Punctuation Problems

I was hanging out with friends the other day and one of the male members of the group had spent part of the weekend making out with  flirting with a random girl who I'm sure he'll never see again. When she left, I watched him get her number -- even though I'm sure he'll never see her again.

I, being the no-filter, verbal diarrhea, overly honest-er that I am, was immediately like "why bother exchanging numbers?"

To which half my friends practically clutched their chests and were all "you have to do that. It's the norm."

Here's where I again feel the need to compare dating rules to everything else. I don't want to walk through a farmers market, see strawberries, and tell the seller "I hate strawberries, but go ahead and put them in a bag for me anyway. I might come back for them, you never know!" That's wasting both of your time. You don't want the strawberries -- just move along! Why must we feel the need to soften the blow with deception?

To me, the whole "give me your number" thing may give the other person false hope. It's like putting a comma where it should be a period. As a professional communicator, clearly I had to report this! I started arguing with my friends.

My basic argument was this: had our friend just been like, High five, that was fun! and walked away from that girl, it would have at least been genuine. That would be putting the appropriate punctuation on their "relationship" -- a period. As in, that's the end. Good game.

Whereas to me, the whole obligatory number exchange is like putting a disingenuous comma on the relationship. I'm getting your number...maybe there's more to this sentence... you'll never know until I don't come back for you, strawberries!

It sends mixed messages.

And I feel like it discounts the emotional stability of the other person. Like "they can't handle the fact that I'm not into this, so let me make sure to leave it open ended." And I can understand using words to soften the blow a little. Like, "Ok, this was fun!" (even if it wasn't really), but to take the time to put someone's number in your phone? That just seems superfluous. Plus, as I've explained before, I already have a super random assortment of numbers in my phone, so I don't need to add "that guy I'll never see again" just to save face.

I fought vehemently with my friends on this. The comma is wrong! I was finally able to sway some of them to my opinion, and the rest of us agreed to disagree. (And thankfully, we're all still friends. You know, even though they are wrong.)

Then, a couple weekends ago, I met a man and we had coffee together. Per usual, I had reservations about him but was trying desperately to have an open mind because we all know I basically have reservations about everyone (...because I have good reason to - as seen here. And here. ...aaaand here...and....)Then, it felt like he kept bragging on himself. And seemed a little stiff. And repeatedly looked me up and down while we spoke. But- Open Mind! Maybe I'm judging him too harshly. So I started to go get more coffee - and that's when he stopped me and said he actually had some things he needed to do and asked if we could just end our little date then.

Well alright then, I don't need to try to talk myself into him any longer, he's clearly not into this either.

AND THEN -you guessed it - he asked for my number.

WHY. Why is this necessary? You don't need to act like you might come back for the strawberries. If the strawberries are boring you, go find bananas! (alright, this strawberry analogy may not be working anymore but you get the gist...). I don't need my feelings spared by you feigning intention of calling me later. What I need is for you to step aside so I can continue toward the thing that I'm most interested in here - that second cup of coffee.

And yes, sure, I suppose it's easier to go through this cultural norm of feigning interest in calling the other person. People do it in all sorts of situations. "Hey buddy, let's do lunch. I'll call you..." (disingenuous comma).  "Great interview, we just need to look at a few other candidates and then we'll call you..." (disingenuous comma). It's what you do, apparently. But I don't know...in a world where there are so many questions about what the other person is thinking, maybe we don't need cultural norms.

Maybe we just need better punctuation.

(Caveat: Since writing this, Coffee Man did actually use my number to contact me so perhaps he was genuinely using a comma. So I now reserve the right to delete this entire post should I change my mind about him and we fall madly in love. Of course he'll need to stop looking me up and down as we talk for that to happen, but at least maybe the guy knows how to use proper punctuation....)