie DeFrank

Retired and relishing the time to write about anything concerning people 65 and older, which is everything.
This entry was posted in 65 plus and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Senior dating: I’ll call you. Maybe.

  1. Karen Okie says:

    You really nailed this one, Lorrie! A fun (and accurate) read.

  2. murpheyshaw says:

    Men are insecure, to doubt about that. However, that being said, I remember getting this response (slightly modified), once . . . I think she was in school at the time 🙂 (c) I’d love to see you but I will not be available for the next three years. This is good, sad but true. Where is Makenzie’s when you need it.

    • Good one, Murphey! Mackenzies, sigh! Just talking about that place yesterday.

      Your honesty about men being insecure is refreshing. As is this email I received from a guy about my blog: “ … it’s never really funny when a man is reading the truth. I’ve said ‘I’ll call you.’ And not meant it. It just beats saying, ‘you are just too independent for me so I probably wouldn’t get any attention.’ ”

  3. mary ellen schulz says:

    Women know men’s antics more than we let on! Then again, if we were in same position, would we not do the same? Enjoyed this, Lorrie! –Mary

  4. Lorrie – I’m so glad not to be out in the dating world!

  5. Nancy Strite says:

    I loved this article too! You’re so much fun to read.

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