One more quick note on playing hard to get: I put up a number of different opinions on the topic to make that point that while it may entice a small majority of guys, most men--the ones who are looking for serious relationships, anyway--aren't that into it. At the same time, they don't want a woman who's throwing herself at them either, or one who reeks of desperation. As one commenter put it, if you carry on your own life and don't just wait by the phone, you'll be in great shape.

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However ... a few weeks back, I was somewhat seduced by my friend's Harry advice, to play a little hard to get, when it came to the Russian. Did it work? Well ... the Russian wrote me a very sweet note over the weekend--after reading about himself in my blog!--to apologize for dropping out of touch for a week. He explained that he'd been dating someone else in his master's program, and their relationship had suddenly turned into something more serious; he was going to have to stop seeing me. He added that he was very sorry, because he "would have been really excited to see" where things might have gone between us.

His interest in me as a human being does seem genuine, because he added that he'd like to stay in touch, and to keep talking about writerly things. We've even agreed to get together for tea sometime soon. In fact, the only thing missing from his conciliatory e-mail was a line like: "You're so incredibly hot that I'm truly sad I won't be able to pursue this." I joke. And in seriousness, I thought it was really considerate of him to fill me in on all this. Now I can stop wondering if I had bad breath the last night we hung out, or a booger hanging out of my nose.

At the same time, because I'm a full-fledged neurotic, it has occurred to me that maybe he was just letting me down gently ... maybe he just invented this "other" relationship so I wouldn't feel bad ... maybe it was just a really nice (and perhaps slightly fictionalized) way of saying I'm just not that into you?

Well, even if it was, I like his etiquette. And I myself have often written emails like his. In fact, I sent one that was very similar to a guy I met through Nerve.com while I was seeing Jonas Singer (although I think I was more vague on the details)--and now that guy and I have become pretty good friends! I've even quoted him twice on the old bloggerino. I think it'd be nice if things go the same way with the Russian.

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In other news from the weekend: My date with the cute photographer lacked luster. Isn't chemistry--and the absence of it--a strange thing? I mean, this guy was perfectly cute, very sweet, and interesting to boot. But his nose seemed a little too small. (What a ridiculous thing to say! I know! And yet ... it DID!) And he gestured too much with his hands. And somehow the conversation we were having about Van Gogh--whether his obsessive-compulsive dedication to his art grew was more a result of personal discipline gone haywire or a result of his propensity to mental illness--just didn't interest me, though on the face of it, it should have. Which is all to say--I'll repeat--chemistry is a strange thing. Here was a great guy, with a great job, a great sense of humor and a great pair of glasses, and I just wasn't that into him. Sigh.

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One last update: I talked to the hard-hat hottie on the phone last night ... and despite the fact that he's the one who works in the construction business, I was doing all the heavy lifting: totally carrying the conversation. I'm worried we are not going to have ANYTHING to say to each other when we meet in person. Should I go ahead with the date anyway?

xxx!

*his porn-star name

PS: By the way, for my money, one of the very best stories ever written about playing hard to get--or following "The Rules"--is "The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing," written by Melissa Bank, for whom I used to dog-sit.

What Do You Think?