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.