Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Fade Out and the Fuck Off Already

So. I've been avoiding you. I know, I know. I go on two first dates, dangle a second date in front of you like a carrot....and then I stop contact all together. Funny, that's exactly how it went with my two Tinder dates. We just stopped talking. I forgot to send a reply to the "so that was fun, let's try it again sometime" messages and then before I knew it, a week had gone by. And then I felt silly for being so forgetful, and I took the easy way out. I never sent a reply. Bad April, bad bad April. Can't very well lecture guys on the fade out if I pull that bullshit myself, now can I?

It got me thinking about the ease of texting, the fade out, and the occasional urge to tell someone to fuck off, but in a really nice way. And how texting can make that all blow up in your face.

So I met this guy (famous first words) last summer before I left to Indonesia...we started off exchanging Facebook messages while we were both out one night, and this progressed to exchanging numbers, meeting up that night, and sitting in the car until 6 am outside my place, talking (I'm not trying to preserve my decency by denying we had raunchy car sex, I'd tell you if we had raunchy car sex...we just talked). I later learned the guy (let's call him Tad, a seriously under-valued name) could not make a move unless he was adequately hammered. Our "relationship" (a very generous description, hence the quotations) started via text. It continued with another late night rendezvous that resulted in some solid making out and one movie date, after which Tad hugged me. (A fucking hug...I'm leaving for a six week trip and you hug me?) We messaged a few times during my trip and he did drunkenly confess he liked me, but when I returned home...nothing. There were messages with good intentions of another date...but nothing. We mutually faded each other out. Which was fine. Except Tad apparently had a lot more invested in me than I ever invested in him...and he electronically rose from the depths with a vengeance. The fade out backfired and instead I found myself wanting to tell him to fuck off...without actually saying "Fuck off!" since Saskatoon is sometimes a very small city (really just a bigger version of a small prairie town, you could play six degrees of separation with just about anyone and find a connection without ever reaching the sixth degree), and I don't always like being a bitch.

Tad suddenly decided he missed me terribly (we had barely ever spent time together), that I was his dream girl (again, we barely saw each other), and he could not understand why I did not want to see him again, much less why I wasn't interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him (could it be the millions of texts where I had to explain and re-explain that I was either seeing someone or basically just not that into you!?). To be fair, we had briefly reconnected this summer and had a couple of chill hang outs that led to some decidedly not-so-chill make outs...but ultimately I realized if I was carving out time for Netflix before carving out time for Tad, well...there's your sign. Also, he started to act like a needy teenage girl. Ew (everyone go watch this Jimmy Fallon skit, now). Eventually I was able to get across to him that it just wasn't going to happen. Except I'm still getting occasional "Hey, what's up?" messages (seriously!!!???). I tried to have a friendly conversation with him once and ultimately he brought the convo around to us dating and I had to explain, again, why I wasn't interested. Double ew.

And then I had an epiphany. It was the texting. There was a lot of messaging when we first met because Tad was working out of town, and instead of us having a real date, we texted. And Tad did what I've been guilty of myself...you start to create a relationship with someone because you find yourself messaging, constantly. There's a perceived veil of anonymity that shields you from feeling exposed by what you say, despite your pen pal knowing exactly who you are. Suddenly you can have these seemingly deep, intense conversations - all the while bypassing the intimacy inherent in those conversations (if they were held face-to-face or even over the phone). So you start to feel a connection, even if it is a little lop-sided (because let's face it, there is almost no way to convey subtext in a text message...sarcasm, amongst other things, does not always translate well in texts, and none of you have delivered on my repeated requests for a sarcasm font...for shame). To top it off, texting is easy. Tossing out a "What's up?" text is effortless, having the guts to pick up the phone, dial a number, and call someone - well that's a far more daunting task.

I promise, I haven't climbed on my high horse. I don't think I'm above anyone when it comes to using texting as a primary means of communication...because it is my primary means of communication. The whole situation with Tad made me realize how much I value an actual face-to-face (shit, even a phone) conversation. Tad never, ever called me to set up a date - strike one in my books. Somehow, when it comes to texting, it seems like there's no responsibility attached to it. You can fade someone out, tell them to fuck off, or confess your undying love and that anonymity comes striding in to save the day. Instead of feeling guilty for blowing someone off (or bashful for confiding your innermost feelings), you feel...well, you probably feel nothing. Perhaps a hint of guilt for not taking the bull by the horns, but I know from personal experience it's easier to justify the fade out (or the plain old fuck off) via text because, after all, it's just a text.

A

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