Having dated enough people, and being the age that I am, I have become accustomed to having seriously low expectations going into any date. In fact, meeting anyone even casually I have learned to have really no expectations in the beginning. Why? Because having too high of hopes has come to mean serial disappointment.
However, having low expectations going into many situations has provided me with many a happy payoff. Example? Going to a cheap movie. If I have any doubts about a movie's quality, I can merely wait until it hits the discount theater. Then it's a very low risk proposition. Most times I'm going to at least enjoy $4 worth of movie and the company of a friend or family member. The only exception would be the steaming pile that was Drive that was so gruesome I couldn't sit through it, at which point my friend of mine and I walked out of the theater.
So frankly, I'm not willing to go all-in unless I feel it is a solid investment. This applies emotionally as well. The males of the human race have disappointed me so many times, that my expectations are way low. I do expect you to treat me well, but frankly I don't have much hope of you sticking around. So far you have a really poor track record, guys.
In fact I was introduced to someone over the phone. I have since then had close to two months of phone conversations, where it seemed like our conversation was nice and I might at least get a friend out of the deal, and where a future relationship wasn't totally out of the question due to one or the other of us being married or something. This was nice! We had much in common including a similar religious background.
Things were putting along nicely. Even for just friendship it was better than other male friendships.
Now two weeks have gone by, and nothing.
I think I know what this means: the fade out.
One of my grand pet peeves is the fade out. Except sometimes it's even worse, because it's the drop off the face of the earth. I had this happen with a pen pal of mine who did send me some sort of cryptic email about not being around much in the future, things were happening, but know what good friends we were.
Um, okay. I guess it was his way of trying to be polite and say that he had no interest in even being friends with me anymore. Why? Who the heck knows. But now I've got a couple years worth of emails, memories of fun phone calls, a handful of nice gifts (that were frankly better than any romantic suitor ever gave me) and me left with more emotional baggage to unpack.
After a while I start to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day living the same date over and over, but getting slapped earlier and earlier.
It starts to make me wish every date, every friendly encounter could be accompanied by the exit survey. When leaving a job for a major company, everyone has to go through an exit interview. Mine could easily read:
What exactly did you find unsatisfying about this relationship? Check all that apply:
- Talks about movies I don't like.
- Too intense/hardcore
- Is too disorganized.
- Believes Han shot first.
- I'm intimidated by her artistic talent.
- Television tastes don't line up.
- Excessive use of the phrase, "Seriously?"
- Snorts a little when laughing.
- She hasn't read Green Lantern.
- She likes The Big Bang Theory and refers to them as her kindred spirits.
- Hasn't watched Dr. Who.
- Hasn't watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Loves Firefly.
- I'm intimidated by her intelligence.
- Knows how to build her own computer.
- Knows the definition of the word "defenestration" and has used it in casual conversation.
- Doesn't call me because she claims she doesn't like to talk on the phone much.
- Laughs too much. Finds me too funny.
- Likes World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 a little too much.
- Doesn't drive.
- Likes buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Bellys.
- Reads too much Harry Potter, Stephen King, or Dean Koontz.
- Watches too much football.
- Likes to analyze things.
- Is klutzy.
- Hasn't fit into a size 8 since she was about 10 years old.
- Lives in California.
- Likes old movie musicals.
- Blogs about everything.
- Wants to write and publish novels.
- Is allergic to Glade air fresheners. I love Glade. It just wouldn't work.
- Got a girlfriend and didn't want to tell you.
- I'm married and realized you're a good person who wouldn't do anything dastardly.
- Got bored.
- Scared of liking someone.
- Don't even want to be friends with a girl that I wouldn't want to marry.
It would just be nice if I had a clue. It seems the more time passes in my life, the less able I am to see anything that would remotely tip me off that he's going to disappear.
Future friends/suitors of America listen up: stop it! Either be there or don't be there, but don't just fall off the edge of the earth and call it a fade out. Better yet, be friends. Just friends. Taper off. At least claim business at work, or craziness at home, or something that is just going to take too much time and I may not hear from you for a long while. Whatever. Then send me a card on Christmas. Don't just disappear.
It's just mean. Don't be mean. Be nice.