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‘Talk to You Soon’

by Dara Lehon

July 19, 2006 | 8:00 pm

For the record, not all men are creeps. Sure, some creep along to get things done, but most don't mean harm, and there are some really, truly terrific guys out there.

And get this: Not all men (particularly those who dump you) are idiots. In fact, they know exactly what they're doing or not doing.

A short time ago, in a galaxy all too familiar, a smart, adorable guy I'd been chatting with for months faded -- like one too many others -- into oblivion. The red flags were raised from day one.

It started with one great conversation and ended with an....

There were an intense series of exchanges: He'd IM, I'd text. He'd leave a message apologizing for not calling every ... say ... week and a half; I'd return the call shortly thereafter, maybe send an e-mail response. We'd call at odd hours, occasionally meet up and enjoy our rendezvous.

We were both very, very busy people (apparently), and our relationship was ill-defined. But, at least it was ongoing, which is occasionally better than nothing (I had thought). Plus, I liked the guy.

The strangely intriguing interactions lasted about two months, until I actually noticed the waving red flags as he'd inevitably close our conversations with "talk to you soon...."

I'd sort of say, "OK," and trail off, left to ponder.

I suppose I could have been pumped that "I" and "talk" and "you" and "soon" were in the same sentence, since to me, soon means soon.

As it turns out, though, "talk to you soon" meant "buh-bye." Period. Now, I do realize that stupidity runs rampant in the journey to Loveland -- we hear what we want, anticipate what we shouldn't and expect -- perhaps too much. It's also difficult to bid adieu -- sometimes you don't want to speak soon (or ever) but don't have the cojones to admit it; sometimes you shouldn't speak soon. And sometimes things are best left as is.

But with all our advanced means of communicating efficiently (if only occasionally effectively), courtship coding is still way off.

Today, a blind date is never blind -- you've met them on Google. Calling may mean an IM or text; making plans may mean meeting up at a mutual friend's party or after hours; goodbye often means you'll still e-mail for weeks/months/years until someone finally puts his or her keyboard down. And, I guess tomorrow may mean "soon," while soon may apparently mean never.

I should get this stuff (I think). After all, I have a Treo I can sort of work. Dating, however, is primal. Regardless of how you hear it, there's something nice about: "I will call you on Tuesday to see what's cooking for the weekend." Meaning: I am interested in seeing you again to pursue the notion of dating you. I. Will. Call. You. Tuesday. Easy.

Not interested? Click unsubscribe. No mentions of future contact. No "Let's be friends." No random texts (unless you're really, really drunk or have a friend to set up). It's rough, but the wishy-washy, unsure, flip-flopping that's plagued even our country's leaders is simply a waste of time. And, it's annoying.

Admittedly awful at severing ties, I'm also increasingly challenged to find something less frustrating, irritating and uncomfortable than unmatched expectations.

Was a time, after my now-ex-boyfriend and I had split, we would (stupidly) chat for hours -- laughing, catching up and flirting (I thought, dumbly) harmlessly. Habitually, he'd sign off with "Talk to you soon."

Note: I didn't want to get back together. Also note: Boys and girls cannot -- I repeat -- cannot be just friends.

Still, I'd bite my tongue and hang up/leave feeling befuddled and agitated (see above for severing ties habits.)

This silly game continued for months. We spoke often, until after a long, flirty brunch, he mentioned his "new" girlfriend (we'll save his tactics for another time). He tilted his head, claiming he wanted to remain friends -- for brunch and whatnot.

"Of course," I said, clenching my teeth, and sort of meaning it (as soon as I poked his eyes out and got a new boyfriend). We joked about never being able to replace me, and as we parted ways, he hugged me. Then, per usual, he said, "Talk to you soon."

No, I haven't heard from him since.

I guess for all the communication mayhem of my smart, adorable guy, his lack of clarity was actually quite clear.

Yes, "talk to you soon" is a bit smoother than "best of luck" or, worse, "have a nice life." But losing faith in people -- or a gender as a whole -- seems even worse than hearing the truth.

Because, ultimately, making no plan means having no intention. And no call/text/e-mail means he's not thinking about you.

Not now, not tomorrow and not soon. Period.

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