“I’ve been ghosted,” Lacey, a 31-year-old investment banker with a high-rise apartment overlooking the glittery gorgeous Hudson river in Manhattan, darkly crooned to me over brunch on a Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t know you were dating someone? Why didn’t you tell me? We talk every other day!” I yelped, angry that a close friend would withhold such vitally important information from moi.
“I’m not dating anyone. I did, however, grab drinks last week with this girl I met on Bumble. We had a pretty decent time. Went to that hotel on Jane Street.”
“Yes. The Jane Hotel. Anyway, this, girl, Chloe her name is — ghosted me.”
“Chloe?” I scrolled through the lesbian Rolodex I keep on file in my brain. I squinted my eyes and conjured up an image of Chloe. “Does she have bright red hair and slightly manic green eyes so big you can see the whites all the way around?”
“Yes!” Lacey shouted, meeting my gaze for the first time. “How the hell do you know her?”
“I don’t know her. I know of her. We’re friends on twitter, I think.”
“I hate being gay in this town. It’s so damn incestuous. Anyway, she ghosted me.” The sweet-faced waiter placed a basket of bread in front of us. I felt my mouth water. It was Zara vs. The Carbs.
“Why do you care? You don’t even know her,” I plucked a warm piece of bread out of the basket, savagely tore off a piece, heartily dunked it in a heaping bowl of olive oil and popped it in my mouth. Zara never stood a chance in this fight.
“It’s not like, I liked her or anything. I wasn’t even attracted to her.”
“So remind me, then why we’re wasting our breath on this boring conversation?” I could feel myself getting bitchy. It was Nice Zara vs. Bitch Zara.
Lacey sighed and defeatedly picked up a piece of bread. She didn’t eat it, she just plopped it on her plate and stared at it with sad eyes. “Because I’m hurt! I sent her a text two days after our date and I still haven’t heard back.”
“Oh, don’t be so fucking fragile.” Clearly, Bitch Zara was in the lead. To be honest, Nice Zara was happy to let Bitch Zara win this race. For she was tired of pretending to sympathize with such utter stupidity all the damn time. After all, where did it get her? Invited to insufferably boring brunches, that’s where.
Lacey kept intensely staring at the bread, like it harbored the answers to some of life’s most complex questions. “You’re telling me you wouldn’t be upset if you got ghosted?”
“My ego would be bruised, sure. But it was one date. You can’t call it ‘ghosting’ after one lousy date. She doesn’t owe you anything.”
“Hmm. You know, you’re right,” Lacey said, raising one of her famously voluptuous eyebrows. “Why do I care so much? I don’t know this person. I didn’t even like this person!” She lowered her voice. “I don’t even want to have sex with this person. We hung out for two dismal hours. You’re right. This is my all about my ego.”
“Indeed. And that ego needs to get over itself and keep swiping on the ole’ bumble and get herself another date.”
Lacey smirked, gracefully pulled her iPhone out of her lesbian-chic Tumi backpack and began to furiously swipe, with one gorgeous full brow cocked the whole time.
“You have much more swag when you’re not acting like some pathetically fragile lez,” I purred feeling a smile creep its way across my face. I dipped my last chunk of bread into the olive oil, feeling satisfied but not quite full yet. “Excuse me? Waiter? Can we get another bread basket?” I asked in my sweetest voice. Lacey’s eyes twinkled back at me. “Good plan.”
Mission accomplished. Or so I thought…
Over the course of the next several months, I began to get a surplus of frantic messages from readers with a dangerously similar theme: Ghosting.
The subject line would read something like: Help! I’ve been ghosted! My big-sister heart would break into a million pieces as I envisioned one of my precious little sisters getting ghosted by one of their longterm girlfriends or boyfriends. How dare anyone ghost one of my amazing readers! I’ll kick that nimwad’s ass all the way back whatever town they’re from! I would rage to myself, feeling my blood rise to a boil.
And then I would get to the body of the message, which nine times out of ten would read something along the lines of this: So. I met this girl on Tinder, Bumble, HER, the League. We had a great conversation, and like, ~really~ connected. We scheduled a date for the following night. You won’t believe what happened next. My heart would begin to race with anticipation. She didn’t respond after I followed up with a place. I did some stalking and after about two hours I found on her Facebook. It doesn’t seem like anything BAD happened in her life, so like, why did she ghost me? I thought we had something! Should I message her on Facebook or something? What did I do wrong? Why, DEAR WHY, did she ghost me?
Um, and what’s the problem exactly? I would think to myself, tears of boredom penetrating my disenchanted eyes. I received (and continue to receive) messages like this at least twice a week. And each time my mind would be blown! Are people really upset about being ignored by someone they’ve never met? Sometimes I would get the same message but it would be after one blip of a date in real life. Which equally blew my startled mind! My brains are literally strewn all over lower Manhattan, I’ve been so befuddled. Isn’t the whole point of dating to dip your toes in the water without committing to swimming in the pond? Do we really attain the capacity to hurt someone’s feelings after only having spent two bland hours with them?
