I’m going to tell you a story. It’s about a boy and a girl doing some dating. It is a story you have heard many variations of before, and so will seem familiar. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that lessons cannot be learnt from it. It is not a love story; by that I mean, it does not end in love, or even romance. Yet it still involves dating. Confused? Yes, so was the girl, i.e. Me.
So said girl goes online to find a date, despite adamantly expressing her strong dislike for the process months earlier. Yes, she had met guys in real life before, but it was usually a friend of a friend during desperate times, or men who were old enough to be her father taking a shot at what they hoped would be a winning chat up line. She was a long time introvert and not the most social butterfly in the bunch. So online she went in spite of herself.
After weeks of perverse messages from young and way too old alike, she came across a fellow with not much on his profile, but many pictures, which meant it was highly likely he would turn out to be a real human male. They exchanged messages with little flirting but fairly good conversation, for what it was. Numbers swapped and a first date arranged, she still wasn’t exactly excited. After years of dud dates, unreliable chaps and too many men in the midst of emotional breakdowns, the new boy was but a face on a computer screen, yet to mean anything more to her than a brief ‘swipe right’. She hoped the first date drinks wouldn’t be boring, and that’s about it.
Cut to hours later, some cheeky flirtatious conversation, a man taller than her but not too tall, and one too many glasses of red wine, and she had had a swimmingly good date. Almost positive in its connotations! She was pleasantly surprised and was eager for the next. Having been the one to suggest the first meet up, she waited for him to offer the next, but to no avail. He continued to send her messages, conversation ensued, and eventually she ended up arranging the second date, which happened some two weeks after their first. Again, laughter, too much wine (a faint awareness that their good time was mostly drink induced), and then back to her place for some horizontal folk dancing. Some pretty good, albeit unexpected in some areas, horizontal folk dancing (FYI I’m talking about sex in case you missed that).
All in all, for only two dates things were going great, because who doesn’t love good sex? However, the girl wanted a day date, in order to calm the vague suspicion that she was moving into “hook up” territory. She used all her feminine whiles to get it; AKA she asked for one, but he was evasive without being obvious about it, and was apparently too busy to hang out on the weekend. Thus two more dates of weekday evening sexy times happened before the goose was given up. Or something.
Basically he went silent for a week after date number 4, and in the midst of that she decided to let him know how she felt, that she didn’t want to see anyone else and was willing to see where it went with him. And lo and behold, he quite obviously did not want to see where things went with her. Thus ensued the 2016 version of an MSN Messenger frustration, only on Whatsapp, where you send a message, see the message is read but get no response. Her imagination already running wild with all the other women he was probably sticking it to, she avoided the passive aggressive route that many expect from us women, took his silence as all the response she needed, and told him to have a nice life.
It was however, to that final message that he summoned some bravery from his cowardly hiding position and responded with the nice guy message of “I’m sorry I’ve taken so long getting back to you but I wanted to give your message the reply it deserves”. What follows is a promise to telephone you, which by the way in 2016, is about as likely to happen as Donald Trump saying “hey everyone sorry for all the racism and discrimination, I’ll step down from the candidacy as president, I’ve been an idiot”.
He didn’t call, in case you were wondering. And real talk: I was not that fussed that it didn’t work out. Yes, we had some brief but good times, he was a fairly nice guy by all accounts, not too much depth but he appeared to possess empathy for others, right up until that last message exchange. If he had been straight and said “look, I don’t see this going anywhere, I think I’d still like to date other people”, I’d be like “cool, it’s a shame, but thank you for being honest”!
Because here’s the rub; you can’t help who you fancy and who you don’t, but you can 100% help what you do. Having the courtesy to tell someone honestly how you feel, is always, always better than making some grand gesture promise to make everything OK so that you can alleviate your own guilt at being a coward and still tell yourself you’re a nice guy when you go to bed at night.
In this scenario, I gave him an easy out during his silent treatment, by telling him “I hope you find what you’re looking for”. It’s classy and stings a bit, right? By that point things were already over, I wasn’t devastated and was looking forward to seeing what else was out there. But the message back that suddenly promised the closure you thought you had given yourself? No! He should have kept silent! But some guys hate to be thought of as bad guys, to which I say; if you don’t want to be seen as a bad guy, then stop doing bad things!
The moral of this story doesn’t really go beyond “do the right thing, be honest about how you feel, no one likes those conversations but you’ll be a better person for them”. I noticed a few small red flags throughout our little dalliance together I’m sure, and I didn’t exactly share my deepest and darkest with him, but I had fun and he ruined what could have been a nice memory by unfortunately wanting to have the last word. And it’s hilarious because this month is all about overthinking which I have been told I do a lot, but in this instance I did very little of it, and the boy apparently, did no thinking at all.
Image credit: loggerhead by Arthur Shlain from the Noun Project