How hard could it be to stop ghosting?

New Year’s resolutions typically look something like the following:

    • go to the gym more
    • pretend to enjoy salad
    • stop eating entire bars of chocolate and hiding the wrapper under your bed

Whilst I’m sure these are all valuable ventures, I can’t say that any of them appeal to me much. In fact, I will be actively avoiding visiting the gym during January, during which it is guaranteed to be full to the sweaty brim. Secondly, why should I punish myself for eating an entire bar of chocolate?! (so long as I don’t do so daily). As Amanda from ‘The Holiday’, (AKA, Cameron Diaz in fabulously beige-y outfits), puts it: “I wanna eat carbs without wanting to kill myself!” I would extend this to all delicious foods. 

So, rather than attempting to cling to any remaining space on the health-kick bandwagon, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution this year would be aimed at improving my behaviour. Specifically, my dating behaviour. I decided to practice what I preach – to once and for all stop ghosting.

Now before you judge me, have an honest conversation with yourself – have you ever received a message which you’d rather not respond to? A name pop up on your screen which made your stomach sink with pure unadulterated awkwardness? A text you’ve deleted & pretended it never existed? It’s a modern-day phenomenon that whilst we are supposedly more ‘in touch’ with each other than ever before, we can all to easily make someone disappear from our lives altogether.

After hearing stories of friends being ghosted, and suffering the same treatment myself, I realised how poor my dating etiquette had been. I had left guys hanging – at times even ‘un-matched’ them on dating apps when I deemed that their conversation was not quite up to scratch. I know, I know, I’m a monster –  but in my defence, a message featuring more than 3 tongue-out emojis cannot be tolerated.

I started out with good intentions, choosing ‘matches’ on dating apps with extreme caution, in order to avoid resulting slap-dash ghosting. 2018-me would inevitably change her mind and cruelly ghost unwitting suitors upon more closely their examining profiles and discovering unforgivable mirror-selfies and/or pictures of them proudly brandishing a bucket-cocktails in Thailand. 2019-me had promised herself that that if she wanted to stop talking to someone, she would be polite enough to give them a reason why. This is harder than it sounds – how on earth does one inform ‘Rob from Guildford’ that he is no longer desirable due to his incorrect use of ‘your’?

On the 1st January, I had a new match. Judging from the fact that half of his photos were passable, and the other half were truly awful, he was a man with potential, but not arrogance. His bio was interesting – he didn’t brag, ramble, or use emojis adjacent to their corresponding word, (e.g. ‘Powder = life’ accompanied by a skiing emoji – I can read thanks, Mike). So, we began to message. As per usual, I made regrettably niche jokes, (he hadn’t played ‘Banagrams’ before, and so I informed him that the initiation ceremony involved a 3hr exam with only a banana as a writing tool…cooooool). Whilst I sat fretting over my bizarre sense of humour, he responded that he would set to sharpening his best banana immediately – he was perhaps nearly as strange as me. Was I onto a winner here?

We soon arranged to meet for a date – he would shortly be passing through my town on the way to a dinner party. It all seemed to be working out perfectly. We continued to chat in the lead up to the date and I asked where there would be ‘table dares’ at this dinner party, (tasks to be completed in secret throughout the dinner – for example, you might be told to: ‘refer to all drinks as ‘drinky-winkies’, or ‘continuously comment on the texture of the potatoes’). He replied. There would indeed be ‘table dares’ – in fact, he considered himself a veritable expert of the game, considering that he had performed his most recent dare with the level of aplomb usually reserved for olympic athletes, or Donald Trump. Obviously, I enquired after the nature of dare which had lead to such heroism. Remember the stomach-sinking awkwardness I mentioned before..? The dare, devised by himself, he proudly informed me, had been to converse solely about anal-probing for the entirety of the evening.

Super.

2018-me would certainly have deigned this message worthy of a ghosting, in fact, 2018-me might have shortly fled to join Edgar the Butler in Timbuktu, (re-watch The Aristocats immediately if this reference causes you confusion). But 2019-me had made a pact to herself. So, she crafted a kind, yet firm message to Mr. Anal-Probe, declining to meet him and wishing him well in the future. But old habits die hard. In a fit of disgust, she immediately deleted her account on the offending dating app; shortly realising that not only would her profile disappear from the screens of potential suitors, it would also vanish from the inbox of an undoubtedly puzzled Monsieur le Derrière, before he’d have a chance to read her carefully crafted let-down. Anti-Ghosting mission: not accomplished.

Whilst I cannot say that I felt a huge amount of pity for my rump-obsessed acquaintance, I do hold my hands up to my anti-ghosting failure. Perhaps Mr. A-P still frets over my disappearance, perhaps he is pasting ‘lost’ posters bearing my face onto telegraph poles. Yet again, perhaps he is enjoying a cheek-y frisson with a like-minded lady. I like to think so.

B x

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