Advice

How Being a Jerk Will Make Guys Call You Back

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Male holding a red heart and disappointed female sitting on a bench

No woman is immune to the “Why hasn’t he called me back yet?” freak out. Some of us grow past it, but when infatuation takes hold, the grating concern creeps its way back in. What the hell is so difficult about returning a call, or let’s be honest, a text?

Unfortunately, there is a factor of “game” on both sides of the fence. Yeah, I said it: both sides. Figuring out your game involves a lot of trial and error, and in the honor of that tradition, I offer up this finding from my own archaeological dig (a.k.a. my rocky love life) in the New York dating-sphere: Being a jerk apparently works like a charm.

The Lightbulb Moment

The idea came to me after a barrage of unwanted attention. We all have those moments in singledom when the attraction switch seems to get stuck in the turned-off position and every man with a plan is obnoxious. When the five millionth unwanted suitor wandered into my life, I was fed up, but stuck on a date with him for at least an hour and a half.

?????????????????? I didn’t like this guy. He’d say something insufferable – like his idea about a “great, romantic second date” that entailed drinking forties by the East River. (I’m not opposed to a little rule-breaking, but can we at least graduate from Olde English to a micro-brew?) My response was inevitably sarcastic and pointed – and not the kind of coy teasing followed by a grin or a hair flip that I usually use. I was being mean.

And that’s when something strange happened. He leaned in further. His hand moved from his knee to mine. He suggested activities we could do together when the weather changed. The man was thinking beyond the next four hours and all because I’d selfishly decided to make his life a little harder. I turned him down for date number two. I’m not cruel enough to lead him on after a failed first date. But I had an idea.

Testing The New Move

I tested my mean streak on other flies circling my honey. Every time a guy I couldn’t stand rolled up at a bar, wedding, or on the subway platform, I’d blatantly make fun of him to his face – pick apart his poor grammar, ask why he wasn’t drinking a real drink, or tell him his shuffle board form was atrocious. I’d turned myself into fly paper – these guys stuck to me like glue. It appears that “the neg” that pick up artists use on girls works on guys too!

After a little back and forth with my new curt, unyielding jerk text persona, it took no time at all for the guy to set a time to meet up.

Then I used it on a guy I found somewhat promising, going completely against my usual sunnier inclinations. He’d apologize for not getting back to me the previous day and I’d tell him I thought he was bullshitting me, cringing as I texted. He’d write back immediately with some compliment or idea for how he could “make it up to me.” Unsure of how far I could take it, I’d write back with uncertainty of his worthiness: “I don’t know if that’s enough.” After a little back and forth with my new curt, unyielding jerk text persona, it took no time at all for the guy to set a time to meet up.

It actually worked. I’d been a flippant prima donna and I’d gotten what I wanted. But there was a catch.

The Side Effects

When I got to drinks, I realized this guy was all wrong for me. He wanted the prissy, high-maintenance girl from the texts I’d crafted, not me – the goofy, silly internet writer with a Fantasy Football trophy on her nightstand. We hugged goodbye for good and I went back to the drawing board.

Being a little sassy and hard-to-get never hurts, but remember the goal is to keep ’em guessing.

The problem was that I’d tricked this guy into calling me, when someone who actually liked me would have already done so. There is something to be said for cutesy teasing and playing it a little aloof with a new guy, but if you’re donning Elvira’s evil eyebrows just to get a response, the man on the other side probably isn’t someone you should be giving up a precious evening for. It got him to call, but the call turns out to not really be worth taking.

Being a little sassy and hard-to-get never hurts, but remember the goal is to keep ‘em guessing, not to have them fall for a text-drawn version of Mean Girls’ Regina George.