I’ve got until June 2019 to find a suitable male date before the condoms I just bought all expire again. Remember Mr. Perfect Profile? Last week I shot him one of those not-quite-desperate, and rather mostly just determined texts, a week after he’d canceled our date last minute. I figured I’d have nothing to lose. My weekend was open, there were no other prospective dates lined up, and we’d never met so it didn’t really matter how I came off as to him, so I asked him out a second time. In the past I had a history of being somewhat naïve and under the assumption if someone said they were busy, they were busy. It never occurred to me that someone wouldn’t be completely honest with me when it came to dating. After years of being lied to, I’ve kind of toughened up and have trouble trusting what I’m told, but there’s still a part of me that will fold if the liar becomes defensive. It’s difficult to find the balance in protecting my feelings, while not coming off as insensitive. This time when he excitedly accepted the rescheduled date for Saturday night, I teased him, “Just let me know a little sooner if you plan on backing out at the last minute again this time.” He became defensive about family issues having come up that weekend, and immediately I noticed I was apologizing, nervous of having offended an honest person. Shortly after that we’d confirmed a place and time for the date. I hadn’t planned on getting my hopes up again. I was pretty let down the first time he’d backed out, and knew it could easily happen again, but by Thursday I felt myself getting anxious about the upcoming weekend. I thought it might be best to check in Friday, so I wished him a happy Friday and asked if we were still on for the next day. No answer, but that’s alright because he was probably at work. When I still hadn’t heard from him on that rainy Saturday, and I joked asking if I should assume he wasn’t into heading out in the rain to meet me at that bar, and I never heard back, I knew there was no need to pick out an outfit.
That’s one thing that I will always find completely uncalled for, though. Ignoring someone. I’m not talking about missing a call or a text here or there when you’re busy. I’m not even talking about when you get some strange initial message on a dating site from someone you’ve never spoken to before. (I do think it’s a little rude not to answer one of those, especially when it’s a long and non-generic message, but I can understand that some people would rather not get a reply than a reply letting them down, and some people don’t have time to respond to each and every message, especially when already conversing with a prospective date. It’s a tool used to meet someone you’d like to go on a date with, and it’s users are generally aware of that.) I’m talking about when you’ve already met someone, or had a decent amount of dialogue with a person with plans set to meet them, and you decide to back out of it by suddenly not acknowledging anything they say. I don’t care if it’s over the internet or what year this is, it’s rude, disrespectful, and completely uncalled for. The digital age has helped disconnect us from one another to the extent that we forget there is a person on the other end of that textmessage, e-mail, or phone call. There is a human being with thoughts, feelings, and some sort of schedule in their life who has decided to put aside x amount of time of their indefinite lifetime to speak to you or spend time with you. The very least you can do to not be a piece of sh*t human being on this earth is to follow through or politely decline their request and not leave them hanging there indefinitely over what you might have to say, only to find out that you didn’t even have it in you to offer seconds of your time to spare them any of their time wasted over you. It’s selfish and cruel.
Alright, this isn’t just about last weekend. This isn’t the first time, I know it’s not the last time, and I know I’m not the only one it’s happened to. It’s bigger than “I’ll call you” and they don’t. It’s just being ignored entirely. It’s when you try to connect with someone and they respond by pretending you’re not even there. It’s reaching out and then having someone suggest your existence is just not significant enough to be acknowledged. It’s just as childish as when you were a kid and your friend was mad at you. They would say they’re not talking to you, and even though you knew they could hear you, they’d turn the other way and remain silent. It usually ended with finding a person in the middle and a “Tell so and so that I am not speaking to them,” which was eventually followed up with breaking the silence and directing their words to you again. Through text messages, the middle person doesn’t exist. You can either send follow up texts that make you look like a fool when the other person continues to ignore you, or you can patiently await a reply that never comes, going about your day with the lingering idea in the back of your mind, triple checking that your phone is on, you haven’t hit silent mode by mistake, and you have no missed messages. This act makes you feel pathetic and it’s followed by negative feelings of either sadness or angry, and it’s really all quite unnecessary. It’s when you go out on a date and afterwards he/she texts you that they had a great time and would like to see you again, and then you then set plans for x night and never hear from that person again. It’s when you show up to the bar/restaurant and no one is there, without having a single missed call on your phone. It’s when you develop some sort of connection with someone over many messages on the internet, textmessages, or phone calls and when it comes time to meet it’s as if they literally disappeared off the face of the planet.
I am reminded of this because a decent number of years ago I went out on a date after meeting this guy in a bar. It went well. We continued talking and he asked me on another date. We still continued to converse, the night of the next date neared and poof he was gone. Never answered another of my texts or calls. Removed himself from the event invite to my birthday party. Removed himself from FaceBook. I thought maybe something horrible had happened to him. I thought maybe something had happened with his family. I thought maybe he might have come out of the closet and not been ready to speak to me about it. I thought of just about every possibility, including a lot of blame on myself. It hadn’t occurred to me that the most logical idea was that for whatever reason (including meeting someone else) he had changed his mind about going on another date with me, and decided that rather than facing me and confronting me with this, he would make himself vanish. He, as many others do, just ran away from something unpleasant like a coward, leaving someone else to deal with the uncomfortable situation on their own. A couple of weeks ago I noticed this “new” friend on my FaceBook. It was the dude I’d gone on that date with years ago who disappeared off the face of the planet. He must’ve just reactivated his FaceBook and never deleted me as a friend back then. Remembering it was around the time of my birthday, I curiously clicked through his pictures from back then. Apparently he’d gone on vacation and decided to just vanish off the earth instead of just texting me to call off our date. I can’t make any more sense of it now, but I guess I can probably lump him into the “just a jerk” category at this point and continue to move on.
Have you ever stood someone up? Have you ever ignored someone as a way of avoiding a future date with them? Have you ever walked out on someone you were in a long-term relationship with? Why did you do it? How did it make you feel? Did you ever consider how it would be for the other person? Did the person ever deserve it?