A Combat-Dating Flakejob

A few weeks back I made plans to meet up with a woman I had met online. The day of the ostensible date, I happened to have a series of meetings at work where I was away from my phone. During a working lunch I was able to peek at my texts and saw one from her asking for the address of the pastry cafe we had agreed to meet at, something about not being able to find it in Google. I didn’t have time to shag the address and reply so I went on with my day and assumed she’d figure it out.

I returned to my phone in the afternoon and found another text, something to the effect of “hey I’m not going to be able to meet up tonight – my roommate’s family is in town and I’m going out with them.”

Flaking of the oops-I-just-remembered-I-had-something-really-important variety is nothing new, and flaking is a huge problem with online dating – with literally no tactile or verbal connection built, expecting a young woman to follow up on a one- to three-day old time commitment is just not a good strategy to bet on. I really can’t explain it but it seems to follow closely from the so-called female prerogative to change her mind that young women feel justified deciding at the zero hour that the whole thing is all of a sudden not that important to her, or she’s got something more interesting to do, or she just doesn’t feel up to the experience. Flaking is a burn for me and probably many other guys who were raised to “be a man about it,” follow through on commitments we had bound ourselves to, and put a real effort into it to boot – whether it’s going to work or showing up to football practice.

So flaking is old hat, a large reason dating has to be a numbers game.

But something was different about this one. Admittedly, one can’t completely know what’s going on in the mind of who is essentially a stranger, but I felt strongly like I had been commitment-tested, that she didn’t really want the address – she was nervous that I was going to flake, or at least wanted to construct an excuse to justify her own flakejob, and wanted some response from me that would confirm I was still committed and invested in the date. However she didn’t want to look like she was more invested in it than I was, as would have been communicated with a “are we still on for tonight?” or “Looking forward to meeting you” type of text.

In any case, I didn’t validate her concerns fast enough (truth be told I try not to text at work even when I’m not in meetings), so she pulled the ejection handle. And thus completed her self-fulfilling prophecy.

It was Combat Dating at its apex.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “A Combat-Dating Flakejob

  1. liked this. happened to me a few times. Very much a case of woman logic baffling all but herself

  2. With the ease of use of online dating, we’re going to need a new gameplan. We can’t use the same text game that we would had we already met the person face-to-face – say, at a bar or coffee shop. My non-flakes have always been MILFs who, in retrospect, were DTF from the first few messages we exchanged. No complaint on my part, but the flakes I have had were young girls who very likely have many real-life options to see men they may have met the night before or earlier that day so it’s easier to blow off someone they’ve only emailed from three days before from a website they might even be a little shy mentioning that they use.

    I guess the thing is, how to get a girl more invested in the plan?

  3. I meant to keep writing:

    I’ve also noticed that a good amount of girls will return messages that you may have sent her a few days earlier on OKC/POF when they’re getting ready for bed. I can easily get their phone# within about five returns and then tell them it’s bedtime but I want to txt them in the morning. Then in the morning, push for a hangout that night to minimize amount of time playing text validation games. If you can’t get a hangout that night, you may just get a flake.

    But hey, just my experience as of late.

  4. Mike H

    Her bailing at the late minute was lame, but this girl doesn’t sound crazy. The text on the day of the date is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. When she texts you (plugging in guesstimates) 8 hours before the date with a specific question and you don’t respond for 5 hours and counting, she has a reasonable expectation that you might not show up. She didn’t need to lamely bail, obviously, but I see her side here.

  5. Mike H

    Additionally, regardless of who’s in the right or wrong here, it just seems like a waste of time to put in work to get the date, and then torpedo it at the last minute by not taking 15 seconds to send a text.

  6. I don’t know what the new dating protocols are since it has been decades since my last date, but it seems to me that there is higher risk meeting someone in person for the first time, when you discovered them online. Flaking is a natural response to the fear that comes from that higher level of risk and what we used to call chickening out. You can likely pick up the pieces here and call her later and eventually get your date with very little trouble as long as you don’t make a big deal out of it. If she is always finding other things to do, then she just is too cowardly to tell you that she isn’t in to you. Or in real life she may be just 13 years old and doing the OK cupid thing for kicks.

