My! People come and go so quickly here!Dorothy (Judy Garland) observes Glinda’s departure in The Wizard of Oz (1938)
Dearest Rachel –
You’d probably take me to task a bit for conflating Dorothy Gale…
…with Alice Lidell…
…just for the sake of an interesting title and quote to lead this letter off with. You might, at least, let pass the fact that I just ended that last sentence with not one, but two prepositions, however.
But the thing is, people do appear and disappear rapidly, sometimes literally overnight.
Well, not literally disappear. That’s for stage magicians and illusionists. But, as far as I can actually see, that’s the sort of thing that happens on this dating app, and the frequency is greater than you’d ever expect.
Basically, what happens is that someone who’s basically just testing the waters – I assume it’s on some kind of ‘free trial’ basis, where they only get a limited amount of time and profile options – contacts me, we strike up a conversation, and then… nothing. The profile disappears, the conversation disappears; and you find yourself wondering if that actually even happened.
There’s certainly a reaction along the lines of, ‘well, there’s an hour of my life I’m not going to get back.’ Which seems a bit harsh, as it’s not like many personal, face-to-face interactions go recorded, so why should something like this, where the two of you don’t even meet, be anything worth hanging on to? And yet, I find myself irritated by the fact that there is nothing left of this (essentially fruitless) conversation – not even an indication that it happened. When a registered member drops out, at least there’s an indication that she existed, albeit nothing else…
…whereas the ‘trial basis’ visitors completely disappear. After the first time it happened barely a week ago, I started taking screenshots (which is trickier when I’m at home, as I’m as likely to be using one of your old computers – how ironic is that, honey? – which still runs on Windows 7 and doesn’t have the fancy cut-and-paste tools the ‘office’ setup does, to say nothing of the ability to black out members names) of profiles and conversations. At least, when they’re still listed as ‘Mingler’ (and by now, you’ve probably figured out which site I’ve been using, even though I’m still not going to explicitly drop their name. If other readers figure it out, they can feel free to draw their own conclusions about life on this site), I’m not divulging much in terms of identity.
I should mention that in most of these cases, I don’t speak until I’m spoken to. I’m sure there’s a little bit of ‘you have not because you ask not,’ but I’m more concerned about being the aggressive one in any potential relationship. I’ve already damaged a friendship because of that perception (although as far as that goes, it’s along the lines of a scrape you’d get from a shopping cart as opposed to T-boning a car at 60 per); I’m not about to overplay my hand, even if those out here actually would invite the attention.
So, when I received a text with a photograph, I responded.
Unfortunately, while she did give me a name, I didn’t screenshot that, or any more of the conversation, as it didn’t occur to me that it was about to disappear. I honestly thought things were going well, too… but, evidently not. Or, maybe, she just ran out of free time. I’ll never know.
That’s how these things seem to go, with little understanding as to the how and why on my part.
Now, you might ask, well, what about Naruko? Shouldn’t you be focusing on her, as things seem fairly promising and all that? Well, you have to bear in mind, this was during the last part of the week, when she had suddenly gone silent as well. It may be a lack of faith on my part, but what do I have to prove that she isn’t ghosting me, too, at this point? Best to look for other possibilities for the time being. Besides, it’s not even as if things have gotten as far as a face-to-face meeting (although, if she is to be believed, there’s a very good reason for that).
Anyway, on to the next suitor, and this was curiouser that the others.
Literally over the course of an hour of off-and-on conversation, she simply… vanished. One moment, I was texting her on the app using my phone, the next, I got a notification on my computer that showed her profile no longer existed. I had to take the screenshots from my phone, just to prove it had happened (and yes, I had to look up how to take a screenshot with my phone, although it turns out, the standard instructions don’t work on my model. I figured it out, regardless).
It makes me think I said the wrong thing – did it hurt to be reminded of her loss? – or maybe she hadn’t remembered what ‘she’ put down on ‘her’ profile. Who knows? It’s just a little strange, wandering around in this unfamiliar landscape by yourself, with no idea what you might be up against.
But if I wasn’t by myself, I wouldn’t need to bother with this place, now, would I?
A few months ago when I met Jeff for dinner, he told me about his experiences in online dating (he and Julie met on this very site), but he warned me to ‘be prepared to be rejected by a hundred women’ before finding anyone. I don’t know if rejected is the right word, however. It would be one thing to be told outright, “I don’t think you and I are right for each other,” and to be honest, I would be fine with that. There are a lot of possibilities out here, and no mistake; neither of us wants to be wasting our time with someone who is less than right for us.
But it isn’t like that; you just strike up a conversation, and it tails off, never to be completed, because the person you’re speaking to is no longer there. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get used to this. I hope that I don’t have to.
Love and miss you, honey. As always, wish me luck. I’m going to need it.