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One Ringy Dingy - Phone Sex

Connection-Choice 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 lines.

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 that later.)

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 good time.

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 for.
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 date line:

• 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 physical requirements.

• 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 my interest.

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 the creep.

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.