It happens to everyone. Someone we were dating disappears, and we want to know what to do about it. In a 40’s detective novel, we’d throw on a dirty overcoat and hit the streets and track them down, but now we just want to know…what happened?
Maybe they came on strong, pouring on the charm. But then, you stopped hearing from them, and you can’t stop wondering about it.
The first time I was ghosted, it shocked me. I had been seeing the person for nine months, and I thought if they weren’t responding to me, they must be in prison or in rehab. Honestly, either one would have been a great idea for that person. Finally, a close friend had to tell me- dude, he’s okay. He’s just gone. And she was right.
Years later, the same friend asks me- I met this guy at the airport, we had crazy chemistry, we went on some dates, but now he’s gone silent- how do I get him to write me back?
I gave it to her plain- you gotta stop talking to him.
Exasperated, she told me, “No, you don’t understand, he’s already stopped talking to ME. Not talking to him is, at best, a moot point.”
“What everyone tells me”, she continued, “is to sit back and play it cool, and to let him pursue me. But what if I don’t want to play it cool? What if I want to reach out? Why can’t I do that? Shouldn’t I be able to do what I want? I don’t like playing games.”
“You absolutely can do that”, I assure her. “And you might see him again. But he’ll disappear again, and you’ll be back in this same spot. You can’t change him or his behavior.”
I see people finding my dating articles online with the same search terms again and again- how to respond to breadcrumbing. What to do if you’re ghosted. How to reconnect. Just about everyone has had a moment when they wanted to hear from someone that they weren’t hearing from. I’ve finally figured out the solution, and that is to forget them!
The truth is this: everyone wants to know how to change someone’s mind. If anyone had the answers on how to get someone back, they’d be a multi kajillionaire. They’d be hiring Jeff Bezos to shine their shoes. Turning someone towards you who has turned away- that’s the one thing nobody can really do, despite what the cosmetics, fitness, and apparel industries advertise. They pad their margins based on the hope that we can control something we can’t- “I can’t seem to forget you, your Wind Song stays on my mind!”
Think about it. How many times have you heard the story: “We met online. He came on strong, told me I was beautiful. We went out a few times and it was really great. Then, he stopped responding to my messages. But I waited it out and really played it cool, and then one day I sent him just the right cat meme, and now we’re getting married at Disneyland.”
Oh that’s right, you’ve never heard it.
I told her, the thing is, you’re not playing it cool for this guy. He’s gone. He’s in the wind. You’ll run into him later at one of those bars that looks like a laundromat until you press the soap dispenser and a dryer door opens into the main room.
You’re playing it cool so he won’t waste more of your time.
You’re not going to get good results from him. You’re just moving him aside so you can keep looking for the person that will pursue you, who will be consistent, who will be as interested in you as you are in them.
A few days pass and my friend calls me again. She reached out and got a couple of texts from the guy, was exuberant for a minute, but then he was gone again. At this point, he’s a sunk cost- she can pour more time and emotion into it, but she’s not getting anything back.
So much of dating is editing. Our grandparents, great-grandparents, might have courted, or been courted by, fewer than a handful of people before they got married. Modern singles can meet that many people in a weekend. Most of those people won’t be the one.
So, all the advice about hanging back and being aloof- it isn’t meant to change the person who has already let you down. It’s to free you up and find the person who won’t.
Lady Bloodmeadow joins Tinder. If you want a goth girlfriend, please watch her video. She really only has one requirement for partners. If you’d like to see more of Bloodmeadow, check out her Youtube playlist here.
Men and women have more trouble communicating now than ever, and one of the things we don’t communicate well on is sex. I was raised to believe that if a man wanted to have sex with you, it was because he was trying to express his undying love and admiration for you and was tottering, like a newborn baby deer, towards a lasting relationship.
This has not always been the case.
Here are some of my theories about why we believe men have sex versus possible reasons why they do. Of COURSE these are not all the reasons. I’m sure there’s a million! Here’s a start.
