Am I Being Unfair Not Giving My Phone Number Until I’m Ready?

Am I Being Unfair Not Giving My Phone Number Until I'm Ready?

Hey Evan, I have recently started chatting with someone on a dating site and he keeps asking me for my phone number. He says he doesn’t use the internet much on weekdays, but I’m reluctant to give anyone my phone number until I have chatted with them for a period of time.

Am I being unfair with this expectation of not giving my phone number out and preferring to spend weeks on online chatter? I actually do like this gentleman, which is unusual for me. Thanks in advance for your answer.

Janelle

I figure this is as good a time as any to float a pretty non-controversial theory of how to be successful in dating. Ready?

Okay, so you know what a Venn Diagram looks like, right? Two circles that overlap in one area. Hold that in your mind for one second.

The problem in dating is when you think your circle is the “right” one – even when it doesn’t overlap with anyone else’s circle.

You’re one circle. He’s the other circle. The place where your circles overlap is your relationship. The more they overlap, the healthier it becomes.

The problem in dating is when you think your circle is the “right” one – even when it doesn’t overlap with anyone else’s circle.

This is where I came up with the idea (espoused in Why He Disappeared) of “effective vs. ineffective”, as opposed to “right vs. wrong”. Example:

Guy wants to get laid on the first date.

Girl wants to save herself until marriage.

Is either of them “wrong”? No. I would suggest that both will find their stances largely ineffective in dealing with the majority of the population.

Is it possible to find a woman who’ll have sex on Date 1? Sure.

Is it possible to find a man who’ll wait until marriage before having sex? Sure. But there are a LOT fewer people who will agree to either.

This Venn diagram theory goes for pretty much everything in life. If you think something is reasonable, but nobody else on the planet agrees with you, you’re going to be more effective by finding a compromise point closer to the majority position. If you don’t, you may be left standing alone.

Men who don’t pick up the full check on Date 1 are not “wrong”, but they are ineffective.

Women who ask men if they will commit on Date 1 are not “wrong”, but they are ineffective.

All in all, Janelle, you’re not “wrong”. But you are ineffective.

In the Venn Diagram of Online Dating (copyright, Evan Marc Katz), men’s circle is Speed. Your circle is Comfort.

He wants to meet you right NOW and see you naked ASAP.

You want to “chat with him for a good period of time,” and after “a few weeks of online chatter”, you’ll give him your phone number. Then, presuming a few phone calls go well, you want to meet him for a safe coffee date at 2:30 on a Tuesday, so you can have a quick exit strategy if you don’t click.

Both of you are ineffective. And by ineffective, I mean that by not being able to understand (much less cater to) the opposite sex’s point of view, you’re pretty much eliminating your options.

You don’t want to do things his way.

He doesn’t want to do things your way.

Neither of you is wrong. Both of you are ineffective. And by ineffective, I mean that by not being able to understand (much less cater to) the opposite sex’s point of view, you’re pretty much eliminating your options. You know as well as I do that women don’t want to be bullied into going on blind dates:

“Hey, Janelle. Read your profile. Think you’re attractive. Not good at this email thing. Let’s see if there’s chemistry. Here’s my number. Call me. Let’s go out on Saturday night.”

By the same token, he doesn’t want to receive an reply that says, “Dear Dan, thank you for your initial inquiry. However, I’m very uncomfortable giving you my phone number. Who knows? You may be a serial killer or stalker. Besides, your profile doesn’t say very much about you, so maybe if you tell me more about yourself, if we click, then, maybe in a few weeks, I’ll give you my phone number and we can go from there.”

This is the entire reason that I came up with a strategy that works for both men AND women.

It’s called the 2/2/2 Rule (two emails on the dating site, two emails off site, two phone calls and then a date). I spend about a half-hour explaining it in my Finding the One Online audio program, which helps women flirt and connect with quality men online.

If you’ve ever wondered why you struggle with men, it’s quite likely because you’ve never given much value to HIS circle in the Venn Diagram.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ruby

    I always ask for the man’s phone number, and offer to call him. I’ve encountered very few men who have a problem with this. Just like meeting rather than being picked up on the first date, it’s really no big deal. IMO, after a few emails exchanged and one phone call, I know if the person is someone I’d like to meet. Two phone calls is too much unless I’m still uncertain about the man, as the in-person chemistry is so important, and can’t be gauged from phone calls and emails. Just my two cents.

