Use Your Words


So far in my OkCupid Chronicles (see installments #1, #2, #3, and #4), I've focused on the foibles of others. It's easy enough to do! (I mean, someone carefully chose the username 'sweettattoosnot'. I just cannot read that as anything other than 'sweet tattoo snot', not matter how hard I try.)

This post is all about my own crazy.

Because, trust me--the crazy is there in everyone. Sometimes it lurks under the surface, and sometimes it pops out to play. For me, a lot of the joy of human interactions comes from finding people who don't just tolerate my particular brand of crazy but appreciate (and even enjoy) it--and vice versa. With that in mind, sit back and enjoy this story in which I share my shame with you.

It all starts with a well-laid plan and good life choices...

I'd gone on a great date on Saturday. We'd been talking regularly via e-mail since before Christmas, but this was the first time we'd met up--and it was a blast. We'd tumbled into conversation before I'd even sat all the way down; it was like we'd known each other for ages. He texted me later that night to say (with lots of exclamation marks) that he'd had a great time, and we ended up texting for two straight hours before I finally called it quits to go to bed. At that point, we'd made a date to meet up on Wednesday night for drinks. (His exact words: "You've got two weeks of freedom left--we should use it wisely!")

Sunday, he texted again, and we talked again for a bit. Tuesday afternoon, same thing. The plan for Wednesday was that we were going to get together after a meeting I had at 7pm. So, I texted him:

"Hey! I'm heading to my meeting soon. We still on for hanging out after? 8ish?"

to which he responded:

"Yes. Let me know when you're done. :-)"

[Yes, I'm aware that these quotes are quite boring. Their importance is to establish where we start.]

I head off quite happily to my meeting about college financial aid packages, having even nailed the 'moves smoothly from a meeting at son's high school to a drinks date' outfit, thanks to strategic scarf placement.

Got out of the meeting, and sent him a "FREEE!!!!" text.

nothing

Drove down to the place we were supposed to meet up, and sent another text: "You there?"

nothing

Called him as I was heading in and left a message: "Going in to have a drink...hope to see you soon!" Sent him an e-mail saying the same thing, on the off-chance that his phone was dead.

nothing

He is not at Sidebar. This is very obvious, because it is a tiny, tiny little place, and there are only two other people present besides the bartender. Both of these people are in fancy suits, and both are extremely drunk. It's now about 8:45pm.

My seating choices are one of the two remaining chairs at the bar, or a seat by myself at one of the four tables. I take one of the seats at the bar at the urging of the businessmen, although not the one right NEXT to them (despite their kindly offering it to me). I order a drink and send the following text:

"Ok--have officially spammed you with text, phone message, and email. :-) Am at Sidecar and just ordered a sazarac...very drunk guys at the bar are giving me life advice. It's pretty rad. Hope all's ok!

So far, so good. I mean, not good in that my date has apparently vanished in the hour I spent listening to someone drone on about how to fill out a FAFSA form and the average amount of debt students graduate college with. ($30,000, in case you're curious.) But so far, I feel that I am handling the situation with grace and dignity.

The sazerac is good. At this point, I'm figuring the date is off, so I send my colleague Matt a text to see if he wants to come join me, since he was the one who'd recommended this place, and he totally owes me a drink for guest-lecturing in his class earlier in the week. While he's heading over, the drunk business guys ask me all about what I do, and what this guy who hasn't showed up does, and then they tell me all about what restaurants they recommend and how many bottles of wine they'd had before they showed up at Sidebar and started drinking cocktails, and we listen respectfully to the Tupac album they've requested. (These businessmen are very, very white businessmen.) David calls me because he needs something, and I actually have to head home just as Matt gets there, but it's been a perfectly fine time. Except, of course, for the missing date.

I get home, get David all straightened out, and then...

I choose poorly...