And then I realized that *maybe* our generation doesn’t understand the art of dating. Maybe they didn’t have vixen, take-no-shit older-sisters and boldly flirtatious mothers to show em’ the ropes, like I did. Which is why I, as your dutiful lesbian big sister, is here to bring you this very important PSA:
You can’t get “ghosted” by a person you’ve met once, baby. And you shouldn’t be channeling any emotional energy into someone you’re merely “talking to” via dating app.
Here’s the tea: Dating is casual. It’s fun! Bat your lashes and play the game, sister. Work is hard. Navigating the nuances of family is hard. Flywheel on 17th street in Chelsea is hard. Dating is not. Dating should add a light sprinkle of sugar to your life. That’s it.
Also, you do know you’re supposed to be dating multiple people at once when you’re single, right? Go out for a glass of wine with a cool girl one night, and have tapas with a different cool girl the next. Maybe you’ll want a second date with the first cool girl. If so, ask her out. If she doesn’t respond, don’t freak out and don’t go squealing to your friends that you’ve been (gasp!) “ghosted.” (Especially if they’re in the throes of a real heartbreak.) Maybe she’s not looking for anything serious. Maybe she’s flakey and doesn’t look at her phone. Maybe she’s a jerk! And maybe, just maybe, she’s not attracted to you. And honestly, who the fuck cares if she wants to get in your pants, or not? I don’t care if you’re a supermodel like Cara Delevingne, you’re not going to be everyone’s type. Cara’s been rejected and she’s one of the highest paid models on earth. Someone’s lack of attraction to you has nothing to do with how beautiful you are. I think Carmen from The L Word is the most stunning creature on the show. Do I want to date her or have sex with her? No. She’s not my type. Big. Frigging. Deal.
If you’re getting upset over someone you thought was (surface) sexy and interesting on Tinder, I personally have a big sister lesbian witch vibe that you’re not dating enough people. If you’re only going one date every six months, well yes, you’re going to put a LOT OF PRESSURE on that one date. You’re going to have melodramatic thoughts like “This better be good or I’m going to die alone!” When the truth is, a date is just a date. It’s a two-hour time span in which you lightly get to know someone over the beverage of your choice. It’s an excuse to catch a buzz on a Tuesday. It’s not life or death.
If you feel you’ve found your “person” after one date, you’re delusional, my sweet kitten. You’re projecting a fantasy on to this poor victim, who probably didn’t sign up for all that theatrical bravado. Not to crush dreams or anything, but the whole “love at first sight” concept is bullshit. It’s nothing but your fairy tale laden mind playing tricks on you. It’s lust screwing with your innocent (albiet horny) head.
I’ve said it before and I’ll scream it until the fucking cows come home, which will probably take my entire life, seeing as I live in Manhattan which is the home to zero farm animals last time I checked (if you don’t count the frat boys in Murray Hill): You can’t love someone you don’t know. In fact, it’s insulting to the epic, real beauty of love, to wildly proclaim to truly love someone, when you haven’t even seen them raw and vulnerable (no one is raw and vulnerable on a first date, unless their insane! Which is another essay!). Real love is seeing someone in their PJs with their glasses and zit cream on, and feeling filled with a burning desire to squeeze them, protect them, fold into them, read their brilliant brains, and have sex with them all at once. It’s nuanced. Most importantly: It’s earned.
So I need everyone to toughen up a bit! Enjoy this precious, fleeting moment of your youth. Enjoy going on dates and enjoy the thrill of wondering where it’s all going. By getting all bent out of shape over a girl not wanting a second date with you, it’s clear you’re living in a state of expectation. And take it from me, living in expectation will make you so depressed not even the highest dose of Prozac will make you feel better.
The late Eleanor Roosevelt once famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And while that’s obviously not entirely true, it’s an empowering statement that I want you all to repeat to yourselves, like a mantra, when you find yourself getting weepy over some rando chick not texting you back.
You don’t *have* to be a victim all the time, you know. I know it’s on trend to be sensitive and such, but don’t let this trend bleed into your dating life. You’re stronger than you think you are. Save your breakdowns for real life shit: Like when the girl who you share a house and a life and a dog with leaves you. That’s worth your tears. Or getting fired from your dream job, because despite how hard you worked you weren’t quite good enough according to the company. That’s rejection. Learn to tell the difference between actual rejection and a merely bruised ego.
And if you find yourself unable to muster up the strength to deal with dating apps and not getting texts back from girls you don’t really know, you’re not ready to date, my precious darling. Take six months off, go to therapy, learn to love yourself, grow a backbone and then venture out into the dating world. I promise you, once your foundation is stable, all this dating garble becomes easy, like Sunday morning. Or like me, after the third glass of wine.