  2. 2
    Nicole

    Ugh, I hate men who try to send me too many messages online b/c in my experience, those guys are not serious about meeting me. I personally think a lot of them are not single and are just amusing themselves. It doesn’t really matter, b/c whether they aren’t serious about meeting or aren’t really available, they aren’t going to be for me.

    If a man doesn’t try to move to email or phone after a couple of decent messages on the site, I’m kind of thinking he’s a no. If you want to really creep me out, send me your number or email in the first message. Some people are clearly trying to do the minimum, like the guys who say in a first message “do you text” or “would you like to meet for drinks” yet won’t answer if I saw something reasonably like “Hi, what’s your name?”

    I did entertain a couple of people who sent way too many messages that were well-written and thoughtful(and I’ll admit, on paper they looked like winners in every way)but as expected, one never asked for my number and the other did but then was really flaky about following-up. Would claim to be calling one day and not, or call for like 5 minutes…clearly wanting to keep me as an optiong but basically just wasting my time.

    I think the goal is to not fool yourself into thinking that there is a connection that isn’t there, b/c I just think too many people will take several weeks of writing to mean that they are dating . I don’t think so, but also don’t want to feel that “let down” from someone who was never real. B/c even if my head tells me it’s not real, you do get to a point where you are anxiously awaiting to hear from that person as if they matter when they really don’t.
    People who aren’t willing to share a little basic information or let me hear their voice are not good bets.

  3. 3
    David T

    I recently went out on two DATES with a woman who NEVER gave me her phone number. We always connected and organized via the dating site chat and then a third party smart phone chatting app. Frankly I was weirded out by her secrecy about that and some other things. Obviously she did not think I was a complete loon or she would not have agreed to the second date. Obviously I thought she had been burned by some guy who must have called her incessantly or stalked her or why else be so cagey? Still, when she went somewhat quiet on the one communication thread (and still would not give me her number) I walked away. Even my Venn circle only extends so far into her worldview and I suspect most men would have come to the end of their even sooner.

    Now I am meeting a woman Tuesday evening with whom I have swapped a few emails, chatted a bit and had a couple of phone calls. I suppose that is about the 2/2/2 rule. She insists on meeting at Starbucks (ugh) but if that is what she wants, I will go with it.

    Another woman I set a first date one evening after only some really fun flirtatious chatting and then texting that same morning! It went great, though after our second date we won’t be continuing. Everyone has different expectations and standards, and I believe every interaction can be different.

    1. 3.1
      Jenn

      David, 
      Even in this day and age of Facebook and Youtube, and letting it all hang out online, women still have to be concerned about their safety. It’s nothing personal against men. She is being cautious because too many stories are out there about women going on blind dates and then being attacked. I circumvent the issue of giving out my personal number by using Google Voice.  Does that make me a paranoid loon? I have every right to a reasonable amount of privacy and security.  There’s no way to tell for sure if a guy is not a rapist or a mugger,  or a scam artist.  Every woman who takes basic precautions before getting to know a guy is just being smart.  Guys should probably do that,  too. You never know who you’re meeting.  
       

      1. 3.1.1
        Keri

        I have not heard one single story about a women going on a blind date and being “attacked”.  Or really anything even CLOSE to being scary.  I think as long as you meet in public and tell someone where you’re going you are fine.  I have too many friends who have dated MANY guys online to believe that most guys are weird creepers. 

  4. 4
    J

    If you are worried about someone having your cell number you can get a Google voice number. It rings to your cellphone, you can use it solely for online guys and change it/turn it off when you want.
    I think that’s a way better alternative than refusing to talk on the phone for weeks.

    1. 4.1
      m

      Seconding the Google voice number for security. People who consider themselves “normal” — especially guys; you have no idea what we put up with as women in terms of safety concerns, and a quick buzz through Gavin DeBecker’s The Gift of Fear, if you have no time to do a search for “women” + “harassment” on MeFi, might well be enlightening — have no idea exactly how “extreme” some “extreme” behavior can be.

