April 2, 2002 at 11:21 AM ET
"When is he going to call me?!" So many women over the years have agonized over this question that I feel it's finally time to expose the male callback formula. Like a magician revealing his secrets, I proceed knowing that I may suffer from a male backlash, but with the hope that I can help women understand what goes on in a man's head (as well as to prove that something actually does go on in there), I'm going to give you a glimpse into a man's warped mind.
(But, first, I must impress upon you that the formula I'm about to reveal is most applicable after the first date, and typically dissolves after the third or fourth. That said, read on.)
To begin, most men will avoid calling on Friday or Saturday. Is it because they don't want to disturb you on your days off? Of course not. Picking the day and time to call a woman back has nothing to do with consideration. It's because they want to be perceived as being too busy on those days (even if they're just sitting around with the clicker in one hand and a beer, or something else, in the other).
It's All about the Timing
Then, understand that the average male prefers to make this call between 8:15 and 10:20 in the evening. Careful not to call right on the half-hour or hour, men will call at 8:37, 9:22, 9:41—anytime that seems like they have not been planning the call. They want to give the false impression that suddenly, on the spur of the moment, they just picked up the phone and dialed. Little do you know the painstaking hours spent thinking of the time to call, what to say, how to appear busy-popular-on-the-go-casual.
The Counting of the Days
So now you know, most calls will come Sunday through Thursday and between 8:15 pm and 10:20 pm—and not on the half-hour or hour—you need to learn the counting of the days. Let's say you had a good Monday night date (a major kiss goodnight, maybe even more), you could get—at best—a Wednesday night call. Some men will let just one day go by, but most guys will let two, possibly three, particularly if there was no overt connection made. Men will not put themselves out there so quickly if they think they may get squashed.
So, the percentages say that Monday date yields a Thursday night call. Now, if Thursday goes by, you will likely have to wait until Sunday evening. If he doesn't call by then, he qualifies as an asshole (six days is too much), and it really doesn't matter. However, there are exceptions (business travel, death in the family, broken leg, insanely busy, still dating someone else, etc.), so be willing to listen.
So, to break down the most likely scenario even more clearly:
Monday date = Wednesday, Thursday night or Sunday evening Tuesday date = Thursday or Sunday night, maybe Monday
Wednesday date = Sunday or Monday night, possibly Tuesday
Thursday date = Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night
Friday date = Sunday through Thursday night
Saturday = Monday through Thursday, or Sunday
Sunday = Tuesday through Thursday, or Sunday of the next week
*Note that Sunday and Monday are most preferable for men, with the exception of football season, in which Tuesday is the most likely.
Now, there are some radical guys out there who will buck the trend, get crazy and call on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday late morning. These guys are true trailblazers and should never be taken lightly. Then there are guys who will call the very next day. Warning: This does not necessarily mean that he is a great guy, nor does it mean he's obsessed, lonely or desperate; it just means he called you the next day. I know most women want the call the very next day, and it can be really nice when two people outwardly acknowledge that date number one was great and express that the very next day. But do not rule a guy out because he waits a few days. This formula has been ingrained into his head—it's a hard habit to break.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.