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Rude Text Messages are Nicer Than This

woman in gray tank top and blue denim jeans sitting on green grass during daytime

I was cycling on a Saturday afternoon, thinking about my imminent first date with the woman of my dreams – drinks that night in an upscale restaurant – when my cell phone chirped receipt of a text message.  Lo and behold, she was texting me. We’d met ten days before at Loveawake dating site. Nervy of me to ask for her number, but I got it. How sweet is that?

Her text message said: Sorry, working late. Have to cancel.

Shit. Not again. The previous Monday she’d flaked on making plans without even sending a follow up text message or phone call. It seemed rude, but the next day she phoned to apologize, saying she’d had a doctor’s emergency. We rescheduled for Saturday drinks. At the time, it seemed like a dating upgrade. But maybe I should have asked for a doctor’s excuse note. (just kidding!)

I texted her: Bummer. Want to meet later? What time are you done?
She texted right back: 10. Maybe I will call u later.

Okay, sweet enough. She wasn’t sending rude text messages, just being a little vague. Maybe it would work out, after all. But I didn’t get my hopes up – she did say maybe, and it was a first date. I didn’t know what sort of work she did (I guessed nanny), but if she got off at 10pm on a Saturday night, she’d either want to chill at home by herself or head out for drinks with friends. Given the circumstances, our first date seemed unlikely to happen that night.

I didn’t hear from her again that night, or even the next day. How rude could one person be? I know, I know, I should have just walked away. But after the flirty sweet way we met, I couldn’t. Late afternoon, I resorted to texting. Can I ask what sort of work you do?

She texted right back: I’m a personal assistant to a family.

That explained the crazy hours. She worked in a wealthy suburb, and perhaps the mom and dad spent too much time in high tech jobs. They might keep her on call. (Would they phone, or send text messages? Ha.) Still, it seemed rude of her not to mention our broken date from the night before. Then again, did she have to? She’d already apologized when she cancelled, and she hadn’t promised to meet up or even get back to me.

I sent her a text message: Oh, that’s why you work strange hours.
She texted right back: Yes, I work too much. I don’t have a life. :-(

Some men might interpret that as her being rude, or trying to appear unattractive as a way of saying she wasn’t interested in dating. But not me. My reaction, however misguided: David to the rescue! I put rudeness and text messaging aside and phoned her immediately, intent on asking her out for drinks that very night. No more planning days in advance. My call went through to voicemail. Fine, she preferred texting.

I texted her: Free tonight? We could get drinks!

No response. This was beyond frustrating. But half an hour later a new text message from her arrived: Sounds good.

Sweet! I was in there. I phoned again. No answer. I texted her back: Want to meet at 8? Let’s talk and make plans.

She didn’t write back. I followed up with a phone call an hour later. No answer. Maybe she was taking a bath or getting her nails done, prepping for our date. I called again at 7 and left voicemail, asking if 8 still worked. No response.

WTF? Three flaked dates is all I can take. Granted, the first two were excused. But the third, saying sounds good, then not responding further? I almost wish she’d sent some actual rude text messages, instead. Anything. Just be straightforward.

It’s been a week since this last exchange. I texted her once more a few days later. But after her sounds good message, I never heard from her again. Was she date stacking? (making plans with multiple guys in one night, intending to only see one of them? Rude, I know.) Was she really that busy? Did she simply not like me or my circumstance? The whole thing vexes me.

I will say one thing – silence is the rudest text message of all.


Flirty Text Messages on Craigslist


man using phone

Her Craigslist dating ad last Tuesday was simple and direct:

Summer Romance – I’m 35, attractive and active, take good care of myself. I’m educated with a successful career. Looking for an intelligent, fit, emotionally healthy man, 35-45. Let’s meet for drinks tonight and see where things lead.

Summer romance with an attractive woman who wanted to meet tonight? Sounded perfect to me. It was already 8:45pm, and she’d posted at 8:30pm, so I had a real shot. Some women dating on Craigslist received 300 responses per post. For a guy to get picked, sending the first compelling reply was key. I emailed a note and a pic of my smiling face.

Hey – I like how you sound. I’m a SWM, early 40s, educated, in shape, nearby. Drinks tonight sounds great.

The best thing about Craigslist is its immediacy. Forget and Loveawake personals with their checkboxed descriptions of an ideal partner, prolonged emails, and lengthy search for the one. On Craigslist it was all about who wants to meet right now? Chemistry is felt in an instant in person, after all. The important thing is to meet.

Half an hour passed.

Surely she’d picked someone by now. If she was real. I’d been around the block enough times that Craigslist burned me more than once. But I’d also met some really great women – for coffee, drinks, hiking, cycling, dinner. I just figure you have to break some eggs to make an omelet. And if said omelet is made for two the morning after an evening date? I won’t complain.

She sent an email. Her pic was attractive. Her note was brief:

Looks good. Where do you live?