Reason Women Believe Men Will Have Sex:
To deepen intimacy and lay the groundwork for a serious relationship
Reasons Men Will Have Sex:
To deepen intimacy and lay the groundwork for a serious relationship To thank someone for a pretty good sandwich
Running a bit short on cardio today Because they need someplace to sleep To annoy their friend Had 15 minutes free Condoms about to expire Put off decision about where to have breakfast To be polite Because they’re hoping you’ll make them a sandwich later Don’t want to talk about the Mandalorian anymore They knew you in college They knew you in high school They knew you They thought they knew you but they were actually thinking of someone else You remind them of a girl they had a crush on forever, except she looked totally different and had a different personality, they’re actually not sure why you remind them of Candace particularly To win a bet To lose a bet They like your band You like their band You like the same band You both like bands Hoping you’ll come see their band Bar was closing Restaurant needed the table They liked your t-shirt You liked their t-shirt They quoted Napoleon Dynamite and you laughed and they appreciated it Because you did a great job at bar trivia They were hitting on your friend but it didn’t work out They’re hoping you’ll listen to their podcast They’re hoping to get booked on your podcast They appreciated your giving them the last beer Because someone said they couldn’t
Or, Places Where Men Will Hit On You On The Internet
If necessity is the mother of invention, men are the inventors of using non-dating sites to meet women. It’s been happening since the first terminal user logged into a message board to ask A/S/L (age/sex/location, young people).
Here’s some stories about creative ways men are connecting today!
You can get hit on from social platforms because strange men think the tiny photo of you is cute, or, let’s face it, they just get it in their head that you’re a woman at all. These picks are slightly off the beaten path, and a reminder to men everywhere- the world is your Tinder, just just gotta learn how to swipe!
Every couple of days, a dude will direct message me and say “Hi” or “Hello.” Has this ever led to sex, in the history of the world? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but if it was Chris Evans writing, I might change my tune.
Facebook Business Page:
I made a promotional page for myself (check it out, readers!) and got a creepy message asking that I tell the stranger on the other end “all about myself,” which was funny because that is literally what the page is. I ignored it for a few days, and then Facebook started nudging me to “keep my response rate up” by answering all queries to the page within two days. Finally, I wrote, “Hi! I’m Jack, Virginia’s manager. Thank you for your interest in her career! This page posts shows, podcasts, and other promotional info!” No response.
As creepy Facebook friends abate, Insta creeps abound! It took me a long time to find the little paper airplane that was my message inbox, but when I did I was rewarded with compliments from many randos, followed by some furious insults when I didn’t respond to those same randos.
A foreign friend was looking for cheap places to stay in the states, and strangers on Couchsurfing kept offering her “fun weekends”. I explained to her that these men thought she was maybe going to exchange sex for a place to sleep. She said, “But no women have offered me a space.” She finally messaged back and forth with a man who didn’t overtly proposition her, but the day before her trip he said that he gave great massages, and ultimately she had to book an airbnb.
Words with Friends:
I was playing with a stranger, and he wrote that my profile pic was beautiful and asked where did I live. I told him it doesn’t matter where I live, I’m not looking to meet people on Words with Friends. I’m here to play some Scrabble. He ended the game, and I changed my profile picture to a friendly-looking dog. I still love Scrabble.
My sister was job hunting, and a man in her field sent her a message saying that they should meet for coffee and discuss her goals. She thought this sounded great and they made a plan. The day before their appointment, he offered to take her to dinner instead, and named an expensive restaurant in New York. She said she’d rather have coffee, to which he offered an introduction to an executive in her field. She looked up his Facebook profile and responded that perhaps he’d like to bring his wife to the dinner, and used her name. See? Facebook is still good for something.
My friend Lizzie told me, “On my way to work every day, I passed a massage parlor that seemed to be open all hours and looked suspect. I was very naive, and thought I would post a question about the business on Yelp. Did men really get full service at these places? Men told me. Boy oh boy did they want to tell me all about it. They wanted to know if I’d like to meet and discuss it. That was ten years ago. I still sometimes get messages about it.”
I was selling some used Adidas Gazelles on Ebay, they were worn but in good shape. I got some messages, as ever, about shipping and auction dates, and then I got one about the wear of the shoes and what I had used them for. I was happy to reply. The writer asked if I was a cheerleader, and if I ever wore the shoes without socks, if I had ever gotten the liners sweaty, if I could send them pictures of me in the shoes. I wrote back and said sorry, I’m just a regular lady and didn’t need to talk to foot fetishists too much, buy the shoes or don’t. That person never bid on them, and they sold to a kid in Kansas.
