How do you feel when you are ghosted? Why do you ghost people? The simple answer I have learned about this is: FEAR – Fear of telling someone why you no longer want to date them. In the age of online dating, these acts of cowardice have become so acceptable in our culture, that’s its just downright scary.
I am of a different generation. I think it’s Generation Y, and sometimes I think it’s totally fitting because I often think, “Y the Hell was I even born?” But that’s a whole other story in itself. Dating when I was younger was very much like what Drew Barrymore describes in the amazing movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” (2009). Her character in the movie really has a hard time navigating through the whole world of Online Dating. She says, (and I believe most of us can identify with this), “If I want to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex, I don’t go get a new haircut – I update my profile.” Put simply, that’s what we all are now – just words and pictures on a screen, clicking away, swiping away, in the most inhuman way of interacting. Taking it a step further, Drew Barrymore’s character also points out how much of a damn struggle it is to even REACH someone to talk to them anymore, compared what it was like Once Upon A Dating Ago:
“I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn’t. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting!”
I’m gonna go ahead and bring it into modern times and just simply say – #PREACH, Drew!
Anyway, when you finally get to the actual “date,” (I almost feel like that’s not what people are even doing anymore), it usually goes more or less like this:
Banter, Fun, Drunk. (IF it goes well – taking out the “no spark” and Catfish elements)
Sex. (Usually within the first week, or even first date)
Then back to Match – Repeating this whole self-absorbed, harmful, inhuman behavior over and over again, till you find yourself in your 40s. I have to say finding yourself in your 40s, still doing this crazy shit, is a REALLY scary thought – I mean at least it is for me. But you know, some people are just COMPLETELY oblivious of the whole thing. And in the case of one of these 40-year-olds, he made it work for him in a way that is just downright disturbing.
I watched something on Netflix this morning called, ” Hot Girls Wanted – (Episode 2 of the Series) – Love Me Tinder,” – and it was an inside look into the life of a serial-dater who became so good at his game, (on dating apps and sleeping with tons of women), that he had ZERO intention of ever settling down, or even slowing down. He was always in motion – swipe, swipe, text, date, sex, ghost, swipe, swipe, date, text, text, ghost, and then on to the next. One of the things that stuck out to me the most is the fact that he INSISTED on communication via text – indicating to me that same element I mentioned earlier – ABSOLUTE FEAR and TOTAL COWARDICE. The fact of the matter is, calling up someone, hearing their voice, listening to them cry, makes you FEEL really bad for the shit that you did/doing to them, and in this day and age, people just don’t want to deal with that. Fact of the matter is, they don’t even care. The serial dater even says, “I just don’t want to deal with their feelings.” I mean as horrible as that is, MOST people feel the same way you know, men AND women. It’s really damn sad at how cold-hearted people have become towards each other, I mean even to people they had SEX with – which is even sadder because this society seems to have turned such an intimate act of love into some straight up porn shit.
Anyway, James Rhine, (The serial-dater in this documentary, and former cast member on Big Brother Season Six), had his 15 minutes of fame years ago, and kinda ran with it for a LONG time. I could even excuse the fact that he was a serial-dater, having his fun and living his life, ’cause you know no one wants to be a hater. BUT, what he was doing was very damaging to the women he was just discarding, over and over again, without giving it a second thought. His behavior REALLY disturbed me though because he used the fact that he was in his 40s, (you know older and wiser), to manipulate women – described in his words here:
“I think because I have been in this dating world for so long, and I have been able to cross over into all the new technological advancements, you know going from the old-school to the now hook-up culture, I take the best from all these worlds and compile them into what I think girls want and what other guys are lacking. You know the chivalry from being old school, the phone call, the holding the doors that stuff – I think I’ve put together a nice little strategy.”
That really hit me hard because he was using the values and behavior that most women look for, (which, for the record, is from previous generations), to methodically manipulate them. I mean this guy went the extra mile to “play the nice guy” that will melt your heart, you know making these women think “awww, he’s so sweet, he really cares about me,” and use it to his total advantage. And of course, when the women say the wrong thing, or he gets tired of them, he simply moves on.
This documentary was REALLY well done, and even though because of what I said here about James makes him look like a total sociopath, the FACT of the matter is, THIS is EXACTLY what people do these days, I mean, in one way or another.
I am sure you have heard that the main reason we have such a problem with commitment in this society is because there are way TOO many options out there. It’s a fact that has also affected marriages and people who are already in committed relationships. You know, you have been with this person for X amount of years, and you just want to try something “new” – you are tired of the same face, and I hate to say it – you are tired of the same genitals.
In this day and age, people are stuck in a perpetual NEED to stay in the “Honeymoon Phase” of a relationship, and when that’s over they just move on. A Need for Speed and the Rush of Excitement is the Name of the Game now, and it’s like frickin’ crack.
Anyway, James ends up coming face to face with the consequences of his actions, and he REALLY begins to realize what he has been doing for all these years:
“Sitting there watching her cry and break down like that over something that I personally didn’t think was that significant was a good reminder as to the fact that you sit back, get off your phone, and pay attention to how these other people are feeling. You’re affecting other people, and you’re not doing it in a good way, For me being 40 years old and still doing this, is just completely unacceptable behavior.”
I have to say that I really enjoyed this documentary, and I just want to tell you now, that when you’re out there dating, remember, PLEASE REMEMBER, that these are REAL people you are talking to and getting to know. They have REAL emotions and feelings and you should honestly respect them.
(Oh, and total disclaimer here: I ABSOLUTELY know women are fully capable of this behavior too. Please believe me that this wasn’t a man-bashing post, it was just done from James’ story and can be totally applicable for a woman’s story too).
Thanks for reading.