Caller: Uh, hi, my name's Jim, and I have a question.
Me: Okay, go ahead.
Caller: So, I used to see this girl named X a while back – you know, she's an escort.
I know exactly who he means, she's a friend of mine. But I don't know where this is going so I just say….
Me: Go on.
Caller: Well, her old number doesn't work anymore and I want to see her again. She told me she knew you. Do you have her new number?
Now, I have a general policy: I don't give out other people's phone numbers without asking them. And I most especially don't give out people's numbers to strangers. For one thing, the fact that this guy doesn't have her contact info says to me that she may not really want him to have it. It also indicates that he ain't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, because a half-decent Google search would turn up a website for this girl.
But frankly, none of this is my dog. She's my friend, but we're not business partners, and I don't want to be involved in any of her dealings with her clients. I find it sort of gauche for him to even ask.
Rather than explain all of this to him, however, I try to take the shortest distance between two points.
Me: No, I don't have a number for her, sorry.
Caller: Oh - that's weird, because she told me you two were good friends.
Damn. I gotta speak to her about telling people that.
Caller: Are you going to see her around, do you think? Can I give you my number and have you give it to her and ask her call me?
Me: Look, I don't know when I'll be seeing her, I don't want to be in the middle of this.
Caller: Well, I just really want to see her and she doesn't have an ad in the paper anymore. Is she still working?
Me: Okay - stop. I don't know where she is, I don't know what she's doing, and I don't want to be a go-between. If you can't find her, I can't help you.
Caller: But isn't she a friend of yours? I think you wrote about her in your column once.
He's not going to let me be polite about this.
Me: Listen to me: this conversation is inappropriate. I am not going to give you any information, and I am not going to carry any information for you. Goodbye.
Click. I hang up.
Several months go by. In the interim, I speak to the woman in question about this call, and she responds by saying, "Oh, that guy? Hell no, I don't want him calling me, that's why I didn't give him my new number."
"Do you owe him money or something? Because he sure was hot to find you."
"No, he's just a total pest. Everyone else in town has probably cut him off, too."
I thank her for confirming my decision and dismiss the matter from my mind.
Caller: Uh, hi, my name is Jim, I talked to you a couple of months ago, I'm the guy looking for X.
Me: Jim, I told you, I don't have any information for you.
Caller: But I thought you might have seen her by now. Are you sure you don't have her number?
Oh, I do not like people who won't take no for an answer, and this guy also has the sort of whiny, nasal voice that's like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I have a vivid memory of my college drama professor railing at all of us to "speak from your diaphragm, not through your nose!" So while I have a lot of patience - that's a lot of patience to lose. I'm losing it with this guy.
Me: Get this in your head: I am not going to give you her number. If you can’t find her, you'll just have to call someone else. But I am not a fucking pimp, so do not call me again looking for other girls, do you understand?
Caller: But I really want to –
Click. I hang up.
It's been several months. He hasn't called back. I'm hoping I can score one for brutal clarity. But I'm not assuming.