If you’re interested in dating your rideshare driver, the best thing to do is to go home and write it in a notebook and bury that notebook in the woods. Don’t turn in a fake lost item report and ask them out. That’s creepy and it’s a disturbingly popular go-to. Just go out and meet people!
My friend Amy told me she liked stalking friend’s burgeoning relationships on Venmo. If people are constantly paying each other for beers and pizza, she knew that they were probably dating. Sure, you CAN change the settings to private, but few people bother. However, she didn’t reckon that some people would follow it so closely that they would notice when her recent ex was buying a new girl pizza, and that she started getting dm’s from men she knew slightly asking if she was ok, and if she’d like to meet and talk- over pizza.
Do all men do this? Of course not. But in an app-driven world, some people are ALWAYS looking for a special connection along with their food delivery, movie ticket purchase or money exchange!
How We Prepared Emma For The Adventure Of Marriage
Meeting The Crew
My baby sister Emma is getting married, and we meet up in New Orleans to celebrate. Her bachelorettes are a combination of big-city career women and her high-school friends, and of course her two sisters, who have already been married and divorced, but are trying to maintain a good attitude. We’ve got single people, people in long term relationships, and lots of married women. Lots of advice, lots of perspectives.
Joni got married early and dotes on her two adorable kidlets. She doesn’t always know about internet slang, memes, who’s president, or other minor trivia. She’s a busy lady.
Amanda is a corporate woman, also with two small kids, who has just relocated to the midwest with her family.
Sadie, our other sister, is divorced with a kid. She’s looking for Mr. Right and has been frustrated with the men she meets on dating sites.
I’m divorced, childless, and happy about it. I disliked being married and won’t seek it again.
Asha is desperately beautiful, partnered, and a doctor. She’s seriously intimidating.
Marie is European, never married, and sometimes seems a touch naive.
“It’s not going to be one of those embarrassing Bachelorettes” we say to one another.
“We’re not going to have penis necklaces and straws. We are sophisticated people. We went to college. We like art. We’re not going to be basic.”
When we say it, we mean it.
My sister is getting married to a lovely man. I’m very happy for her. Men she has dated before have been toxic or distant. This man is loving, handy, and seems to take real pleasure in making projects for her. He is kind and smart and I am so excited to have him in my family.
The Adventure Begins
We start the first day with a fancy breakfast and doting waitstaff. We are offered $24 bottomless mimosas, but we giggle and stick to tea. My sister is wearing all white and a veil, which she assures us she will be wearing all weekend.
Marie points out that in Europe, the bachelorette party is called a Hen Night. Because so many of us are married and divorced, I identify more with Hen Night than Bachelorette, just busty busybody chickens clucking around. Joni asks if the bachelors have a Cock Night. This is very funny of Joni until I realize she didn’t mean it to be. Marie says no, in Europe the men have Stag Night, and then, I guess, a chicken and a buck get married.
We break for after-brunch drinks. We explain to Joni that sometimes people pee on each other in bed, and that eggplants are emoji for penises. Sadie is swiping idly through her Tinder matches, explaining that her only demands are that the applicants have hair and don’t demand NSA hookups. We explain to Joni what NSA hookups are. Marie wants to stop on the pictures with taut, hairless abs, but I tell her that if a guy leads with his abs, he’ll show them to everyone. I want to swipe right on a cute artist named Will but Sadie stops me. “He doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t have a kid. I know that right now.” She dismisses him. I keep trying to tell her that, as we move into our fourth decade on earth, she might have to be flexible on hair. “Nothing doing”, Sadie says. “I’m not matching with a bald POS like my ex-husband.” She tells us that, hilariously, he blamed her for his hair loss. “Look”, he said, “I wasn’t balding when we met.” I laugh, but I’m also sad.
We have a day of bachelorette adventure. We drink terrible drinks. We dance to jazz bands. Our bride is congratulated, over and over. We beam with pride. We drink. We take a ghost tour. We drink. We see a psychic, and drink.
