Dating in the 1980s: a story of phone calls and disappointment


“Young people today have it easy,” Malcolm, 61, told QCity Metro, as he prepared to share a dating story from more than three decades ago. “It was different back then. Dating was harder back then.”

“You can see who you want. You know all about them on the apps and everything,” he said, noting the technology available to people dating now.

When Malcolm was introduced to Ella through a mutual friend in the early 1980s, there was no texting, and no Facetime available. Their connection began by phone call.

Malcolm said the mutual friend had spoken highly of Ella and said they would get along well, so he asked for her phone number and called.

Highlight of the day

“And so I called her up. There was no swiping, I couldn’t go online and look at her social media posts,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about her.”

Ella answered, and the two spoke on the phone for hours.

“We had the most wonderful conversation I had ever had [at that age],” he recalled.

He said they had a lot in common, but they agreed to wait a while before they met in person. They wanted to ensure they had a connection before going out.

“It might’ve been four weeks. It might’ve been five weeks. Might’ve been six weeks,” he said. “But we agreed that we would just talk and get to each other as people first.”

Their connection and interest in one another was strong.

“Every day, the highlight of my day was to get home and talk to Ella,” he told QCity Metro.

After a few weeks, he and Ella set their first official date.

‘I’m here for Ella’

“So [after work], I went home and got cleaned up,” he said. “I splashed on my cologne, drove over to the address she gave me, knocked on the door, and this person came to the door.”

Malcolm said he peered through the screen door between them and said, “Hi, I’m Malcolm, I’m here for Ella.”

He told QCity Metro he was looking past the woman who had opened the door for Ella when the woman spoke.

“Malcolm, I’m Ella,” she told him. Malcolm said he wasn’t sure whether she saw it in his face or not, but he was instantly disappointed.

“She did not look anything like my type,” he said.

In short, he described her as intensely unattractive and immediately began thinking of how he could get out of the dinner plans he had come to pick her up for.

Malcolm said he went inside, and they talked for around half an hour before he finally thought of an excuse to cancel. He was supposed to pick up one of his siblings after dinner with Ella and decided to use that.

“I had plenty of time to take Ella out to dinner, drop her off, then pick my sibling up,” he said. “But I told her I had to pick my sibling up and that we could maybe [go out] some other time.”

She called him for around a week afterward, but Malcolm didn’t return her calls.

“To be honest, I just didn’t want to be seen with her,” he said.

Malcolm said he knew then that it wasn’t going to work out and didn’t want to waste her time. “And I admit it was really shallow,” he said, recalling the experience.

“[But] the moral of the story is, that wouldn’t happen today. There are so many ways you can research, or you can see, ” he said. “You can see…you swipe left or right, and you can decide, ‘okay, I like how you look, you like how I look,” Malcolm said.

Malcolm said he and Ella did not speak again, and he had not seen her since then. Malcolm is now married and has a daughter.

He was unable to share what or how Ella was doing that day, and QCity Metro was unable to verify her dating status independently.



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