“Hey.” “Hey you.” “What’s up?” “Yo.” “Heyyyy.”
These are the types of messages I’ve been getting from former flings and lovers about every six months or so. And I’m fucking sick and tired of it.
If you think I’m being a rageful bitch about a guy’s perfectly nice overtures for conversation, I just want to be clear that each and every one of these guys charmed me, flirted with me, dated me and then ghosted me. And then, about six months later, they all decided to pop in with a “What’s up?” followed by half-assed flirting, half-assed plan-making and then even more half-assed goodbyes.
And then the cycle repeats itself six months after that. It’s like a dude’s version of “lather, rinse, repeat,” but he “blathers, dodges commitment and then repeats.”
I’ve fallen for it a lot. I thought, Maybe they want to be friends! or Maybe they want to go out with me again! or Maybe this time they won’t lie to me or cancel our dates or reveal that they just don’t have time to squeeze me into their busy schedule or that they’re sleeping with a friend of a friend. What I’ve learned is that they all did want to see me again, or should I say, they wanted to hook up with me again without putting in the normal amount of effort.
The hard work for them was long done. They knew my name, my dreams and my weaknesses. They had my number programmed into my phone. They knew that at some point, I had enjoyed making out with them on dimly lit Manhattan street corners. They knew from friends that I was currently single. Ergo, why not put in the smallest amount of effort they could muster to pull in all of me once more?
I try to see the best in people. I know I have a sharp tongue, but I am also cursed with a weak and forgiving heart. So, I’ve often fallen into the trap of trying to make excuses for these guys.
After all, there are a ton of reasons why a guy would ghost on you and then contact you out of the blue: He could be a foreign war correspondent who is undercover in a dangerous war zone where all incoming and outgoing communications are watched by a despotic regime. He could be studying gorillas in the mist, far away from any cell or email service. He could be lost on a deserted island. He could be in a coma. Or he could be encased in carbonite in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. Or, he could be actually in love with you. The kind of love that crushes on your heart in the middle of dark, muggy nights and terrifies you so much you can’t face it head on.
As it turns out, none of the guys who have pulled this smooth move on me have any of these excuses and now I feel the worst kind of rage. I’m not even that angry with them, because I’m furious with myself.
I don’t know what it’s like to receive a well-written love letter. There have never been late-night trains or red-eye planes booked just to see me. I’ve never gotten an apology or a mix tape or a breathy message on an answering machine lamenting, “I couldn’t wait to call you.” I can think of only two romantic overtures in my entire life: one happened when I was four years old and the other involved an mp3 file. But the more I think about it, the blame for all this doesn’t lay with my so-called suitors. It falls upon me, because I’ve never demanded more.
Well, now I am. If a guy honestly likes me and he wants to pick up the pieces of whatever mess we both made in the past, he can. He’s just got to do more than offer a measly late night Facebook message or random salutation via text. He’s got to explain himself and he has to accept that I may be a forgiving person, but I’m also someone who doesn’t forget the times he’s let me down.
Right now, there are at least two half-hearted “Hey you,” messages waiting for me to answer. I haven’t answered them yet. There is a part of me that feels deeply horrible about this because I feel like I’m being rude. The thing is, if any of these guys were making honest, heartfelt overtures (even if they just wanted to be friends!), they would have texted me something else by now. They would have sent an email. They would have pressed “call.”
All they have the heart for is a short “hey,” and so for the sake of myself, I’m giving them the heave-ho.
[Photo of annoyed woman holding cell phone via Shutterstock]