I know enough not to give personal details online to a stranger, so I side-step questions like that. The key was to meet, especially when her ad said tonight. She was looking for summer romance, not looking all summer for the perfect partner. I wrote right back.

I’m one town over. Are you in the mood for cocktails or wine?

Another five minutes passed, not a good sign. She might be considering a handful of guys. And why not? If she was out clubbing, she’d have an entire venue of men to flirt with. Finally she wrote and suggested we chat on Yahoo IM.

Her: hi!
Me: hey, how are you?
Her: I’m good. Getting a little late.

(Fair enough, she’d posted an hour before.)

Me: I live nearby. Let’s meet right now and chat over drinks.
Her: that would be fun, but I have to get up early.

(Granted, it was a weeknight. But she’s the one who’d posted looking for tonight.)

Me: you’ll be in bed early. It’s just a drink
Her: maybe you want more than that

(From summer romance to one-night-stand – maybe she was testing my intentions)

Me: no, just a drink to see if we click. Summer’s just getting started. Plenty of time for fun.
Her: good! But I really do have to get up early. Maybe tomorrow night?

(Sigh. I wouldn’t push. Best to play on her terms.)

Me: I would, but I already have dinner plans with a buddy. Sorry.
Her: no problem. How about Thursday?
Me: sure! That would be great.

We agreed to chat some more during the day on Thursday to iron out plans. Craigslist immediacy was being tossed out the window, but at least I had a date. With an attractive, educated, sexy woman, no less.

On Thursday I couldn’t wait for our evening date. Drinks with romance potential. This could turn into a very good summer, indeed. Too bad we hadn’t exchanged cell phone numbers, we could swap some flirty text messages or actually talk. I sent her email. The response was immediate:

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message. That account has been deactivated.

Talk about simple and direct. Ah, Craigslist.


Is the Dating Pool Really That Small?

woman in black long sleeve shirt holding black smartphone

I was drinking sangria at the bar of Cascal, a local tapas restaurant, when an attractive woman and her date sat down beside me. It took a moment to catch her eye, at which point I couldn’t help but flash a wry smile. No, I wasn’t hitting on her, trying to flirt when her date wasn’t looking.

I’d already bought her drinks the night before.

Nothing like seeing a blind date again. Which makes me wonder – is the dating pool really that small?

Elisabeth and I met on Loveawake, that place you go for concert tickets without having to pay an eBay or StubHub surcharge. Unlike other dating sites where you post a profile containing your photo and an essay about you and your ideal match, along with checkboxed lists of traits you possess and are seeking, craigslist posts are more often short, free-form requests for companionship. Who wants to join me at the Giants game this weekend? Who wants to meet for coffee tomorrow afternoon? Who wants to be my friend with benefits? Or in the case of my post the previous night, Who wants to meet for a drink, flirt and see what happens?

A handful of women responded, but Elisabeth sounded by far the most interesting to me. College educated, slender yoga figure, mid-thirties, strawberry blonde, career in marketing, family in the area. She lived in Los Gatos, just twenty minutes away. I emailed her about me: educated, fit from cycling, early forties, dark blonde, successful engineer turned writer, single dad with two kids. We swapped photos and agreed to meet at Steamers, a restaurant bar in her town.

The date was a lot of fun. We quickly found out we had opposite tastes in wine – I like big bold reds, she loves Chardonnay. Drinks in hand, we got to know each other. She was pretty, articulate, well traveled; we shared similar interests in movies and books, sushi and pasta, vacation dreams of Greece; she laughed at my jokes, enjoyed my wit; she twirled her hair and touched my arm and showed plenty of other body language signs of attraction. There was sexual energy and genuine chemistry between us. I was entertaining thoughts of third date sex and a healthy future of mornings waking up together.

“David, I like you a lot,” she said. “But I can’t get over the kid thing.”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“I hate ruling you out so completely, but I don’t want to date a single dad.”

Say what? She knew I had kids, before we met.

“You’re right, I knew,” she said. “And you sound like a great dad. I hear your enthusiasm when you talk about your children. You really light up. But I don’t want an instant family. I want to start my own from scratch.”
“Why did you meet me, then?” I asked.
“A drink sounded fun. And honestly, I wasn’t sure how I felt about dating a man with kids. Now I know.”

Huh. Well, glad to help her figure that out about herself. I guess.

When I suggested we hang out as friends, she said she worked too many hours, and needed to focus her remaining time on the search for a suitable mate.

In Cascal, she looked warily at me, perhaps fearful I might spill the beans to her date. He was the opposite of me in many respects – longer hair, hipper clothes, younger, presumably childless. I watched as he fumbled through the wine list, overwhelmed by its scope.
“Boy, there’s a lot to choose from,” he said. “Do you like reds or whites?”
“I’m partial to whites,” she said.

I chuckled. I’d been there just last night. I was tempted to lean over and tell him to get her a Chardonnay. Unless he had kids, of course, in which case he might as well end the date now.

I called to the bartender and asked for my check.