  7. Some of it can also be protection against the vagaries of electronic communication. I was on the flaky side of this recently, due to that.

    This week I had a date where I never heard confirmation (because the girl texted the wrong number instead of what I sent her), so I didn’t head out – instead I got a phone call from her from in front of the meeting place. When she realized she texted the wrong # earlier and I’d never heard from her, we rescheduled.

  8. Samplexus,

    You’re exactly right – the impersonality of online dating, the perception of lots of options online, and the opportunities available in real life mean an online date commitment is probably at the bottom of the priority list any given night.

    “I guess the thing is, how to get a girl more invested in the plan?”

    One thing is that you have to do more rapport building over text, it has to be more extended than “Hey it’s Badger, how are you doing/good to hear, do you want to meet up?”

    FWIW, I’ve completely abandoned phone calls with women I haven’t met in person yet, and also for almost all women I meet in person who I haven’t been on any kind of a date yet. I’ve had about five instances recently where a woman enthusiastically gave me her number online, stating she was excited to meet up, I called and left a simple voicemail and never heard back from her. I stopped calling at all after a 22-year old acquaintance told me, “phone calls are way too formal for women my age.” Standards are low these days. It’s like the other forms of minimalism that game teaches us – I do it not because I want to, but because I know the alternative will get me rejected or friend-zoned.

    Frigid North,

    I also had a wrong-number situation, in my case a woman gave me a mistyped number and by the time we got it sorted out she had cooled and gave me the old “I’m going to take a break from dating.” As Samplexus noted, you do have to strike when that iron is hot; even an honest mistake can kill you since you have to ride the emotional wave especially with online paramours.

  9. Mike H,

    Thanks for commenting.

    “and you don’t respond for 5 hours and counting, she has a reasonable expectation that you might not show up.”

    Here, you’re exhibiting the same sort of paranoid attitude she probably was, that being “he’s not responding to me, therefore he must be actively ignoring me.” As we had never communicated during the workday hours, I find it presumptuous and rude to ask someone you’ve never met to be your Yellow Pages during his workday and to assume malice if he doesn’t jump to reply before quitting time.

    That’s exactly the reason this is “Combat Dating;” it’s underlaid will all sorts of distrust and projection and trying to make sure the other person has more skin in the game than you do so you don’t get stuck with your neck out.

    “it just seems like a waste of time to put in work to get the date, and then torpedo it at the last minute by not taking 15 seconds to send a text.”

    Again, you’re framing it as if I took an active, malicious part in rejecting her. What’s interesting about this is that if she had just said “see you tonight” or “wanted to make sure we were still on” I could have sent a quick “yep, see you there” reply. Instead she issued a compliance test, that required me to undertake some searching in excess of “15 seconds.” The mechanics of her passive aggressive test caused me to not respond (again, because I’m at work, where work takes precedence over social texting, and she happened to hit me on a day where I was booked solid). So her fears were realized precisely because she tried too hard to validate them.

    Now for what it’s worth, this was the first of three flakes over the course of about ten days – the other two I was able to reschedule (one for the next week, the other for later in the same day). But both of them earned the right to a rescheduling effort by being at least cursorily apologetic, and by giving clear signals they wanted to set another date and time.

  10. Badger, I feel your pain. Online dating is filled with flakes. It’s hard for a young woman to be seriously invested in a guy they met online. I’m not sure that there’s really much you can do to build a better report. It’s more a matter of persistence and a knowledge of what you are up against.

    The strategy I’ve used lately is to get their number within 3 emails, call them and leave a message. If they don’t call you back, text with a specific time/date/fun thing to do. Generally you can set something up this way. I’ve even had to employ this strategy once I’ve met them in person for the next few dates before, with good conversation and decent game, you can get them to invest in phone calls, etc. Generally you really do need to confirm with them the day of or day before. I even like to text when I’m on my way.

