Disappearing Act

I was recently out with a guy friend/client and he said, “What’s with women just disappearing?! I’ll go on multiple dates with someone, things will get intimate (more than once)… and then, suddenly, she’ll disappear!”

My response was simple: “UGGGHH.”

In the age of SMS, AIM, email and mobile devices, why aren’t people (wo)manning-up and officially breaking things off with each other… saying sayonara instead of c’est la vie?

I asked a handful of men and women about this trend and they all pretty much said the same thing: they hate it when people disappear on them, yet they continue to disappear on people they’re not over the moon for. It’s horribly immature. Aren’t we supposed to treat others as we wish to be treated? Admittedly, I’ve pulled the disappearing act a few times (even recently).

Well my dears, I’m calling for CHANGE. Let us singletons start treating each other better: with respect.

Perhaps you met someone else, perhaps mister/miss so-and-so is a bad kisser, perhaps the spark is too dim or non-existent; whatever the reason, let us all send a short and sweet text/email to each other — at the very least.

No need to be brutally honest… just speak/write the distilled truth: “In all honesty, I’m not sure that we’re really the best romantic fit. But of course, I wish you the best.” Or whatever.

I know, it’s not going to be easy. “I just don’t feel that spark” spills out of my mouth when I’m talking to jerks but it’s almost impossible to tell the nice guys. I don’t have the heart to hurt them (which is wrong!). Telling each other to move on will save everyone time and energy. You won’t feel guilty about disappearing and they won’t spend hours over-analyzing every move they made during courtship. We all win.

Speaking of guilt, I’ve noticed a dating trend (at least in my life): “The Disappearing-Reappearing Act”.

People disappear, and then to my amazement, pop back up when you least expect them. I call them Pop-Tarts :)

Here’s what I think is going on: they want me to get the message that things are not going to progress on the dating front. Fine. Message received. However, they also want to do one (or more) other thing(s):

1. Make sure it’s not tremendously awkward if/when we run into each other again (a likely prospect in San Francisco)
2. Think that I’m valuable enough to want to ask a favor of in the future (networking is one of my best skills)
3. Send a “Hey, it’s not you, it’s me; let’s be friends” smoke signal. (A compliment of sorts… but not one a girl really wants.)

It’s the cowardly/brave, respectful/disrespectful thing to do. AGAIN, no fingers pointed. I act cowardly all the time. I just don’t pop back up… that’s the curious part.

I’m going to start expecting these Pop-Tarts though. I did the math and there is a pattern. Check out the real life proof:

Vacation Dude; 1 date = cancels second date, pops up 2 days later after we’ve gone home
Art Dude; 3 dates = pops up 10 days later
Tech Dude; 6 dates = pops up 20 days later

Ok, I’m actually bad at math. BUT there seems to be some correlation between the amount of time spent with someone and how long they wait to pop back up.

I’m suspicious of these text/email surprises and treat them all as ones and twos on the other-things-they’re-after list. (Though I should excuse Vacation Dude from that ruling as he doesn’t live anywhere near me). I don’t really care to craft a friendly text back to them, answer their question about how my week is going. It’s small talk and it’s pointless. I’ve already moved on. C’est la vie.


  1. Pam

    Oh Beth. I totally agree. The age of civility needs to return (if there every truly was one). I’m much more single-minded in my perception of what the pop-tarts are after. Maybe it’s just me but I always think when things have fallen apart with someone else or they’re bored or horny (most likely), the pop-tarts think back on how nice and fun you (me and everyone else) were and decide you’d provide a nice little pick me up for a bruised ego etc.

    And so that leaves us with the decision about how to respond. Should we say “what the hell–who knows what can happen” or do we respond with stubborn pride “sorry buddy, you missed your chance.” Or do we simply say “I wouldn’t want to be with a pop-tart long term so let’s just both move on.” I don’t know the answer but I’m guessing it depends on how we’re feeling about ourselves at that moment :)

  2. Ian

    It’s even worse for those of us who are married! I keep trying to just go silent on my wife – I don’t call, I don’t text… I just cut the lines of communication hoping it will all just fade away. But honest to god, every night I get home and BAM – there she is in the living room. It’s insanity! So, I don’t know… maybe you young singles you should only date people who live or work in places you both frequent on a daily basis. That way instead of disappearing there’s just a long period of awkward interaction and excuses until eventually someone moves to Miami.

    I’m just saying.

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