I make it a practice to avoid high school reunions. I did go once. It affirmed my belief that I didn’t care for most of the people during high school, nor did I care for them years later. Most were the types who took Latin or Greek classes. They starred in the primitive high school productions. They even married each other. Me? I was hanging with the art students likely getting high out in the parking lot trying to interpret Siddartha.
When reunion time reared its ugly head a few weeks ago, my head went under the sand. This year, however, I promised a very good friend I would go to the happy hour event a few days before the reunion, where all classes gathered to mostly get drunk and reminisce. I do neither. My friends and I laugh that it always seems the women look great and most of the men appear older, shorter, and were bald.
I find myself standing by myself with Coca-cola in hand and a man who fits this very profile approaches me, obviously knowing me well, while I subtlety try to glance at his name tag to figure out who he is. I see it. Ah, yes. Greg. I do remember a few drunken car rides. We were part of the same group.
Boldly, he asks for my phone number and further asks if I will have dinner with him on Saturday night. Slightly blindsided, I gave him my number and said yes to dinner, figuring he would not remember nor call. This was Thursday. Just for a safety check, my son’s father was at the happy hour, and I rushed over to tell him I had just given Greg my number. Had I made a mistake? No, no he answered, Greg is a very nice and completely trustworthy. Well, that was one endorsement.
On Saturday night he DID call and told me he could be at my house in an hour to take me to any restaurant I preferred. He was cool enough to offer to meet me if I felt more comfortable. What the hell, I said pick me up.
We spent hours at dinner engaged in what felt like intimate conversation about our lives, marriages, and friends we had in common. I truly enjoyed myself. He walked me to the door, I got the obligatory good night kiss (better than I expected) and off we went into the night.
Later the next week, he called and asked if I wanted to take a drive to Canyon Lake and eat lunch up there at Tortilla Flats. I hadn’t done this in years and told him I’d love to go. Once again, it seemed we had a good time, lots of time to talk, and one more kiss. He said that he would like for me to cook dinner for him later on. No problem. I love to cook.
That evening I texted him and said I was inviting him on a surprise date–dinner at my house. He texted back, “when and where” and said he’d call later.
I never heard from him again.
Last week, I was retelling this story to my friend Valerie who laughed and told me I’d been “ghosted.” Say what? Now Valerie is at expert level in online dating, stalking, marriage, and all things how to meet men. To my puzzled look she told me to Google it. Which I did and this is what I found.
The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.
After reading this, I thought to myself—you little shit. I mean, this is the age of match.com dating etiquette standards. If you don’t have chemistry, if you don’t want to see someone again–c’mon, man up and just say it. I was further incensed that I’d been apparently dumped by a short, bald dude.
Weeks went by and I forgot all about The Ghosting Incident until Thanksgiving morning when he texted me, “Happy Thanksgiving.” Huh, what? I immediately consulted my life coach Nicole on how to respond and listened to a five minute lecture on why I should not even CONSIDER responding. Nicole is not only my life coach, but she is the only woman I know who wears Manolos to the grocery. I value her choices. She noted vehemently:
His kids are out of state.
He has nothing to do.
He could be desperate. (Thanks.)
Do not, under ANY circumstances, text back.
FFS, he ghosted you.
I was in California at the time anyway, it’s not like he could just pop over for the damn home-cooked meal he wanted. Please. Do not tell Nicole. But I did text back Happy Thanksgiving. I just don’t have it in me to be mean. I’m sorry, Nicole, at least I didn’t talk to him!
So, I’ve now been ghosted. In reality—no harm no foul. And I did get to expand my urban vocabulary. But indeed, pride does goeth before the fall …
My head was oversized
I’ll take the high road like I should
My pride still feels the sting
But if my friends ask where you are, I’m gonna say
You dried up in the desert and that is how you died.
—Excerpted, Train, “50 Ways to Say Goodbye”