Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Amazing Disappearing Man!

It's only been six months or so since my breakup, but in that short time, I've been kissed and dissed an astonishing three times. I'm not talking about the “I've enjoyed spending time with you, but I'm not sure we're meant for each other...” kind of diss. I'm talking about the Amazing Disappearing Man diss.

You probably know what I'm talking about. You hang out with someone, you think you like each other, things are starting to heat up... and then BOOM. The phone calls stop. It's like a stone wall has descended, and you have no idea why or where it came from. It's immature, bewildering to the dissee, and indecent on a basic human level, and I will go on the record as saying I want nothing to do with men who engage in such practices.

Thankfully, I haven't cared about any of the men this has happened to me with recently, although the most recent – a Jewish Paul McCartney look-alike with a shaggy mop of gray hair – was very cute, and kissing him was quite fun. Still, the fact that when my friends asked me to tell them something about him all I could say was, “I don't know – but he's so cute!” was not a great sign. I had some indications that he was not very reliable before I went out with him, and considered calling off our date. In other instances, I was getting ready to do the dissing myself. (My dissing, however, involves a thoughtful e-mail.) It's a weird, unpleasant experience when someone disappears, even when you're not into them. And, in this digital age, there is absolutely no excuse for it. Yes, it's hard to pick up the phone and make a breakup call, but sending an e-mail – even a text message would be better than nothing – is easy as pie. Plus, after you've done it once, all you have to do is cut, paste, change the name and details, and hit send! Or if you haven't done it before and don't know what to say, ask your dating gurus to send you their breakup templates, as I did last week. (Yes, in the past week I've been both disser and dissee.)

It's happened to friends of mine in particularly painful ways. One friend was dating an older, very put-together man some years back, and was nervous about bringing him to her apartment. When she finally did, he seemed distracted and left early, never to be heard from again. Another friend slept with a man she really liked for the first time, only to have him vanish into thin air shortly thereafter. Men, it is always unacceptable to disappear, but even more so after you've slept with someone!

Even though you know in your heart of hearts that when he stops calling it's over, it can be very hard to give up hope after someone disappears. You keep making excuses in your head: “He's just so busy with work. Maybe he went on vacation. He might have had a car accident!” I actually Googled a guy who kissed and dissed me recently just to make sure he wasn't murdered, because he had seemed so into me up to that point and I was genuinely worried. (Turns out he's still alive. Until I blocked him, every time we were on gmail at the same time he would swiftly go from green to gray. I can see you making yourself invisible when I log on, lame-o!)

Which leads me to another point: When you pull your Disappearing Man stunt, from that moment forward it will be very awkward if you ever run into her. Easy to avoid by just writing a quick e-mail to say it was fun getting to know her, but she just doesn't give you that quivery feeling in your tummy. Some men who have disappeared on me in the past were friends of friends or classmates of mine, and they had to know we would inevitably be at the same party or cross paths at school one day.

I'm sure there are women out there who do this, too, but it does seem to be something men are particularly prone to. Women are more courageous in such situations. So men, if you just aren't that into her, woman up and send that e-mail, or chat, or text message, or tweet, or Facebook wall posting! (Okay, some of these may not be great choices due to their public nature. But the point is, there are plenty of options.)


  1. Ha! As you know, I had my own case of the Amazing Disappearing Man this fall, only after a few months of actual dating. It is not cool. I suggest you post photos of the amazing disappearing men ("Wanted" sign style, perhaps?) so that when your friends run into them we can be appropriately awkward on your behalf... as you were with my Amazing Disappearing Man in January!

  2. True, there is also the fading kind of disappearing man -- he disappears gradually, taking longer and longer to return your phone calls, canceling dates more often, then finally calls to tell you he needs to talk. (And sometimes he then ends up crying on your couch as you pat his back.) It's like a bandaid -- so much less painful if you get it over with quickly!

    I think we could easily compile a sizable Missing Persons poster from all these cases.

  3. "Woman up" ha ha! I love that!!!

  4. Good post, I think many of the patterns you mentioned, are repeated in many women's lives.

    I basically feel that only those men, who dont have it in them to keep a woman interested for long, do such stunts. Its a case of low self-esteem, on their part. They dont think they can pull off a relationship with grace, so they exit ungracefully

    Women, by far, value themselves a lot. And they treat men, as they want to be treated, with respect.