As a single girl living in Boston, I am cursed (or gifted, depending on your perspective) with the pressure of finding a companion. I bought a cat to help fight the lonely blues, but he is only good for the cuddling. Finding a man these days is generally an easy task with social media, dating apps, single meet-ups, and such. Nonetheless, it is the psychology of dating that throws me through a loop. As a psych major and the daughter of a therapist, I like to think I am good at reading people. I can sort through and categorize the bachelors as either charming or straight out creepy with ease. If someone passes the initial judgement, then we enter what I like to call the “Five Date Series”.
The first five dates, no matter how drawn out, provide the the time to ask questions, flirt, and test the waters. I like to cover all the bases I would for a short story: Who? What? When? Where? Why? If no red flags appear after my W’s are explored, then the series continues on. Personally, I am giddy about planning dates. Maybe it is the suppressed romantic in me, but there is nothing like a well-thought-out date running smoothly. Museum of Fine Arts followed by a light afternoon lunch. Sunday brunch prior to a walk around Boston Common. A steak dinner leading up to a film showing at the independent theatre. Every detail is meticulously planned--starting with the shoes and ending with the goodnight kiss. This period of time is fueled by adrenaline, anxiety, and hopefully, lust. It is what lies after Date #5 that has really left me puzzled lately.
These days, male millennials have developed a very, bad habit. They appear to have every trait of Mr. Right, until the prospect of Date #6 is hanging in the air. At this point in the dating series, both parties usually know where things are heading and have developed a solid game plan. The behavior I have seen lately is the result of a man deciding that things just are not working out (for whatever reason). Most adults, would communicate these feelings delicately and present the logic behind the decision. However, the new pattern I have noticed causes the male party to simply ghost. No calls, no texts, not even a ‘like’ on my latest Instagram post. For days, weeks, months, I simply never hear from him again. Sometimes I find myself wondering if he had an unfortunate, head-on encounter with a bus. Honestly, I would prefer a feeble excuse over avoidance.
I think this type of rejection is especially hard. Over the course of five dates, I build expectations around the budding--well actually, wilting--relationship. If I really like the guy, I have visions of romcoms dance in my head. If I feel the need to move on, then I prepare and rehearse a heartfelt speech. Howbeit, I never get the opportunity to perform. Instead, I impatiently wait for days and days until I am so pale my roommates remark, “Wow, Sam, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!”