These days, we’ve all been ghosted. Well, most of us, I’m assuming. And if you haven’t, no need to share that with me. I’m super happy for you. If you’ve never been ghosted, you’ve probably ghosted someone else, so now you get to know what it feels like from the side that gets haunted. My first time was so long ago I had never heard of the term ghosting. I’m not even sure if it was in our lexicon yet, which is part of why it was so confusing to me.
I met a guy on Ok Cupid. His name was Levi and he was a tall, cute redhead with blue eyes and a beard. A little beard, not a monster beard. More than scruff, less than a lumberjack. I was really excited to meet him and was actually looking forward to this date.
We met up for dinner and he was even cuter in person than online. A reverse catfish! Sweet! That never happens! I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. He was kind and sweet and funny. We hit it off instantly. We were talking so much we had to keep sending the waitress away because we hadn’t even looked at the menu yet. Yep, we were those people.
After the third time, we decided we should focus on the menu and get the ordering out of the way. We started with cocktails. They had a craft cocktail menu; you know, the ones that have eight ingredients each and cost $14 or more. We both debated our drink options and when I mentioned a whiskey cocktail, his heart just about stopped.
“You like whiskey?”
“It’s my favorite.”
“You should just marry me now.”
I giggled coyly. Rather, I laughed too hard and probably snorted, then gathered myself and attempted to giggle coyly.
We finally selected our cocktails and when the waitress came back, we proudly welcomed her advances. Levi was a gentleman and ordered for me. Not in a weird, overbearing way, but in the polite, gentlemanly way. And he gave me a sexy little look when he ordered my whiskey cocktail for me, which made me blush. We already had an inside joke. *Swoon
Dinner was great. The cocktails were delicious, the conversation was flowing, we were laughing and having a great time. I do remember that I made a bad choice of entrée though. The restaurant had a salad with seafood that sounded good on paper, but was not so good in execution. When it came out, it was a big pile of shellfish in some sort of heavy, creamy dressing, sitting on top of a bed of lettuce. It was massive and the whole thing was white. Not the most appetizing dish.
I was suddenly aware of the fact that I might not want to smell like shellfish if we were going to have a goodnight kiss, and I really wanted a goodnight kiss. I already knew that much! I didn’t want to be the girl who was “really great, except she tasted like frutti di mare when I kissed her.” That’s not an impression I want to leave behind. I picked at the salad, wishing I had ordered the pasta instead. Oh well! We were talking so much there wasn’t really time to eat anyway.
We had another round of drinks and finished up dinner. I didn’t want the date to end yet, so when Levi asked if I wanted dessert, I said of course. Plus I was still hungry from not eating the Kraken salad. So we had dessert and coffee and just kept talking, staring into each other’s eyes, smiling. I was very excited about this human I had met.
After dinner, for which he paid and I thanked him graciously, he walked me to my car. He held my hand as we walked to the car and I just about melted. I really liked this guy. I couldn’t wait to see him again. Levi kissed me good night and watched me get into my car and drive away. He waved at me from the curb and I just about melted again. OMG smitten.
I got home and told my roommate all about this amazing date. She was excited for me and I was thrilled when I got the “I had a great time tonight” text a little while later. All signs were pointing to MARRIAGE! Just kidding, I’m not that crazy. But I did worry quite prematurely about moving in with Levi and abandoning my roommate. Yes it’s ridiculous, and yes we’ve all done it.
The next day, I waited to hear from Levi. I did not. Or the next day, or the next.
I had remembered hearing movie and TV characters discuss a three-day rule when talking about when to call a date, and I figured that must be what Levi was doing. You know, because the movies are so much like real life. He was being patient, coy, and not smothering me. Although, I would have been okay with the smothering in this case.
On the fourth day, I texted him. I was so nervous, my hands were sweating and shaking and I typed the message out forty different ways. I had my roommate read it and confirm that it was flirty enough but not too much. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for his response. Finally, it came. Levi told me he was going out of town for work for two weeks, but that he wanted to see me when he got back. Awww. Well, that’s good though, right?
I know what you’re all thinking; Going out of town for two weeks? That’s a text that gives him time to not see you and allow for your feelings to hopefully blow over. Right? Isn’t that the move? Well I did not know that yet! When he told me that he was out of town but wanted to see me, I believed him. It was going to be a long two weeks, but at least there would be Levi at the end of it.
I didn’t know if that meant I should wait for two weeks to text him, or if he would text me, or if we would stay in touch with phone calls, or any of that. Of course we hadn’t laid out a plan so I just waited a few days to see what he did.
He did nothing. No calls. No texts. This was before Instagram so I couldn’t stalk him on there. I was beginning to lose faith. But I didn’t want to be one of those girls who complains about the man not being proactive but then is never proactive herself, so I texted him. Nothing crazy, just a casual “Hi Levi, hope your work week is going well” or something generically boring and insecure like that.
Well, he did say he was working. And traveling. I’m sure he’ll get back to me when he’s not swamped.
A day went by. Still no response.
It’s amazing the things your brain will tell you when it’s trying to justify unexplained behaviors. When we are trying to alleviate the cognitive dissonance between:
“I just had the best date of my life!” Vs. “He never wants to see me again…”
Our brains will stir up some shit.
Now, I’m an intelligent human being and I’m fully aware that not every person that I like is going to reciprocate my affections. But everything that had happened on our date had reinforced my feelings, and given me assurance that he did, in fact, feel the same way about me. Which is why this ghosting was so particularly baffling to me.
I have been ghosted since, and I am fully aware of it when it happens now. Unfortunately it’s become a very regular, even accepted, part of our dating rules of engagement, so I recognize it now. But again, this was the first time it had happened to me. I was new to online dating, and Levi had held my hand and kissed me good night. My brain was not there yet.
Some of my brain’s attempts to make sense of what was happening included:
Maybe he doesn’t have reception where he is.
Maybe his phone broke.
Oh I’ll check OK Cupid and see if he messaged me there instead! He didn’t.
Maybe I have the wrong number? No, he did send me the one text…
He’s probably sick and just can’t even deal with communication right now.
Maybe he’s in the hospital?
He definitely broke his thumbs.
Did he get into a car accident? Plane crash?
IS HE DEAD???
*Googles “Levi Los Angeles death” to check for obituaries without knowing his last name.
Sadly, the thought “He’s just not that into you” didn’t cross my mind for a full two weeks. It wasn’t until the date of his supposed return home that I finally let it hit me. He still hadn’t reached out, and he was definitely back in town (if he had ever really left town at all.) I sent one final text, welcoming him home with a casual hello, (I’m going fucking crazy over here being the casual subtext) and received – you guessed it – no response.
So that was it. I had to face the fact that Levi had, in fact, died a tragic and untimely death. And I was being haunted by his ghost.
Why, what did you guys think I meant?