This is a blog post by Floh member Tania Mehra
The BIG 3-OH!
So I had hit the big 3-Oh! in the clichéd way. I refer here not to the ‘big 30’ party intended to keep us seeped in the 20s or a trip to some exotic location intended to change us forever. Those are trending too, I know. But here I refer to my unattached status. 30 and single and loving it (or on some days faking the ‘loving’ part). Between Facebook diligently letting you know that you were perhaps the last of your School or College batch in the ‘single’ category and with your life long friends sending you videos of their kids saying “blah” and insisting they said “Ma”, it’s hard to be loving the 30 and single life all the time. Compromised versions of the past boyfriends or even those who never became boyfriends look infinitely better than the options available now, including the option of staying single forever.
I have set the above background just to let the reader know I am not crazy on all days and perhaps the following actions will be looked at with a touch of sympathy and understanding.
I had been 30 for three months when I met Raghav. Or rather when he first texted me – the meeting part came later. As I told a friend, I was so glad to finally meet a guy who texts things like ‘Let’s discuss where I am taking you for our first date’. After a legion of ‘I don’t know – you decide’ or ‘Let’s meet at a mall’, his text was very appealing indeed.
The First Date
The first date happened and ticked all the mental check-boxes. When Raghav asked me for a second date – I instantly said yes. – even though it was a Monday, even though the first date was only a day old. Then after two days of the most flirtatious texting, the texts stopped. No text for a whole day.
Not A Text In Sight!
By the end of the ‘no text day’, I knew he had done the famous disappearing act. I mean obviously. Had he pulled it on an uninformed never-read-Cosmo girl, she would not have known. But me? I knew all about it – had known since forever. Even if Cosmo wasn’t a part of your reading routine in the early twenties, I am sure Google took care of the lack of knowledge here. Just type “Boy” + “Disappearing Act” and you’ll know how to identify it.
Self Preservation Mode!
My mind immediately jumped to the self preservation mode :
Step One : Google “disappearing act” to make sure the situation fits.
Step Two : Unfriend on Facebook to let him know that you know.
Step Three: Wait by the phone to see if he was maybe just busy and you overreacted.
Step Four : Self doubt. I am too fat and who was I kidding , I am old by all standards. And too outspoken – it was probably something I said.
Step Five : Google “What Not To Say To A Guy”.
While Step Five was in progress, my mind was filled with Step Four thoughts, each more negative than the last. The more I turned to Agony Aunt Google, the more it confirmed that a whole day of no text meant a disappearing act, plus I had done at least three of the “Do Nots” for a first date (Oh yes, the ‘what not to say’ search had progressed to ‘what not to do on a date’ search by now).
As the evening turned to night the constant checking of Whatsapp had turned to constant staring at the Whatsapp screen to catch him online.
Then came the final stage : A late night text asking ‘Is this the Disappearing Act ?’ – five words composed in full five minutes with editing and rewriting and discarding to make it sound breezy enough – like I don’t really care, like I am okay if this is a disappearing act, like I haven’t been obsessing about it.
And then waiting for the double tick to turn blue and feeling nothing could be worse than waiting for the tick to turn blue and realising yes there can be – those agonising hours when your message has been read and no reply received.
Finally he texted to say ‘not really’. Then ofcourse more of Google therapy to find out what a guy really means when he says ‘not really’.
Thankfully morning and thankfully the phone light is blinking. Turned out he had been stuck in a full day meeting and by the time he got free it was too late to text more than the two words. He himself had been worried why I had not texted the whole day.
This is where it looks like all was well. Except it wasn’t. Remember the unfriending on Facebook? Well he did not take to that well. At all. And suggested we “take things slow”. And when he made that ambiguous statement, what did I do? Ask him what it means? No, of course not. Like a sucker for punishment, I Googled it.
Time to pull the plug
We lasted another three texting weeks. Then I pulled the plug. Make no mistake, I am sure if I hadn’t , he would have. We both knew it was over.
I am not going to pretend that I understand any of it. No way. Neither am I going to pretend that this was the first time I had asked Google for help. Just that, this once, I really liked the guy, we connected and I could feel this was something different. Until I Googled, we were okay.
This is about turning to Agony Aunt Google instead of trusting the gut feeling. This is also about agonising over something as trivial as not getting a Text Message – and about letting the internet decide what it means. It is also about something else – it is about the Guy Decoders we have been fed with. Every Girls magazine worth its salt is offering to decode Guy Behaviour and we are letting a bunch of recycled magazines decide for us what the person at the other end is thinking. We have let ourselves believe that Guy Behaviour needs to be decoded for us. Like I said I don’t claim to know how it should work – not even close. What I have identified and regret doing is who I turned to for advice. I have a problem with letting clickbaiting Internet Articles/Blogs or circulation oriented magazines decide what a person’s behaviour means – a person who the authors of these articles have never met. I have a problem with letting these generalised articles decide how I am supposed to react or feel. Whatever happened to gut feeling, one on one interaction and some merciful patience?
If you have a similar story to share, we would love to hear about it in the comments!