We compare our psychic readings. Asha has been told she’s very lustful, and not apologetic about it. She agrees 100%. She enjoys sex, and resents how her mother talked to her about sex, that it was something men always wanted and that women never wanted, but which had to occasionally be tolerated. She has a healthy sex drive but spent most of her young adulthood feeling ashamed.
Sadie was told that, after a terrible marriage and some disappointing dating, she is still too angry to successfully partner with a new person, that she is a teflon pan on which no-one can find purchase.
Emma’s reading is exciting and rosy, about her new role as wife and her new life.
My reading is mostly about career and goals, but at one moment the psychic cocks her head and asks, and you’re seeing someone? And I say yes, and she says, and it’s good, and I agree, it is. It may seem like faint praise, but it is good, and I’m grateful.
Yelling At Clowns
The second morning, we head to the famous Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. A colorfully dressed clown crows when he sees my sister’s veil and he starts making her a penis crown out of balloons. It is almost pornographic in its detail. This is not his first penis crown. We refuse it. “This,” I tell him, “is not that kind of bachelorette. We are not interested in being covered in penises.” He spreads his hands and pretends to be offended. “And besides,” I continue playfully, “all penises are pretty much the same. They don’t matter.” The clown angrily starts listing types of penises. “They can be big! Small! Curved! Straight!” We are grateful to be seated and get away from the clown yelling about penises.
I think we try to simplify down to penises because love itself is so scary and full of unknowns. People can change, their goals and life veer away from each other, they can fall in love with other people or just out of love with each other, so we like to simplify it. Penises it is. I get up to go to the bathroom and when I get back, my sister is wearing a penis crown. It has been given to her by a stranger. As we eat our beignets, we explain to Joni the concept of polyamory. “Is that”, she asks, “legal?” We assure her that it is. What she’s thinking of is polygamy. If you don’t marry everyone, we tell her, you can sleep with as many people as you want. She smiles and shakes her head.
SAME PENIS FOREVER
That afternoon, we have a lingerie shower. Suddenly, there are penis straws and a penis pinata and a sign that reads “SAME PENIS FOREVER.” Where did all the penises come from? No-one knows.
My sister opens all her fancy underwear and we laugh and clap.
I ask the room for marriage advice for Emma.
Joni offers, “always give him a blowie on his birthday.” I raise my eyebrows at the idea of an annual blowjob.
Asha protests. “What if”, she asks, “ you really like giving them?”
Joni blushes and says, “Oh, I guess you could do more! Just- not less.”
I tell Emma that you should always support each other. You should always try to give them the best of your time and attention. This, because it is not about sex, is boring the room. I also give them my Dad’s advice to me, which was never to do a chore that you don’t want to do for the rest of your life. On some level, your spouse is a roommate that you hope will never move out.
Sadie says that although Emma has been distracted by the wedding, that’s just a fun party. The thing to concentrate on is the marriage, that’s the long term project that will shape her life and her partner’s life. Emma nods and smiles but doesn’t really seem to take it in. Sadie and I laugh together because this is the best advice she got on her wedding day, but didn’t recognize until years later. Weddings are a lot of noise and dresses and expense, maybe to distract you from the profundity of sealing your life to another person.
Amanda offers that you should marry your best friend. This is simple but profound. We all nod. Beauty fades and they lose their hair, but when you really like each other, you’ll get through the hard parts.
“There is no long relationship”, I say, “Without hard work. Everyone has to work. The idea that your relationship will be good without work is the biggest lie of all.” Joni agrees and says, “it’s weird, all the movies end with the couple getting married and nobody wants to talk about what happens after that, which is the rest of your life.” “That’s true”, interjects Sadie- “if a couple is married at the beginning of the movie, they’ll either split up and get back together, or split up and meet other people, or one of them is going to get kidnapped or die. There is nothing interesting to Hollywood about a successful marriage.” After all of our deep thoughts on partnership, we’re ready to go out.
By the end of the second day, I am wearing a themed bachelorette t-shirt, a sash, and a light-up twinkly flower crown. I now understand how dogs feel when we dress them up for Halloween.
We are walking up and down Frenchman street, being congratulated by fellow celebrants. I get away from my sisters for a moment and rejoin them in a bar moments later.
