I consider Tinder to be a pretty important hobby of mine, and like most hobbies it takes up a significant portion of my time. Some people would hear that and think that was weird, but is it really stranger than getting a group of bros together and pretending that you’re general managers of a group of athletes? Or re-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix for the eleventh time? No. I am networking in a mostly-unusual way, and my personality is such that I shine in potentially awkward social environments.
I go on so many dates and meet so many people that actually feeling a connection to someone is a big deal for me. My friends assume I love ’em and leave ’em (and I guess I kind of do… a second date from me is a rarity but so is a kiss goodnight). That’s why seeing me completely twitterpated over Catch was such a big deal. For two weeks and the first four dates I swooned and sighed over my tall, charming, handsome, successful, well-endowed paramour and my coworkers didn’t know how to handle it. I went on other dates, of course, but when I’d smile after not-so-covertly checking my phone, they always knew I’d heard from Catch.
Then the messages just… petered off. I’d initiate conversations and he wouldn’t get back to me for a few hours. Then days. Then we’d meet up at my insistence and everything would be wonderful again. Then more silence.
It got to the point where I was checking Tinder to see if he’d been on his phone since I last texted him, and I’d get nauseous if he had. I’m not that girl. I am too old and too self-respecting to doubt myself livejournal-style.
So I erased all of my Tinder information, including my matches and profile and started again, sans Catch. I should have called him on his behaviour the second it started making me feel insecure, but I kept hanging on… because maybe I didn’t want to know if he didn’t want me. Maybe his work schedule was THAT crazy.
Everyone would ask “So, how’s Catch?” and sometimes I’d save face and relay the latest tiny tidbit of info he’d released, but most often I’d admit that I had no real idea; that he was being uncommunicative and that I hoped it was any number of excuses I’d given him in my head. Still, the pull of this perfect-on-paper paramour kept me texting him.
I don’t know why I felt so confident yesterday, but I sent him a wall-of-text explaining how inconsiderate he is being.
“So it’s become pretty clear over the past few weeks that between your work schedule or your social habits or how you feel about me (or any combination thereof) that you’re not as into this as I am. That’s cool. But I would have appreciated a bit of effort or communication about it… because I gnawed at me a little that you never initiated conversations or hangouts or even bothered to respond to texts. ESPECIALLY when you seemed pretty into me while we hung out.”
He responded right away. Because that had always been an option for him:
“Hey you! Ok, I’m not even going to try to defend myself here… I think I’ve just plain handled this poorly and I apologize. I don’t think I realised I was being shitty, and I honestly didn’t do it consciously, but I should have been more upfront about where I was at.”
“You were honest about not looking for a relationship because you recently got out of one. That’s not what I asked of you though.”
“Yeah, I know… But despite that I think I still backed away pretty hard when it felt like you were really into it… I don’t think I’m really cut out for dating again… and DEFINITELY not for casual sex… and so instead of being upfront I was just a coward about the whole thing and figured you wouldn’t care… Cuz I’m clearly an idiot.”
Spare me the self-flagellation, Catch. You wanted to ignore something until it went away and it’s not working out very well for you. The people in my life ALWAYS do this; the “I acknowledge my obviously shitty behaviour, point to a personality flaw upon which I can hang everything, and call myself an idiot before doing absolutely nothing to change my behaviour” thing. The men in my family PRACTICALLY INVENTED that crap.
“So where does that leave us?” I asked, all but acknowledging that I would likely never see him again short of a tragic accident downtown.
“Well all of my being busy talk was 100% the truth, so that’s not going to change. I still think you’re awesome and ridiculous and fun, so I’d be happy if we could still hang out sometimes and text whenever. Is that feasible do you think?”
Step two in the “let ‘er down easy” playbook: the compliments bookended by “my behaviour is unlikely to change.” Joke’s on him, though, because I AM awesome and ridiculous and fun.
“I’d really like that,” I responded, because what else can I say? “But only if you actually mean it and become proactive about it.” I want you but I won’t chase you.
“I can’t guarantee improved proactivity right now… But I can attempt to make strides in that direction… Work has just really been putting the screws to me.”
What’s that Bart Simpson line again? “I can’t promise to try, but I’ll try to try.”
As disappointed as I was, his response was exactly what I had expected. I felt relieved, not only because I’d read the situation accurately but because I had an answer. It was about me, but it was way more about him. It’s not quite as devastating as the Allie X song after which he was named led me to believe, because I don’t really think he was malicious in his intentions.
But goddamn, why is he on Tinder if he has neither time to text people back basic “I confirm that I’ve read this” replies nor the emotional space to deal with meeting people? Nonsense. All of it.