Early on in the evening, I've decided that there are any number of things that could have happened. One, of course, is that this guy has decided to 'ghost' on me. That's apparently a thing now. But it's also possible that he's fallen asleep, or who-knows-what. So, having sent him precisely one token of each type of communication we've been using, I decided that I would let things rest there.

This, in retrospect, was a really solid decision.

Alas, good choices. I knew you well.

Because here's what I did instead:

Back home now...

1) You so owe me a very nice dinner! Or, you know, something. Unless you were intentionally ignoring me, in which case the drunk guys at the bar say to tell you that you’re totally missing out. 😉

Ok. That's not awful. Although--wait--WHY DID I NUMBER THAT COMMENT? WHAT IS COMING NEXT?!

2) I really do hope everything’s ok--like, that you fell sound asleep, as opposed to anything horrible happening to you.

Hmm. Again, it's really weird that I'm sending this person who didn't show up for our date numbered text messages, but so far this is still in the realm of 'generally harmless over-texting'--after all, we've been emailing each other for over a month, and texting quite a bit over the last few days.

Did I stop with 2), though? No, of course I didn't stop with 2)! I plowed right on into Total Oversharing territory, and how. This is where it becomes acutely painful for me to continue sharing. But I will--for the greater good. Because 'ACCOUNTABILITY' and 'fessing up' and 'everyone enjoying the Snowpocalypse could probably use a good laugh'. This is, word for word, what I sent next:

3) Remember how I told you I got married when I was 21? I have an son who just turned 18, David, who’s the best in the whole world. I’ve been single-parenting him 24/7 since he was 4. I love him to pieces, and it’s going to be a huge transition when he goes to college this year. That’s totally unrelated to anything else, but it’s the big thing in my life I don’t think I’ve told you yet. Plus, I started numbering things, and it’s hard to stop.

For the love of all that's holy!! Why did I feel the need to share that information via text-message? Apparently, I decided that this was something this guy needed to know, whether he wanted to or not. And was I then content to stop the electronic oversharing? No, I was not! I had one more numbered point to go:

4) I looked amazing tonight. Just in case you were curious. 😊

mic drop

Moving on...

The night after this happened, I sucked it up and showed two good friends this series of messages. (Again--remember that I sent ALL FOUR of those numbered points to Mr. MIA in the space of about two minutes.) One of them earnestly nodded her head as they peered together at my phone's screen, while the other one looked increasingly concerned as she scanned the messages.

I could tell the exact moment they both hit #3, because Lindsay's mouth turned into a perfect little 'O' of sympathetic horror and Anne started laughing so hard she couldn't breathe. In fact, "I've started numbering things, and it's hard to stop!" was the only thing she could wheeze out for a few minutes there.

And then, thank goodness, the thing happened that always happens when you share your worst moments with your best friends: they both appreciate the full extent of your shame and get you to the point where you can appreciate it with them.

In fact, we even figured out the ideal way of dealing with the situation: clearly, I should just continue to send this guy numbered text messages.

5) Bought some almond milk today. Expensive, but yum! I'm going to make some coffee and watch Netflix for a while now.

6) Took a shower and tried a new shampoo. Didn't really like it very much. I'll probably go back to my old shampoo.

7) How's your dog? Hope he's enjoying the snowy weather!! I just had a doughnut.

As of right now, three days later, there has been no word from this guy--and I'm not really expecting any. (And no, I have not actually sent any of those potential messages. Please! There's 'funny to imagine' and then there's 'funny to actually do'. Normally, I'm excellent at distinguishing which action goes into which category.) It's ok, though. After all, this is going to make a great text message.

8) Wrote an awesome blog post about the date we didn't go on the other night and my total over-sharing afterwards. Here it is. Enjoy!! :-)

Until next time, I remain
Virtually Yours


Author image
Written by Christina Van Dyke
the academic world
philosophy professor at a liberal arts college, writing about medieval views on the afterlife, gendered eating, and the perils of on-line dating.

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