“Where”, my sister asks, “is your crown?” “I don’t know”, I tell them, but I do know. It’s in the trash can outside.
We go sing karaoke, taking over a small room. We sing all the songs about what we want from marriage, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I Will Always Love You” sung by Whitney Houston, and Joni sings “Goodbye, Earl” by the Dixie Chicks, about friends getting together to murder an abusive husband. I am not sure this is what we want for wedding wishes, but that’s what we’ve got. We go to a late night dance party hosted by one of the parade Krewes and have a great time before heading back to the hotel, picking our way through the streets strewn with beads and beer cups.
The last morning of the trip, I spend some quiet time with Sadie. We talk about what we’ve learned from our marriages, and how we wish we could give Emma everything we know. We love her and we love her intended, and that has to be enough. We separate, hugging and crying, to see each other in our matching gowns in a month.
It’s Springtime, when the sun comes out and we start to notice that other people look great and we’d like to pursue dating them!
Gone are the simple days of passing a school friend a note that reads, “Do you like me check YES or NO” and waiting, slowly sipping chocolate milk in what you hope is a cool way, for the response to come back.
We are older and more complicated and have more requirements, preferences, and food allergies at play, so I hereby submit this updated dating tool. It is my recommendation that both parties circle the number that best demonstrates their feelings for the other, and that anything within the same three data points could be reasonably attempted as a relationship, i.e. if one member scores 10 and one scores 8, that is still in spitting distance of a happy pairing for at least one of you! Good luck and enjoy Spring!
Will You Go Out With Me?
No. Not if you were the last human alive.
Maybe, if you were the last human alive.
Maybe-If we were down to the last thirty humans alive and you had managed to retain all of your limbs.
Maybe. I used to have a crush on you, years ago, until I found out you were dating someone I find repugnant, and also far too young.
Maybe, if I don’t get any better offers in the next couple of weeks.
Maybe, because you’re the most attractive person on this bus.
Maybe- I could give it a shot if you tried hard enough.
Yes, if you will support me through multiple sudden career changes.
Yes, if you live within two miles, or three subway stops of me. (No connections)
Yes, until you get sick, or something
Yes, if I am allowed to date other people and you are not allowed to.
Yes, unless you require me to change or compromise on anything ever.
Yes, if you are open to experimenting with monogamy together.
Yes, if you can reliably open difficult jars.
Yes, if I am allowed to review your audio books, favorite podcasts, Netflix cue and Spotify playlists to determine compatibility.
Yes, if we can have the right kind of dog together.
Yes, if you promise never to be honest with me about any shortcomings you may perceive.
Yes. I think of you often, and fondly.
Yes, I have often wondered if it would be nice to kiss you. I am very interested.
Yes. A thousand times yes. You’re all I think about, and no other human being makes me feel the way that you do. I have dreamt of this moment. Thank you.
Hi, my name is Virginia Jones and I’m a comedian and writer. I made a girlfriend six years ago who was beautiful and smart and kind and fun to be with, and at one point she told me she was a still a virgin in her late 20s, and I was pretty surprised. In the years since we met, she has transitioned into non-virginity, and she agreed to sit down and talk with me about it. Historically, virginity has been so important in religion, in vampire lore, and in marriage, but now it doesn’t seem as significant, and I wondered what her thoughts were on the topic. In this interview, I’m calling myself by my initials, VJ, and I’m calling her Unicorn Charmer, because in Medieval times it was said that a unicorn would only lay his head in a virgin’s lap.
VJ: At what age did you lose your virginity?
UC: I was 30. When did you lose yours?
VJ: I was 15, which at the time I felt was ancient and now I am totally grossed out by. When I see 15 year olds, I think, well, these are children.
UC: Oh myyyy.
VJ: How many partners have you had since then?
UC: I’ve had five sex partners — spread out over the past five years. Two long-term boyfriends, three shorter term. You?
VJ: Some multiple of that. Have you ever had a one night stand?
UC: I tried to have one in Europe with a sexy European man, but he kept in touch and it became an affair that kept going for a while — so I still haven’t successfully had one. I guess I maybe had one with someone I had been in love with forever — but that feels more like a continuation of our friendship. Once I had sex for the first time, he was someone I wanted to circle back and have sex with.
