I finally got around to watching a movie from 2009 that I’ve been wanting to see, called “He’s Just Not That Into You”. It stars Drew Barrymore, and there are lots of discussions about dating and rejection.
The book on which this movie was based was recommended to me back in 2006, soon after my divorce, when I was just getting started with online dating. I was talking with a friend about someone who had contacted me on one of the dating sites. I wasn’t interested, and I was looking for a polite way to reject her, and feeling guilty about it. And my friend said, “Don’t feel guilty. You’re just not that into her. She’ll understand.”
Fast forward ten years to 2016. Since then, I’ve looked at thousands of online profiles, and thousands of women have looked at mine. (And I guarantee, there’s no problem.) There has been communication and contact, 100% of which has ultimately resulted in rejection (although some have become good friends). And the movie was next on my Netflix queue, so I finally watched it.
One of my favorite quotes from the movie was from Drew Barrymore:
“I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work so I called him at home and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry and so I texted to his cell and then he emailed 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.” [Source: IMDB]
BlackBerry! So 2009. I suppose after she read the email on her BlackBerry, she got on her dinosaur and rode away.
This got me thinking about all the new ways to reject someone. Here are some of the popular ones, for those who are not techno-dating savvy.
I like the definition given in Urban Dictionary: 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.
This one is not strictly related to technology. However, technology certainly has served as a catalyst for it. It’s easier to ghost someone you’ve met online. In the old days, when you met someone in traditional ways, such as through common activities or friends of friends, it was not so practical to ghost people you might come across later in your social circles.
Emergency Phone Call
This is used most often on a first date. The subject gets a phone call on his cell phone. He takes the call, and then explains that there is an emergency and he has to leave. Usually, he will recruit a friend to make the phone call. For people without friends, there is an app for that. In fact, there are many apps, including one provided by eHarmony called “Bad Date Rescue”. I’m not making this up.
Changing Facebook Relationship Status
This one is particularly cowardly and passive-aggressive, especially If the couple’s relationship statuses mention each other (e.g., “In a relationship with Mary”). When the victim logs in next, she will see that her own relationship status has changed!
Standing Him Up
The subject just doesn’t show up for a date. This is another technique, similar to ghosting, that isn’t strictly connected to technology, but is more likely when the standee isn’t in the subject’s social circles. This is usually followed by ghosting.
Blocking Her Dating Site Profile/Phone Number/Facebook Account
More tools for the passive-aggressive.
Thinking about this brought to mind the song by Paul Simon, “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover”. The song needs to be revised for 2016. Fifty New Ways To Leave Your Lover. Here are some new lines for the song, co-written with Paula Light.
50 New Ways To Leave Your Lover
Send her a text, Rex
Delete your page, Sage
Block her name, Wayne
Just ghost away, Ray
Email an excuse, Bruce
Pretend you’re dead, Fred
Plan an emergency phone call, Paul
Change your relationship status, Gladys
Leave her a voicemail, Abigail
Just stand her up, Chuck
We’re not a match, Ash
There was no spark, Clark
And last but not least:
I’m just not that into you, Sue