  5. 5
    John

    I would be leery about a woman not giving her phone number. I have spoken to many ladies who gave their number so we could talk prior to meeting and also some texting. So if someone didn’t give it out, that is such an anomaly. I can understand if it was the socially accepted norm (to withhold it) but it isn’t. Anyone who is that way is either paranoid or hiding something. This business about being burnt in the past by a stalker doesn’t cut it. We have all been burnt before by various things but it isn’t an excuse to deviate from the norm.

    The risk to withholding the number from a good guy who will be turned off is much greater than the risk of exposing herself to a stalker.

    1. 5.1
      m

      John, please see the comment right above yours (and mine too in response to it, once EMK lets it out of moderation).

    2. 5.2
      Jean

      Are you kidding?

    3. 5.3
      Mark

      I’m a guy, and I agree that you should not hide your number. Maybe one out of 200 dates has a woman refused to give out her phone number in case something happened, etc.

      If she didn’t give out her phone number, I’d think she were a freak or hung around with some bad people. Yes, I would JUDGE her. Aren’t I so horrible. But I would judge her and be a little worried about where she is coming from. (I also would not take the date/relationship seriously from that point on.)

  6. 6
    JB

    After 18 yrs of online dating I have my own rules which I stick by. 3-5 emails onsite or off then we either phone chat and/or meet or the contact stops. It’s very simple and easy. No 3 or 4 weeks of being someone’s “pen pal” or an email response 3 days after I sent one. I’m a very busy man and there’s thousands of other women on Match. If one woman doesn’t want to play by the rules set forth by the internet dating consortium (me, myself, I, and of course Evan….lol) then on to the next 3 who do. What women don’t realize but men know is, is that there are OTHER women on the site besides THEM. I can’t believe the number of women (and I ask them all) that never do a search on the women that they are competing against. They really do think they are singularly that special….lol I always search the men I’m up against just out of curiosity.

    I’ve now also learned to Google image search women’s photo’s to find out so much more about them before I even email them. So women, if you’re using your Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other photo’s in your profile that are up on another public site they’ll come up in an image search with a lot of other info. Try it, it works a lot of the time but not everyone has a Facebook page darn it!

    1. 6.1
      Androgynous

      18 years ??? That either makes you totally expert or totally clueless.

      1. 6.1.1
        JB

        I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you could figure out which of the 2 I’m closer to being…lol Let’s just say I’m “pretty good” even with what I’ve learned just from the years I’ve been on this blog. When the internet was invented and most guys were looking up porn I was searching “personals” sites and emailing women long before jpeg’s were invented. Loved it then. love it now! :)

    2. 6.2
      SparklingEmerald

      JB, no woman thinks she is the only woman on an internet dating site. And yes, I have checked out the competition. You don’t know something that we don’t know. Sheesh, where did you come up with this stuff ? If a woman doesn’t respond back to you in a timely manner, it’s because YOU aren’t the only man on the website.

      I am being bombarded with messages on POF at the moment. There are lots of men I would like to communicate with, (and many that I have no interest in), but I can’t communicate with even ALL the ones I want to. So I’ll just go with 5 or 6 of my very, very favorites. It’s not because I think I’m then only woman online, or even the only woman these men are interested in. I have a limited amount of time to be doing any combination of e-mailing, phoning and face to face dating and I assume the same is true for the men I meet online.

    3. 6.3
      imadime

      i’m one of those women who’s online dated and done a pretty good job of scoping out the competition! i’ve always asked men whether they do, and get the same results you’ve gotten from women–not one has told me that they did.

      i agree that many women in the online dating sphere are just making things too hard for a man. i’m not sure why anyone, man or woman, thinks that a person who doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall would be willing to jump through these kinds of hoops (pen pal, several phone calls, etc.) just to get the chance to meet you … especially when there are THOUSANDS of other options. and what’s the big deal about giving someone your phone number? i mean, what’s the worst that can happen??

      unlike Androgynous, i don’t think 18 years of online dating makes you potentially clueless (unless you are!)…the presumption is that everyone is online dating with the objective of being in a l/t relationship is a false one. some people just want to…date!

      however, JB, on this point: “I’ve now also learned to Google image search women’s photo’s to find out so much more about them before I even email them.”

