This week I was ghosted!
It was not a minor ghosting offence, like when you’re sick of making small talk with Barry from Bumble (guilty). It was a kick-in-the-pants-shit-show of a Houdini! Why? Because I didn’t see it coming.
Now before you roll your eyes, I didn’t come down in yesterday’s shower, I am aware that the entire premise of ghosting is that you don’t see it coming! This was not the first, nor do I suspect, the last time I experience the ol’ Harrold Holt, and I hate to admit that I too am guilty of pulling a Casper or two in my day. But the thing that got me in this instance is that this master illusionist had me under his spell. I was hypnotized by his showmanship and under the impression that this might be getting serious. After wowing me with his three act show it was time for the grand finale. A wave of the wand and a flick of the wrist and “poof” – he vanished into thin air!
Let me set the scene…
Pre Covid I had been chatting with a fellow on Hinge…let’s call him Hubert. After about two weeks of pretty consistent chat he asked if I would be up for a walk. He lives close by so we went for a stroll (observing social distancing protocols of course). I thought we’d hit it off and Hubert obviously thought so too. It wasn’t even 30 minutes after our date that he had messaged saying he’d genuinely enjoyed himself and wanted to catch up – the next day! Twenty four hours later I went to his place for a drink (maintaining a safe 1.5 meters). I came home after two beers and again received a similar text professing that I “was a cool chick” and “I’m the type of girl he can see himself with”. The third date was another walk whilst swapping travel stories. Things were going well. Again comes the follow up message “You looked pretty today, I really enjoy spending time with you, you make me laugh”. Blah blah blahdy blah. Yeah I’m pretty…PRETTY FUCKING STUPID!
Fast forward five days later and other than one weak attempt to “catch up for coffee” there has been nothing. Nada. Radio silence.
This isn’t my first rodeo, I assume Hubert is engaged in other conversations with people from the apps – that’s fine, I get it. BUT what I don’t get is why men feel the need to tell women what they think they want to hear. This is what’s thrown me! I am pretty level headed when it comes to dating. A first date is only ever a first date, not an invitation to marriage. I use the first couple of dates to test the waters and determine if a potential suiter and I share common ground. No hard hitting questions are posed and no interrogation takes place. I always let the man follow up for a second date and I never EVER agree to subsequent dates unless I intend on following through!
Have I ever ghosted someone in the same manner that Hubert has to me? Never. Have I blanked on people I’ve been chatting to online that I have no connection with – absolutely. However, I think once you’ve met someone face to face then it’s respectful to let them know if you are not interested. I know there a myriad of reasons why someone would vanish rather than send an awkward text, but at the end of the day an honest well worded text is a much easier pill to swallow than the text that never comes.
I’m a big girl, unlike Tom Cruise in ‘A Few Good Men’ I CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! Well within reason! A simple “Hey – I’ve had a good time getting to know you but I don’t see this going any further” is fine. Whereas, “I’m sorry but this isn’t going to work because you looked thinner in your profile” is kinda douchey. Does it suck telling someone that you’re not interested in them? Yes. No one enjoys letting someone down – but it’s a damn sight kinder than letting someone think you’ve died in a house fire…or worse still…gotten back with your ex! When you ghost someone (without reason) it leaves a lot of questions unanswered and means that the person you’ve ghosted continues to expend energy on you that you actually no longer deserve.
On the flip side – there are some cases where it is absolutely acceptable to ghost someone you’ve been on a date with. This includes situations where a date makes you feel uncomfortable, if they are aggressive or threatening, too forward sexually, are racist, sexist, manipulative, do not look like their pictures…the list goes on. In these instances I think the Houdini is actually a safer option. I’ve dated these men before and what I’ve learnt is that they often thrive on confrontation and conflict. Honesty is never going to be appreciated by these types, it’s simply going to add fuel to their fire and cause you undue stress. Ghost away!
Take Hubert for example, would it have sucked to receive a message from him saying he wasn’t keen? Yeah absolutely. But I would have respected him for taking the high road. I don’t care if he used on google or called on the boys group chat to compose the message – fuck he could’ve had it workshopped at the Writer’s Centre for all I cared. It would have spared me the endless internal monologue about why he disconnected. Has this experience reminded me that actions speak louder than words, one hundred percent, but is it going to make me lower myself to Hubert’s level, absolutely not. The way I see it is that if more of us get better at having the hard conversations, or at least sending the hard text messages, we might pave the way for a more authentic dating scene where to quote Lauryn Hill “respect is just the minimum”
It’s 2020. We’ve given up shaking hands, eating out and going to the gym. Maybe it’s time we give up the ghost?!