Once we reach the point of number exchanges, the chemistry, or lack there of, is pretty evident. Conversation either dies off in a few messages, because he responds to my thoughtful paragraphs with a “lol” and a “:)” repeatedly, or it grows rapidly. Suddenly, I catch myself looking forward to his name, “____ Tinder,” popping up when my screen illuminates. No joke, every single person I have ever given my number to on Tinder gets their first name and Tinder as a last name. And when I say, “suddenly catch myself,” I mean I realize it after hitting the home button on my phone for the twenty-fifth time, in fifteen minutes, just in case I may have missed his presumably hilarious and engaging response to my last text. If he’s making me wait, it had better be both engaging and hilarious.
I try to keep it to texting for a two week minimum, putting up with me requires a lot of patience and this is a good test of that. Before long, the conversations struggle to stay casual while we speak our families and what we want out of life. Then, I can’t help but smile when he tells me his secrets prefaced with “I’ve never told anyone this but…” And the rapport grows during the late night conversations when he says, “Yes, I did see that car jump over the bridge, it was awesome,” while we watch movies together but apart.
It’s somewhere around this point that I get the stupid, warm, cozy feeling when I wake up to his “Good morning beautiful” texts. My guy friends assure me I’m not the only one he’s sending them to, and despite their certainty, I still swoon when I read it.
I’m an honest and straight forward kind of girl and I expect him to be open and honest too. So when he wants to know what level of crazy I am, on a scale of 1–10? I’ll openly tell him; I’m an easy 12, but mostly in the kooky fun way, not in the I-want-to-key-your-car-and-watch-you-cry-kind-of-way. Strangely, not all men respond well to this. But what’s even more concerning, is that most men do.
With my admission of crazy in mind, and in the spirit of full disclosure I tell him, “you should know, I cry, and sometimes I cry a lot. Cute puppy playing in the snow with more cute puppies? Tears. Adorable commercial involving grandparents? Tears.” It’s just a thing that happens and it’s best that he’s aware of my treacherous tear ducts before things progress.
Oddly, the openly insane angle tends to make people feel comfortable. My being crazy, combined with my non-intimidating and non-judging demeanor tends to cultivate a certain level of trust within people. I imagine they think, “If she doesn’t lie about this, she probably doesn’t lie at all because if I were to lie, I would most definitely lie about that.” To that I’d like to say, just because I admit to having nine fish tanks in my bedroom and to the fact that I spent an obscene amount of money to fly my three guinea pigs here from Japan, doesn’t mean I won’t lie about how many glasses of wine I’ve had this evening. It was four, in case you were wondering. Or was it? Now you can’t be sure.
The confusing part for me is, while I’m open about all my quirks, I still try to hide that I’m equally as comfortable with him, as he is with me.
I generally try to point my flaws out ahead of time, which I attribute to my self-care plan. If you can’t handle my crazy now, you sure as hell won’t be able to handle it later. Specifically, not when it’s three in the morning and I decide now is the perfect time, nay, the only time to discuss going to a fish auction as a team in the early morning.
The main thing I worry about when things are starting up, is him knowing how much I care. I don’t like him knowing he has the upper hand. I don’t want him knowing that as soon as I let him into my inner circle I will do whatever I can to help him with anything. * Short of hiding a body. We have to be long time companions before I’ll even consider taking that on.*
As someone who genuinely loves people, I tend to give too much of myself emotionally to someone too quick. I start to depend on his texts to keep my day entertaining and when they start to slow down I can feel myself scrabbling to find ways to make things more interesting again.
In the end, I’ve found enthusiastic text chemistry goes one of two ways:
- He Ghosts — Sometimes without any warning, and he disappears so fully that I’m pretty sure he actually died and contemplate sending his families flowers and my condolences. That is, I would consider it if I actually knew his last name because I am almost one hundred percent sure it isn’t Tinder. If it were, that would be super convenient though. Other times, it’s a slow ghost, more like a fade-out, and in that case he goes from long, essay like responses in minutes to one-word responses hours later. This is particularly offensive when he leaves on the read receipt. I know that he knows I’ve seen it and his “Lol :)” hours after the fact won’t cut it, bud. Gentlemen of the online dating community, just be honest and up font about it if you’re not feeling it any more. If for no other reason, than so my text based anxiety doesn’t make me spend the next two weeks reading and rereading every single one of our conversations, trying to figure out which response, phrase, word, and or unspoken imagined thought was so offensive to him that he needed to move to Yemen and change his number. Both me and my counselor, would be forever grateful if you would let me get some closure and ghosting prevents that entirely. *Note: I have no proof that the men who have ghosted me actually changed their number and moved to Yemen but I’m pretty sure that’s the case. And in their defense, I suppose, if I ever moved to Yemen I would probably change my number too*
- We Meet — The other way it goes is we make plans to finally meet up after we extensively discuss and agree that neither of us are murders. Because murderers obviously wouldn’t lie about being murderers, right? Exactly.
Even after braving the textual obstacles, next there is a whole world of in-person ones to over come.