Tips on Scoring Big with Spectator's Live Date Lines
by Marcy Sheiner
We all know how difficult it is to meet people these
days, let alone someone we might connect with for dates,
fun, conversation, and... you know what. Fortunately,
the same burgeoning technology that's eating up our
time and making the world in some ways less user-friendly
has also brought us innovative new methods to connect
with each other. For instance, telephone chat or date
Finding myself alone and lonely on two consecutive weekend
nights, I dialed up the Spectator Date Line, free to
those of the female persuasion. I was a date line virgin,
though not exactly a telephone virgin: I used to do
phone sex. This experience came in handy—but it
also got in my way; I had to stifle the urge to launch
into a string of dirty words aimed at giving the guy
on the other end a hard-on, and kept reminding myself
to behave like a normal clean-cut girl. (Not that they
would have minded if I'd done one of my routines—many
of the men online wanted precisely that. But more on
During the several hours that I cruised the date line,
I had a few pleasant conversations, got a few obscene
messages, and scheduled two meetings that have yet to
occur. I got more messages from men on the line than
I can count, and almost as many lewd invitations as
I used to get doing phone sex. Mostly I had a helluva
The thing I like best about the date line is this: There
is absolutely nothing to lose. You can go on with a
phony name, age, and persona—or not. You can practice
your conversational and/or flirting skills. If you're
up for it, you can snag a dinner date, or a sexual tryst.
The way it works: You call in and leave
your name, age, and a brief message about yourself.
Then, by following instructions, you punch numbers on
the phone to hear the guys' messages. If you want to
connect with someone, send him/her a message, or skip
them altogether, you punch the appropriate number. You
can even block out a caller whom you don't like.
When you do connect with a woman, don't rush her into
meeting you right away. Talk to her awhile, exchange
information about each other and what you're looking
Once a woman enters her name, she can receive messages
from the guys: A little voice informs you that "Gary"
or "Chad" would like to connect with you,
and you have the option of responding or not. On both
nights I logged on I was immediately deluged with calls,
leading me to think that this is the norm for women.
But one man told me it was my message that had reeled
in so many responses: I asked them to tell me something
interesting about themselves rather than giving just
a physical description. I did this because nearly every
man left a message that ran something like, "I'm
six-feet tall, fit, blonde hair, blue eyes, muscular."
Now I ask you: Can you really get a picture of someone
from statistics? I can't. Blonde hair does not entice
me into conversation. Saying something like, "I'm
getting ready to watch the best show on television,
'The West Wing,'" which one caller actually did,
is far more likely to capture my interest.
Maybe that's because I wasn't looking for sex—I'm
not the type to jump into bed with someone based on
his voice and what he has to say about himself, which
can easily be a pack of lies. But if I was, I could
have gotten laid within an hour. Yet I suspect most
women are like me—they need to meet the guy before
agreeing to sex. Unfortunately, not all men seem to
understand this basic fact.
Which brings me to a laundry list of complaints about
men on the line. None of their behavior was unusual
or endemic to date lines: In general, men are prone
to jumping the gun too fast, whether at singles bars
or sex parties. So it wasn't surprising that many of
them leave messages about "getting together tonight,"
as well as some that are downright offensive. Therefore,
I offer here a compendium of advice for men using the
• Instead of giving a physical description of
yourself, tell us something about your personality.
This doesn't mean a list of activities you enjoy, either.
Many people make the mistake of saying they like to
walk on the beach, play softball, or travel. Far more
intriguing is an unusual tidbit. What's your idea of
an ideal first date? What kind of dog do you own? Tell
us about your favorite book, movie, or baseball team.
• Unless it's really an absolute requirement
of yours, don't ask for an "attractive," "slim,"
or "redheaded" woman. You eliminate half the
world's women this way—and you're likely to turn
off the other half who fear not meeting your stringent
• Don't talk about explicit sex in your introductory
message. Very few women will respond to that kind of
pressure from the get-go.
• When you do connect with a woman, don't rush
her into meeting you right away. Talk to her awhile,
exchange information about each other and what you're
looking for. Most people will begin by discussing their
experiences on the date line, and hopefully move on
to more intimate conversation.
• Women: Don't feel pressured into meeting immediately,
or at all. And keep your options open!
By this last piece of advice I mean, if you log onto
the date line and there are 27 men available, check
them all out. Listen to all their messages before deciding
on connecting with someone. I myself ran through the
list several times before taking any calls. Whenever
a guy zapped me with a message, I didn't connect, but
sent a message back saying that we could chat in a few
minutes, and returned to cruising the others until I'd
decided who I wanted to talk to.
All this advice, of course, is based upon my own subjective
proclivities. For instance, one guy left a message saying
he was a firefighter. When I heard that, I abandoned
my number punching and sent him a message because I'm
inordinately attracted to firefighters, whom I consider
the last great heroes of civilization. He didn't have
to tell me he was "fit' and "muscular";
I knew he must in shape, doing that kind of work. Unfortunately,
my fireman used up his time on the line, and I never
got beyond exchanging one message with him. But the
point is, he told me something about himself that sparked
One guy sent me this lovely message as soon as I checked
in: "Do you spit or swallow?" "Ugh,"
I said, and moved on to another call. A few minutes
later he was back, asking again, "Do you spit or
swallow?" in a demanding voice, as if he had the
right to know. When he sent a third message, I punched
in the number seven to block all further calls from
No one was quite as lewd as this guy, but several of
them did things like breathing heavily, or promising
sexual satisfaction, or saying they were married men
seeking an affair. I only spoke to men who were more
restrained, who said they were looking for good conversation
and the possibility of meeting in person. I had several
interesting talks with these guys and agreed to meet
two of them.
If you're just playing around, there's no harm in telling
half-truths or even lies about yourself—but if
you plan to meet your callers, you'll eventually have
to come clean.
A tricky question is whether or not to tell the whole
truth and nothing but the truth in your messages and
conversations. If you're just playing around, there's
no harm in telling half-truths or even lies about yourself—but
if you plan to meet your callers, you'll eventually
have to come clean. If you've told someone you're a
statuesque redhead when you're a frumpy brunette, he'll
find out when he sees you—so caveat emptor!
In my introductory message I lied about my name and
my age: the first because I didn't want anyone to recognize
my name from my writings in Spectator, and the second
because, after hearing that most of the men were in
their 20s, 30s, and 40s, I couldn't bring myself to
proclaiming my advanced age of 55. This lie, however,
caught up with me: I told a guy with whom I was discussing
baseball that my son was a Mets fan. He asked how old
my son was and I said "Thirty," cutting five
years off his age... but realizing too late that since
I'd said I was forty-two, this meant I'd given birth
at the ripe old age of twelve. "Thirty?" he
exclaimed. I had to confess that I'd lied about my age.
He wasn't turned off—but this goes to show "what
a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."
One guy came on like a Sugar Daddy, bragging in his
introduction that he was a "professional,"
owned his own home, and did a lot of travelling. When
I spoke with him, however, he confessed to very little
relationship experience, and complained that most women
"are gold-diggers." I wanted to say, "What
do you expect when you come on like that?" but
just ended the conversation politely. If you can't walk
the walk, buster, don't talk the talk!
All in all, my experiences on the date line were amusing
and entertaining. As I said earlier, what have you got
to lose? A few minutes or hours? And there's so much
to gain: heading off loneliness, having some interesting
conversations, snagging a date or even your future life
partner. Stranger things have happened in this technological
age of computer dating and Internet meetings. It could
happen to you.