An Open Letter To F*ckers Who Don’t Write Back

The Phantom of the App-era.

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Oh just give me the bottle.

Dear shitbird,

I see you. There’s no sinking into the bushes like a Simpson’s meme, I know what you did. You matched with me, whether by simply swiping right on every female face algorithmically served to you like iHop pancakes, or by deciding the physical appearance I presented in my first photo (because scrolling through the rest requires just to much effort and you’re almost done pooping so you’d better hurry up) was up to your standards.

I, similarly, swiped right on you, deciding that after evaluating each and every one of your photos, you were neither lying about your height/martial status/parental status/city of residence nor a guy who does Tough Mudder and still dresses up for 80’s parties.

After we matched (a word about the word “match.” Can we start calling it what it is, and stop dressing it up in a lexicon of potential? Let’s just say we “agreed” instead. We agreed that maybe, potentially, in some alternate universe where people actually begin new relationships and Hillary Clinton is President, that we might enjoy each other’s company), I said hello to you, through some custom (I don’t recycle, you’re getting, and subsequently pissing away, individualized attention), message I thought might hold some kind of relevance for you.

There are two kids of reactions from you swamp molecules after I say hello. The first one is entirely effortless and, though annoying, benign. You simply say nothing. Of course this begs the question WHY THE FUCK DID YOU BOTHER SWIPING RIGHT IF YOU HAD NO INTENTION TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME, but I’m sure you had #reasons.

The second reaction is really special: you unmatch me. [Gasps, clutches pearls.] My heavens, how did my first words to a stranger offend him so that he would rescind the availability of a communication platform? Was it something, the one thing, I said?

I can’t possibly have offended you, I’ve never sent an offensive first message in my life. I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever said a sentence with the intent to offend in my entire life. Believe me, I’d give all the grapes in wine country to have the bravery and ignore the remorse it takes to really say what’s in my head sometimes, but I’m fairly certain “I completely agree, Michael Keaton is the greatest Batman of all time” did not ruffle your fucking feathers.

I’ve decided that instead, what causes these non-responses is simply that I didn’t say the right thing. I didn’t say what you wanted to hear, what would spring you into action, inspire you to put forth the effort it takes to peck out a response on a touch screen. I can imagine that with the volume of messages you receive, I’ve really got to stand out. This one’s on me.

I’ve devised a new first dating app message, I’ve really put my back into this one. I am a writer after all, this is an issue of pride. Let’s try this and see how we do:

Hi, I’m Shani, and commitment-free sex is fine. We don’t need to meet at a bar and get to know each other first, just feel free to respond with your address and I’ll be there just as soon as the G train can get its act together. I earn a good living, but you still make more than me, don’t worry, this is America. I have no desire to marry, have children, or otherwise stop you from feeling 100% free from attachment at all times. Fears include: Horses, tornadoes, earthquakes, other natural disasters that appear without warning, and leaving the house without eyeliner. I enjoy cooking, but if that feels too relationship-y I’m also happy to just leave a sandwich in your fridge before I go. Hobbies include giving blow jobs, always picking the restaurant, and saying very few words out loud at any time. Anyway, how’s your weekend going?

I see you. You living, breathing waste of time. I hope that one day soon you find exactly what you’re looking for, whatever rock or unwashed set of Urban Outfitters sheets she’s hiding under, because the sooner you do, the sooner you’re gone, and the better my odds get of finding what I want, too: manners.

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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