“Don’t read this until you get home, and know that this was almost entirely my doing,” my friend told me as he handed over a folded scrap of looseleaf. My future wife Stacey, leaving the same high-school party, did her best to ignore the exchange as she walked to her car nearby.
Always meticulous about following instructions, I drove all the way home before opening the note. It was a phone number, accompanied by this message in my friend’s handwriting:
Hi! I am Stacey’s Phone Number. Stacey is too Shy to tell you that she thinks that you’re a cool Guy, and that you’re Interesting, so I have to do it For her. Please Feel Free to use me at some point. Stacey is a Wonderful conversationalist. Sound Good? Good. Thank You!
Sincerely, Stacey’s phone #
My hands were shaking. “Okay, okay, calm down — this might not mean anything,” I told myself. Every courtship experience I’d had so far had ended with the girl not feeling as strongly for me as I felt for her. So this time, I swore I wouldn’t overreact. “Just calm down. Sure, she spent the whole party listening to you talk about your editing job on the school newspaper and your obsession with He-Man action figures, but you shouldn’t read too much into that. And when she announced she had to leave 30 seconds after you started getting ready to go — well, that was probably just coincidence.”
I also puzzled over my friend’s statement that this was “almost entirely [his] doing.” What the heck did that mean? “Stacey probably doesn’t even know he gave you the number,” I thought. “You’d better talk with him before you do anything.”
Three days later, I finally called him.
“You haven’t called her yet?!” he asked. “She knows you have her phone number!”
Oh no — this was bad. I may have been inexperienced, but I already knew that if the guy hadn’t used the girl’s phone number within three days, it meant rejection. “Crap,” I thought, “I’ve screwed this up before it even had a chance to start.”
I quickly hung up with my friend. It was 10 p.m. on a school night, but this was an emergency. I fished out that scrap of paper and dialed the phone.
“Hello,” I said. “Is Stacey there?”