VJ: What was the original motivation for keeping your virginity, and did that change?
UC: I was raised in a very conservative Baptist household and was definitely taught that sex was for married people, and lots of scary stuff about STDs. When a boy first kissed me, I was quite sure I had AIDS. I was engaged for three years starting at 19, and when that engagement ended, I decided, well, I don’t have to be married, but I’d like to have sex with someone who loves me and who I love back. So, that only took… another seven years.
VJ: That’s a minute.
UC: It was. It wasn’t all the guys’ fault. I’m sometimes… fickle.
VJ: Have you ever lost partners or relationships because you didn’t want to have coitus?
UC: None of them ever admitted it, but looking back, I think, yeah. I think it’s not something you want to say is the reason.
VJ: It’s not a good look. Do you regret anything about waiting?
UC: I don’t regret my age or the timing when I lost my virginity — but I would have liked my first to be a different person?
VJ: Why is that?
UC: I thought he loved me and that he was the right partner, but it turned out that he wasn’t faithful and didn’t care for me the way I thought he did. Later, I felt like I was a conquest. It seemed like the right person at the time, but looking back, could have been better
VJ: I think most of us feel that way.
UC: Ha! But I don’t regret waiting, either. All I missed over the years was sex with people who weren’t in love with me, which I feel is missable.
VJ: What are some positive responses people have had to your sex history? UC: Women have been 100 percent positive, girlfriends all think it’s great. Lots of men, friends and ex-boyfriends have been respectful of my decision. One man I did sleep with said it made him feel extra special. Which he is! “I had built a lot of my self-image on being a virgin, on being that girl”
VJ: What is something that you changed your mind about after having sex?
UC: Strangely, I have changed my feelings about oral sex, which for years was my main sexual activity — now it seems VERY intimate and kind of more precious than sex — like, I can have intercourse with someone way before oral sex. I have to trust them more.
VJ: I’ve heard that’s the feeling a lot of millennials have, that sex with a condom you can have with anyone, but oral sex is more intimate. It’s the opposite of when I was growing up. What were you surprised about after the first time you had sex?
UC: I thought it would be really bloody and painful, and it wasn’t. I was surprised that it wasn’t actually that big a deal — I wasn’t a different person, I wasn’t transformed in one way or another — it was strange, I had built a lot of my self-image on being a virgin, on being that girl, and I had to figure out who I was again!
VJ: Ha! Right, part of our worth as a woman is your sexual purity — It gives you the idea that you will be a different person once you have sex, but you’re not. Like a button is pressed and POOF you are a different being.
UC: I guess so! But I just had to train myself out of thinking of myself in relation to what I hadn’t done, and think about myself in the context of what I have.
VJ: Have you had any negative feedback on staying a virgin for longer?
UC: Unfortunately, yeah- it usually gets thrown in my face by partners or men when they’re angry with me or want to hurt me? Stuff about I’m frigid or not normal or can’t come during sex, which I can — Lots of men want to tell me that because I waited, I’m gonna have hang-ups or other issues, that I’ll never be normal in bed.
VJ: That’s cruddy.
UC: It is. One guy in particular has hit that one same note over and over, that I’m not normal, normal people just hook up a lot and don’t put a lot of importance on sex, but you know, I know those people, and they don’t seem that happy to me.
VJ: Maybe not.
UC: And I know that I’m worth more than that.
VJ: Well, I think everyone is worth more, both women and men. But we believe what people tell us, which is that the only thing available to us is hookup sex, so we’d better take it, or get nothing. (laughs)
UC: Ha! Right. “I was relieved that a penis didn’t feel like a giant finger inside me.”
VJ: What were you relieved about when you lost your virginity?
UC: I was honestly glad not to worry about it anymore. Also…Oh, god…
UC: I was relieved that a penis didn’t feel like a giant finger inside me.
UC: Well, I wasn’t sure.
VJ: Well, how could you be? Thank you for sharing your sex history with me, babe. The Unicorn Charmer has just ended a serious relationship and is currently out meeting new dates and potential partners in her new city, and is having fun, mostly!