      sorry, that sounds a little creepy. :-/

      1. 6.3.1
        JB

        Well imadime, I could care less about “creepy”. Knowledge is power and when I Google image search someone and find their Facebook page full of “real” photo’s of what they look like right now head to toe it saves a lot of time not to mention seeing who their friends are etc…to me it’s just like a giant extension to their Match profile. Not to mention their lovely LinkedIn page with full work history. It helps a lot especially with people with a 3 sentence profile that says nothing. This idea btw came right from the Catfish TV show so you know who you may be really dealing with. It’s just a matter of time before online dating profiles will have all of these things combined anyway. Yep every profile will have those little logo’s at the bottom we all know and love and see everywhere everyday

        And SparklingEmerald I know what you’re saying and that’s great you and I check out the competition obviously just being on this site means we’re by far smarter than the average online woman/man. :)

        1. SparklingEmerald

          That google image search is GOLD. I’ve had 2 men using fake photos try to contact me online, one through my facebook, and one through meet up. The face book guy, I found his photo on the website of an unknown German politician. When I busted him, he deleted his facebook account.

          Apparently, women in my age group are prime targets for catfishers.

        2. JB

          I find between 5-10 fake widower profiles on Match everytime I search men in my area between 40-60. They’re so easy to spot and when you Google search their photo’s (that usually look like models) you see where they stole them from. I always report them as fraudulent. Last week I saw a world renowned mountain climber/millionaire who’s married’s photo’s being used and when I reported it it took Match a week to take it down. I’ve met many women that email these guys!!

  7. 7
    Goldie

    I have no problem exchanging phone numbers after a couple of on-site messages. Like many people, I don’t have a landline and my cell phone number is the primary contact # for my entire family. I’ve given it to recruiters, hospices, colleges, schools, doctors and what have you. What’s the damage if I give it to one more guy? If he gets weird, I can always block him. (Never had to.)

    One exception, if your very first message contains your phone number and is asking for mine, and doesn’t say much else besides that, I probably won’t answer, because come on! It’s right up there with a first message saying “I like your profile, let’s meet soon and see if there’s any chemistry”… eh, let’s not. Too fast.

  8. 8
    Goldie

    Want to add – hadn’t thought of this until after I hit Send, so apologize for double-posting – there was one time when I refused to communicate with a man by phone, but not for safety reasons. He was in my area on business, I believe he said he was on a six months on/six months off schedule, originally from Sweden. He kept giving me the international number to his Blackberry, for me to call and text. I called my provider and found out what the rates were for me to call or text, or receive texts from, a Swedish number (pretty steep). I kept giving him alternate suggestions, like using email since we both had smartphones, but he insisted on doing it his way. When he finally told me “but it doesn’t cost ME anything – I expense my phone bill to the company” … That was it. I said, “I like you, but I’m a single parent, with a kid in college, and this is outside my price range”. Still have no regrets about turning him down, imo this was just an indicator of his overall attitude.

  9. 9
    Nathan

    Getting or giving a phone number before a first date doesn’t mean as much as it once did. Online dating sites easily allow for dates to be set up without phone contact. I went on many dates after a handful of e-mails and rarely had any problems. The times I did give out and/or ask for a phone number were all about situations where for whatever reason, it might be good to have numbers in case of being late or getting lost or sonething of the sort. The biggest concern I’d have with the OP’s position is wanting to e-mail back and forth for an extended period of time. Few who are serious will put up with that these days. Most of the “endless” e-mailers – regardless of gender – just want a pen pal.

  10. 10
    Cat5

    I think people use the notion that they might be stalked too loosely. In fact, I think people say they have been stalked when they never have been stalked, or truly understand what it means to be stalked.

    I have been stalked a few times. By stalking, I mean I’ve had to have actual law enforcement intervention, and the stalkers have gone to jail. The stalkers were an ex-boyfriend I had lived with, a customer I dealt with at work who was unhappy with the decision about his claim, and a random guy who saw me walking into my apartment one day, i.e., people who I have seen me in person. As I result I do not have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or anything of that nature.

