Failed phone audition

princess phoneWe’d flirted online a few times many months ago, then stopped. I can’t remember why. We started again last week. Last night he called. This psychology professor included these tidbits in his 45-minute monologue:

  • He told me in great detail of his recent tooth extraction — his third — and his options for implants or a bridge. Why extraction? Because he went to the dentist only every 3 years (his insurance would pay for every 6 months) and ignored the infections that caused his teeth to rot.
  • He planned his vacations only around time-share pitches at hotels so he could have a free weekend stay.
  • He dabbled in day trading, so currently had invested this month’s mortgage money and had maxed out his credit card advances to buy a new stock, even though he’d lost money in the past.
  • He described the social psychology class he just finished teaching. When he began to explain social psychology, I said, “That was my minor in college.” He continued with his explanation as if I had no idea what it was.

I asked him questions and injected statements — when he took a breath, which wasn’t often. There were many times he could have asked me questions about my comments, but he didn’t. I tried for 15 minutes to extricate myself, and finally did. He said, “Give me a call when you have a few minutes.” Right. Like that’s going to happen.

This call reminded me of a few things:

  • While I try to give people grace, I learned everything I needed to know in 30 minutes that this man was not a fit for me. Anyone who ignores his dental hygiene for 3 years and repeatedly has teeth removed because of it doesn’t have the decision-making skills I’m looking for. This well-paid man is so cheap he only goes on free vacations. If he’s gambling with his mortgage money, this is not someone whose values I respect. And finally, if he ignores what I say, he’s just interested in a monologue so it doesn’t really matter if I’m there or not.
  • I make assumptions that because someone is educated, in a certain profession or knows certain information (like psychology), they will behave in a socially astute way. Not necessarily.
  • I’m glad I have a “phone-call first” rule. If I didn’t I’d have taken time to get dolled up and drive to a Starbucks to sit excruciatingly while this man blathered on. Now I won’t be making that drive.
  • I need to be bolder when I want to end a call, perhaps bordering on rude for those who don’t pick up on subtler clues.

This experience also made me wonder what I did that caused me to fail phone auditions. It is not only me who has rejected invitations for further contact after a call. Occasionally I’ll think a call went swimmingly, never to hear from the guy again.

When you’ve decided not to see someone after an initial call, what did they do or not do that led you to this decision?

Got a topic on dating after 40 you want Dating Goddess to address? Send your issue to


4 responses to “Failed phone audition”

  1. walt Avatar

    Interesting topic. Two phone deal-breakers for me:

    1) A strong regional accent – sorry, just a silly prejudice. I associate a strong accent with lack of intelligence.

    2) No sense of humor, or at least not a compatible sense of humor. I always have a few Seinfeld-like jokes ready to trot out. Ideally, they elicit a snappy comeback. However, if I don’t get at least a chuckle out of them, it’s not going to work out.

    Interestlingly, only one time has someone I was interested in declined to go out with me after the initial phone call. In that case, she decided I was an alcoholic because I have a beer with dinner. I changed her mind, and we dated for 4 months!

  2. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Interesting article. I have never DQd anyone for a date based on a phone call, as I myself have a tendency to ramble on and on while talking on the phone and, without visual cues, I often have difficulty knowing when to stop talking, especially when I get a bad case of the nerves, as I usually do when talking with someone new. I also have the unfortunate tendency to pick controversial subjects for phone and in person discussions, as I want to find out upfront if I have the same values and beliefs as the other person, otherwise it’s a waste of time for both of us to be spending time together.

    Plus, to be perfectly honest, at my age and with my well below average exterior, I really can’t afford to be picky. Maybe most guys out there aren’t perfect, but then again, neither am I. I don’t have a long list of criteria for my Mr. Right, just that he be caring and sensitive with a good sense of humor and normal intelligence and that’s about it. IMHO it’s sad that it’s so hard to find these few important qualities in single men nowadays. I didn’t and still don’t think this is a lot to ask for in a prospective partner, but maybe I’m deluding myself yet again. What do you think?

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  3. Mary Avatar


    Love your blog! I stumbled upon it here as I’m waiting for my divorce to be final and I ponder re-entering the dating scene after more than 20 years. This forum is helping me to think about how much has changed before I venture out again. Thanks!

    If you had been the one telling the date “Call me when you have a few minutes” and the other person had no intention of calling you, would you rather he (kindly, of course) tell you so, and why? Or do you think most people are maybe too vulnerable to consider (whether they choose to take it to heart or not) hearing how they are perceived by someone they just met? Bottom line: you’re usually not saying they’re a bad person, just that they’re not right for YOU. And it saves the person time second-guessing themselves and trying to figure out someone they’ll likely never speak to again.

    The closest I can relate to this so far is job interviews (more of an equal footing than an audition, in my experience). I’ve turned a couple of jobs down over the years, even taking the initiative to end one politely when it became clear the job wasn’t what they advertised and not what I was looking for — and telling them so, no hard feelings. OTOH, I’ve been turned down for several, or never been called, and usually never known why. Even when I asked, I rarely got an answer that felt genuine or constructive. People don’t want to be the bad guy, but sometimes knowing how you come across to other people is so helpful!

    You’ve certainly got me pondering what my deal-breakers might be, but sounds like passing on the psych prof was a no-brainer! Congrats on dodging that bullet!

  4. Rachel Sarah Avatar

    Great post! I know what you mean…. But if you don’t click on the phone, how do you call things off on the phone?

    Even after a failed phone audition, I’ve “gone through with it” — the date. The phone conversation was awkward but I didn’t know how to break up even before meeting… Any tips?
    Rachel @