Part of the advantage of living with my sister is that I get to see how much girls think about things that go on in a relationship. It comforts me because I too am guilty of thinking about each move — although 2008 Rich is going to put the kibosh on that.

"So is it good if a guy emails you," my sister asks. It can be. I've been guilty, though, of texting or emailing back just to be friendly — all the while hoping that the girl kind of just gives up. This is known as the old "fizzle". A fizzle is a gentle, slow, polite way of letting something go away without actually going on more than one date (best case scenario — no dates occur). The key to accomplishing a good fizzle is avoiding something known in the advertising world as call to action. "Redeem this coupon" attached to an advertisement is a call to action. A call to action in a text or an email is usually a question. "Will you be around this weekend," "Were you really hungover this morning?" A guy won't invite you to write back or supply more info if he's not interested.

Sadly, if you like someone you may hold onto hope just because they are calling/texting and coming off as if they are interested. I was a victim of the ultimate fizzle — one that went on so long it became insulting.

I have a gift for picking out girls that have mental problems without even talking to them. In fact, for me, they stand out in a crowd as if they are on stage performing a soliloquy. Of course, since she stood out in her crazy spotlight, I bee-lined for her. I opened confidently with my no-fail "I like your outfit". Before I knew it, we were closing down the bar. I got her number, the lights went on and the evening was over.

I called her a couple days later to set up a date. She answered — I still can't figure out if I like it better when they answer or when I get to leave a voice message. We had a good conversation and agreed to meet during the week for drinks. Of course, it couldn't go completely smoothly. At the end of the conversation She warned me:

"Oh, by the way, I have something I kind of have to tell you. I kind of have a boyfriend."

I was completely thrown off by this one. Most of my friends later told me I should have cut off the date right there. I had intentions of possibly dating this girl, and even if she had intentions of dating me, what was she doing attempting to do this while she had a boyfriend? I figured I should just hang in there. Perhaps she was just saying this to play it safe and later she'd tell me she had broken up with her "boyfriend".

Things slipped further into "friendness" when she told me that a bunch of her friends would be joining her the night we met up. The night did not start well. As soon as I walked in I looked at her and walked right past her. One of the many problems with meeting a girl out drunk is that it's not so easy to remember what they look like in sober light. The conversation went well, and I set my course on getting in with her friends. Winning the friends' approval always helps when trying to break someone up with their "boyfriend".

Toward the end of the night, I found myself alone with one of her friends at the bar while she was in the restroom.

"So do you like Brette," she asked.

I suddenly felt like I was in middle school again. I tried to play it cool: "I really don't know. I just met her."

"Well you know she's seeing Max, right?"

Darn. Last thing I wanted was for "Max" to start developing a personality - it makes it much harder to break people up.

After the date my strategy was to try to be play it straight — ask her on another date. We made plans to hang out again. However, just a few hours before we were supposed to hang out she called me and told me she couldn't make it.

Over the next few weeks we texted back and forth without ever meeting up. Finally, my friends stepped in and told me it had to stop.

Secretly, I took one last shot: I called her.
She picked up.
I asked her out. She agreed.
We set up a tentative date to hang out the following Saturday at 3PM.

She instructed me to "call her Saturday." So, Saturday came along and I waited until noon on Saturday to call her to confirm. I left a message and sat…and sat…and sat. Finally, at 2:45 PM she called me.
"Sorry I'm just calling now but I wanted to make sure I couldn't go out today. I have some friends from out of town here so can we go out another time?"

I believe she mentioned some Eastern European country—X, Y, Z-isbekisatan. Interesting someone could just show up un-announced from a former piece of the USSR.

Of course I didn't argue with this. I swore to myself I'd stop returning her texts and calls. My friend even went into my contacts and changed her name in my phone. So, someone named "Edmund" did end up texting and calling a few times, but I did him the favor of not returning the texts. I don't mind getting fizzled, because I've fizzled plenty of girls. However, a fizzle in which the fizzler generates the conversation and tries to make plans that they don't intend on following through with is particularly venomous.

The fizzle is just one of the many things that makes meeting random people in bars difficult. With every passing day I'm starting to realize that I should try to become friends with a girl first — for a while — before dating.

What Do You Think?