    I do, however, have a dating profile on one dating website, and I have never had any problem with anyone this site. I have given my phone number out — usually within a 2-3 emails if I am interested in the guy. The most I’ve had is an endless texter who would never follow through on setting up a date. I followed Evan’s advice on that one — texted him that I was looking for a boyfriend not a texting buddy, and that was the end of that. (Bet you never thought you’d see that Evan — me saying I’d followed your advice and it worked!) :D

    Of course, maybe I’m just getting to old for guys to stalk any more. :/

  11. 11
    Anais

    It’s definitely good to take some time before handing out your number. I haven’t been “stalked” but I’ve made the mistake of handing it out too soon and the guys blew up my phone excessively. And if I felt they weren’t a good match, they began to threaten me. One guy harassed me with texts and calls every day for 3 weeks before letting it go that I didn’t feel we were a good match. I think these were red flags I would have seen had I extended the electronic conversation a bit more, instead of switching to offline immediately.

    At the same time, I see no point carrying a convo via text and email for several weeks and waiting to meet because I’m not looking for an e-friend or text buddy. And I do have to actually speak to a guy over the phone before meeting. Texting isn’t enough.

  12. 12
    Robyn

    What has worked well for me in the past – get a separate pay-as-you-go cellphone number that you only give to guys from online dating sites. Then if that phone rings/beeps, you know it’s not family/close friends/work folks calling/texting. And because it’s not your published home or work phone number, it’s unlikely that you’ll get some one stalking you (finding out your home or work address) from that phone number.

  13. 13
    starthrower68

    Why I will always be ineffective at dating and will most likely grow old without a partner: I usually do not agree with what the culture at large is doing. Oh well. I guess it’s the price I pay for the values I hold.

  14. 14
    guest

    Ditto what Robyn said (separate prepaid phone, with a number they can’t Google to find out where you live).

  15. 15
    Anais

    Well it generally is easier to track someone’s address down a landline or work number than with a cell phone number. Also when I Google my cell it doesn’t come up with any info linked to me. On the other hand, some websites had my landline with my home address posted on it. I contacted the websites to have it removed. I virtually never give anyone my landline. Only my parents call me on that. lol

    I’m also not into adding men I’m “just dating” or haven’t even met in person yet on Facebook… I don’t feel everyone has to be a “friend” on FB. If it becomes serious, or we remain friends after dating, then we can add each other.

  16. 16
    Julia

    Its a phone number! I never understood why people are so uptight about it. My phone number is on a business card that I’ve giving to literally hundreds of people. If you don’t like someone, ignore their calls!

    1. 16.1
      JB

      Bravo Julia! It really is that simple.

    2. 16.2
      Clare

      Yeah I’m also not sure I understand the big deal. In the unlikely event that someone, having your phone number, is able to cause you real distress with that information, you can always block them. But otherwise just ignore calls and messages that you don’t want to respond to. This has worked perfectly well for me and I have not been shy about giving my number when asked to guys I like, or think I might like. Most people are not stalkers.

    3. 16.3
      imadime

      with you 100% julia! it’s really just not that serious.

  17. 17
    k2002

    There is no way i am giving any
    Man my number at this early stage of online dating. A few phone calls would have to take place first.

    1. 17.1
      Goldie

      How can any phone calls take place without a phone number? Very confused.

    2. 17.2
      Erica

      ???

      I don’t understand this.

  18. 18
    judy

    I have a special portable telephone with a dating number. So when I’m through with dating, the telephone number is no longer used. Problem solved.

    I would not give my personal fixed telephone or a mobile which is used otherwise.

  19. 19
    ASJ

    I get their number and call first and block my number the first time I call. Generally after 1 or 2 conversations, I either give them my number or do not call ever again!

  20. 20
    mtnwmn

    JB I am grateful to be rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, and thin enough not to be concerned with searching the competition. What a waste of time. If you have been online dating for 18 years straight, either your relationships have all failed due to the common denominator in all of them (Guess who!) or you’re interested in friends with benefits, booty calls, and hookups, which I (and most high-end women) find immensely boring. I loved Sparkling Emerald’s reply to you. Her strategy of filtering out low-rent prospects and sticking with her favs makes perfect sense. We women want and will have what we deserve–the best of the best. If that is not available to me on a given night, I’d rather stay home and read (or write) a good book :-).

