So, attempting to figure out what was going through Hard-Hat Hottie's head, when he hadn't called after a couple days, I asked a number of my male friends: "What's the industry standard* now? Is it still de rigeur to wait at least two days before calling a girl you like?"

"Definitely two years, or three, if I can hold out that long," my 31-year-old friend Lion Alexander** joked. "I'd hate to seem over-eager." Verrrry funny.

My 44-year-old friend Maurice Amsterdam gave me his opinion bluntly: "Interest is inversely proportional to post-date phone lag." (For those who haven't taken a math class in a while, that translates to this: If he doesn't call pronto, he's not that into you.)

Similarly, Phinneas Danube says: "If I like the girl, I call the next day. And if I call much later than that ... well, it's probably because I like the girl, kind of, but only enough to try to get sex from her if my schedule is free." (Oh, Phinneas! You bad boy. But thank you for telling the truth.)

My darling Mike Parkwood, 34, has a different take. "In my experience, women attach WAY, WAY more significance to the issue of timing than men do." Sometimes men are busy doing other things--like working long hours, or trying to meet a deadline--and just because they don't call ASAP, it doesn't mean they're not interested, according to him. (He actually asked me, rhetorically: "Is it really so bad to call a girl and say, 'It was fun, hanging out with a couple weeks ago; want to get together this weekend?'")

Harry Berkeley, 30, points out: "A short text or email the next day is fairly standard, in the year 2009, if you want to show interest. That way, if the girl isn't into you, it saves you both the exertion and potential awkwardness of calling or leaving a voice mail."

But King Andover, 33, admits he still keeps the industry standard in mind. "Even though it's so easy now to send a quick message, if I really like a girl, and I'm not sure the vibe is mutual, I still wait three says. I've been brainwashed."

Here's the refreshing to-hell-with-gender take of my friend Gaynor Lockwood: "I've never been a fan of 'the rules.' If it's on and you both feel it, you should both go with it rather than participate in some intricate ruse." Amen to that, brother!

But still ... if you ask me, a guy really should send some kind of electronic message the next day to show he's interested. No matter how busy or preoccupied a dude is, it's pretty easy to follow-up with a short text. And I think that most men understand that following up with some kind of communication the next day is important.

And ... still no word from the Hard-Hot Hottie. So, if you ask me, that's that.

xxx

*If you have no idea what I mean: I'm referencing a line from Vince Vaughn's break-out movie, Swingers. But I'd always thought the line referred to how long you wait to contact a woman after your first date. But when I Googled it just now, I realized I was wrong. The line delivered by a character named Trent is actually this: "After getting digits at a bar, waiting two days to call is industry standard and three is money. If you wait six days, you're as cool as Vince [Vaughn]."

**All names are porn-star names, of course ... except for Vince Vaughn. Which is the name of a bona-fide movie star! To whom I have no personal connection.

What Do You Think?