    I also learned the hard way that you need to give these girls space but still be persistent. They are often seeing multiple men in a casual way. However, many dudes bail just as fast, so it’s good to keep working a girl.

    As far as flaking, roll with it, try to reschedule. If you give it a couple of attempts and you get nothing, NEXT them.

    One thing to note about women on dating websites; often they appear and tell themselves that they are looking for a boyfriend/relationship etc, but in reality, they are not. They are just trying to “be out there” to take pressure off themselves from friends and family and/or to enjoy some male attention. These dating zombies fall into a few different categories including the recovering rebounder, the serial dater, the unrealistic picky picker, and the independent future spinster/cat lady (who really doesn’t want a man at all.) You see this more and more in girls in their late 20s and early 30s. You may be able to wrangle a few dates with these girls, but they almost never stick/invest without more effort than they are worth.

  11. I met my wife through ‘Single Book Lovers’ 30 years ago. This was before the internet. It was from an ad in the back pages of Natural History magazine. I wrote back and forth with several women about the books I had read and liked. It was not just about looking for a hot date. It was about getting to know somebody interesting. I like being married to her.

  12. Did you text her back?

  13. Ken,

    Are you saying I’m not hot?

  14. Yohami,

    I think I waited and texted her back around the time we were supposed to meet up. Sent a restart text the next week to re-establish communication, after she replied asked when she had in mind to reschedule, she didn’t reply to that one and I declared it a dead lead. Happens all the time online, it’s a defect of the medium combined with general GenY flakiness and not respecting other people’s time.

  15. Yeah, her texts didnt have a rain-check so it was probably a dead lead already. When I get those dead end texts I usually send a “too bad” or something like that, and sometimes the girl then offers a rain-check.

    This shit does happen all the time in online dating.

  16. Yohami,

    Yes, if a girl sends even a “can we reschedule?” or “maybe we can meet next week?” I have something I can work with. If it’s “I can’t make it, sorry!” I stop pursuing entirely.

    Some flakejobs, like this one, have this subtext of “I blew you off, now I want you to ask me out again.” I don’t play those games. Get over yourself and make up for the flake (it’s not hard, just say “how about next Tuesday?”), or go on over to http://andthatswhyyouresingle.com/.

  17. “I blew you off, now I want you to ask me out again.” classic

  18. Yohami,

    I’ve made the point at Susan’s place many times that the rom-com genre has imbued young women with the idea that a man who’s interested is going to keep pursuing until she feels like saying yes. So Susan gets lots of letters that read “so this guy I kinda like asked if I wanted to go to this party, I said no because I was planning a girls night out, but I haven’t heard from him again, is he not really interested?” No, he WAS interested, you rejected him and he’s moved on. It seems to be a surprise to these girls. That’s what happens when dating is dead and people get their romantic ideas from the big screen.

  19. I know the attitude bro. The short negative put down “too bad” or “shame” or “duh” when they flake works sometimes, if they are interested they respond with a raincheck.

    Asking them out again after a rejection becomes a chase, which never works, even if you end up dating them, the chase has been established and they keep feeding it to see how high you´re willing to jump.

    On the other hand if the rejection was real and you keep asking them out, it becomes a “this guy doesnt get the cue? Im not interested”

    So combat dating or whatever. You ask them out, they say no without a counter offer? next. Easy and clean.

  20. I’m not sure if I completely agree. I think you have to be somewhat aggressive with internet girls or you are never going to date any of them. I give one attempt at a reschedule before nexting them.

    If you end up dating one and the chase has been established, you can flip the script a bit on the “chase” mentality with well timed freeze outs. It may be hard to get these girls to stick long term, but you can definitely get a hook up or two out of it.

  21. Dale

    You could be right. I was in a dating service for a while, and had one girl flake on me. However, when we were making plans for the meeting, she told me she was black and the last meeting through the service had been with a white guy who didn’t show (she thought because of her race.) So the flake can be to avoid being flaked on.

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