Watching the new Jackass movie the other day left me with an odd feeling of nostalgia because there’s nothing like watching grown ass men repeatedly smack each other in the nuts for fun. It reminded me of how we used to live in a much simpler era when our social lives centered around getting the fuck out of the house with our friends.
When I was in high school, we had to make and keep our plans or wait by the phone until someone called. So at the risk of ramming the “back in my day” rhetoric down your throats, it appears that all of the options afforded by online dating might be turning many of us into selfish ghosts.
We have everything on demand at our fingertips and now with dating apps, we have essentially objectified ourselves by squeezing the essence of our humanity into a couple of photos and two sentences upon which we permit total strangers to make immediate surface judgements regarding our worthiness and fuckability!
No wonder psychological studies have shown that dating app users tend to have lower self-esteem and higher levels of self-objectification than non-users, particularly amongst cis men. Men typically out-number women by more than 2-1 on hetero dating apps and are most likely to employ the “throw shit at the wall and see what sticks” approach by swiping right as much as possible. So instead of getting rejected by two or three people on a night at a bar, men may get rejected by thirty or forty in a few hours on Tinder or Grindr… You could almost say it’s like getting smacked in the nuts repeatedly.
Now don’t get me wrong, we all know people who have found love on dating apps, and we certainly know many more who’ve gotten properly dicked down by their app hookups. But with such an endless array of potential matches, why commit to a plan when someone can keep you on the back burner and look for the bigger, better deal?
Remember, not everyone on dating apps is looking for love, or even looking to fuck. One recent survey showed that about 15% of users were only on the apps for attention and entertainment…I mean aren’t we all just on Grindr for the plethora of asshole pics?
Those of us still dating in our 30’s and 40’s may have maintained a modicum of respect for our roots when we learned to keep commitments if we ever wanted to see someone again. Yet now those who ghost and haunt (popping up only when they want something) benefit from the ultimate power trip by doing the rejecting and showing you that their time is more important.
So, my advice C&C, is to give up the ghost, unless you’re content to keep flirting with no expectation of meeting. If the Tinder Swindler taught us anything, it’s that what people say via text (especially on dating apps) isn’t necessarily authentic to real life. We can’t be so hopelessly romantic that we fall for the bullshit and end up sending money orders to some dude in Sweden (or wherever).
If this person truly wanted to meet up, THEN THEY WOULD. If you’re set on a meeting, then go ahead and bury the ghost like the dead that they are and move on. Maybe their pics were ten years old, or they were only ever in it for the attention, the chase and/or the nudes. If you can’t find out the truth, then walk away now before it goes any further- unless you are content with this never leaving your DMs.
Could ghosting be one of the lingering effects of pandemic social isolation? I worry about a generation who prefers the anonymous, dislocated comforts of texting to human connection. And I worry for the older millennials having a tough time adjusting to this new modality for meeting people.
So, to everyone reading this: You matter and your time is valuable! We are all much more dynamic than any dating app profile could possibly articulate. Don’t let a potential hook-up lead you on, toy with your emotions, or make you forget your worth. If you’re getting ghosted, then it’s definitely NOT a fuck yes: it’s a FUCK NO.