  21. 21
    Gary Snyder

    The first thing the Nigerian boiler room scammers want is your email address, never give that out online. Additionally, there is no need to complicate matters by going to personal email; the dating sites have their own message system.
    Here is the real rule: after 3-5 days of messaging, ask to meet at a public coffee shop, bar, or restaurant, or ask for the phone number. It’s just a phone number, not an address or social security number, and you are only giving it out to a select number of people, so risks are low.
    Ultimately, the best security experts in the world will tell you the same thing… go with your intuition, your gut feelings…. if something seems off, it probably is.

  22. 22
    Josie

    I found out too late about Google Voice, which allows you to connect a free number to your real number.  So if some guy is stalking you by phone, and you gave him the Google Voice number, you can just change the Google number rather than your real cell number. 
    The best way to do it is to meet up after exchanging emails, then give your digits.  But since this is not always possible I recommend the Google Voice method. 
    Right now I am ignoring the latest mistake…lol.  Hoping he gives up soon.
     

  23. 23
    lisalin

    Most of the posts seem to be about safety, and that may be a valid concern. But I also feel much like Janelle just because I am not that chatty! I would much rather read almost anything than see some video or hear about it. If there is no depth in the written communication, I am pretty sure there won’t be much in the audio either. In general, it just feels pushy when asked for my number too soon, like he is more interested in selling me something than in actually getting to know about shared interests and perspectives.

  24. 24
    tamara

    Omg, your Venn diagram analogy is making me reconsider my ‘no sleeping together till marriage’ stance. Dammit, lol

  25. 25
    Cara

    I’d rather be alone and safe than dodging another a control freak abusive ex.  If a bloke tries to dictate to me before I’m ready to take the next step then bugger him.  I know there are better men out there than him, my sisters have them.  I don’t have a set rule.  I let the guys attitude guide me.  Many women have been through some horrific things at the hands of men.  A man who doesn’t get that is a man I don’t want to know.  It’s the whole bird and the fish love story.

  26. 26
    catherine

    I like what you say Cara, some men need to know what happens when a guy gets creepy. Its scary!! Why do you need my number- you going to call? really? Most men text alot.. Anyways, I really think I will hold out to meet a guy offline. because if you subscribe to a couple of dating sites alot of them are the same guys! So not everyone is doing it! internet dating is contrived – I dont want a contrived guy. Sorry bad serial dater guy ended the romance of online dating for me. I think most men on it are a bit sad, they will never meet the “special one” and are predators.

  27. 27
    catherine

    In fact if they tell you on a date that they are spending 10,000£ on their receding hair.   Run!! LOL, its a hint that they have  been internet dating for years and are losing sight of themselves.   …They only see themselves in one dimension ( a photo) and yes that is the way they see you also forever.

  28. 28
    GMM

    I have a Google number and I use it exclusively for online dating. Why?  Because several years ago I used my real mobile number to place a for sale ad online, and it’s still online (I’ve tried unsuccessfully to have it deleted)  If someone were to Google my “real” mobile number, my name appears – both first and last.  Not a big deal, right?  Well; Google my name, and find my address.  Google my address and you see a photo of my lovely house.  I had a semi-stalker once (I say semi because he didn’t cause harm).  He did exactly what I described above and showed up at my house to “surprise” me with flowers after one date.  I’m sorry, but from a woman’s perspective, that’s both creepy and scary.  He was probably the one man in one thousand that would do that; but I’m not taking any more chances.

  29. 29
    Jenny

    I cannot STAND giving out my number to people except right before we meet. Some guys are totally fine with it, but there’s that tiny percentage who blow up your phone, send unsolicited dick pics (yes this has happened to me), and who take it personally if I don’t immediately respond to texts. One time I was at work and just did not have time to be texting someone continuously on the phone, and this man sent me very nasty texts that evening because I hadn’t replied to his text a few hours earlier. I’ve found that texting manners are very bad and I really don’t want to be expected to be available via text all the time for a guy I haven’t even met yet. 

    Of course, once i know I like someone and we’ve met, none of this is an issue. But I’ve found I’ve let go of a lot of guys because they asked for my number too soon and I was just not comfortable giving it. I’d much rather meet quickly than spend a week incessantly texting. 

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