Well, Well, Well, Fancy Being Socially Distant From You Here

When ghosting comes back to haunt the mediocre men of modern dating.

Photo by Barrett Baker on Unsplash

I want you to imagine me in my finery. A sweeping robe of lace, silk pajamas, Persian cat napping nearby. I sit atop a vintage rattan throne, floral cushions all around and palm-frond wallpaper adorning the space. I wear glasses I do not need. My skin glowing, hair piled on my head in a professorial bun, half-inch nails filed to a point. They rap on the arm of the chair, deliberately…unyielding. Welcome, boys, to your reckoning. Tea?

There is a part of me, perhaps a large part, that wants to write one paragraph of this, publish it, and then not finish it until six months from now when I get around to thinking about you again. But revenge never feels as good as living your own life to the fullest, giving not a shit about those who wronged you. So I’ll write this in its entirety now, not for you, but those who deserved more than you bothered to lift a literal finger to give them. I write this for the women you ghosted, the women you ignored, the women you strung along, the women you used. I write this for us, as you sit at home in social distance with nothing in your cupboards but stale Honey Nut Cheerios and an almost-empty bottle of mid-range hooch.

I knew there’d be a time when it came back to you. Granted, I didn’t think it’d be a global pandemic and I wish the Universe had taken maybe less drastic measures, but here we are, here you are, popping back into the lives of women you didn’t value when you had the chance. They were, in reality, valuable then, you just didn’t have the decency, maturity, or fucking foresight to see it. So you went about your consequence-less behavior, thinking you’d never have to answer for your crimes. Your current loneliness, fear, and frankly ill-timed need for nurturing are your consequences, and all of us ignoring your bullshit texts are the answers we’ve been waiting to not give you for quite awhile.

The outstanding work of Violet Clair.

I’m speaking of course about the swift evolution of the “you up?” text into the “you quarantined?” nudge. These messages are currently being sent out to varsity squad women all across the world by freshman-level men from their pasts. By men who weren’t shit—who chose not to be. Men who wronged them by ignoring their existence or worth and who now have the audacity to expect them to share beds and rations. These men thought there was nothing wrong with ignoring a girl forever after a two months of hanging out, leaving her wondering what the hell she did to incur such treatment, and still somehow have the nerve, or perhaps the ignorance to think that during a crisis they deserve the time of day. If you need us now, you should have behaved like human beings back then.

Shared via my podcast’s Facebook group.

Not so many “options” out there for you now, huh? It’s hard to find someone to get to know enough to quarantine with by only using your thumbs, isn’t it Brad? And you, being the resourceful little pile of pond algae you are, have begun dipping back into the archives, hoping to find someone in there willing to keep you company, to take care of you, have sex with you, and make you feel less alone during one of the worst crises our generation or our parents’ generation can remember. Good. Fucking. Luck. You burned the bridge and now you’re worried you’ll have to swim across the rapids alone. Paddle paddle, sweetie, and don’t forget to smile.

An email received by a member of my Facebook group. She dated this man ten years ago.

I hope the first texts you receive back, if you receive the courtesy of any responses at all, say “who is this?” because she had the self worth and lack of bullshit tolerance to delete your number the first time you texted her back with one word. Or, “sorry, I didn’t see this text.” Or, “sorry, work’s been busy.” Or, “hey, I’ve been out of town, hang next week?” Or, “what’s up?” eight months after ignoring her last text completely but still viewing every single one of her Instagram stories. I hope what you have to say back to her is something along the lines of, “Hey, this is Brad, we dated for a month last summer and after the last time we had sex I told you I’d invite you to bowling with all my friends and instead I never spoke to you again and ignored all your texts to make sure I hadn’t died? You know, Brad!”

Graciously shared by a member of my Facebook group who, we can all agree, is a goddamn hero.

I see you. I see what you’re trying to pull. And I am loud. I am very loud. I am not afraid of you, I am not afraid of what happens when you Google my name. I am my generation of single women’s Batman and you are being DROPPED on the steps of Gotham City Hall. Don’t you dare. If you didn’t treat a woman with the respect and care she deserved in health, don’t you dare come knocking on her iPhone in sickness. She is unavailable right now, and forever, and that is entirely your fault.

And you know what, it is good in here. We’re well-stocked in here. We’re cooking, baking, listening to music, taking baths, FaceTime-ing friends, and taking good care of ourselves. If you feel like you’re missing out on a more comfortable, nurturing, loving version of social distancing, you’re right. You could’ve had a real partner, real support during difficult and uncertain times, but instead you chose to ghost, ignore, and throw away women like we weren’t good for anything other than entertaining you. You can go wipe your ass with that temporary entertainment you liked so much, Brad, because you can’t have any of my toilet paper.

We always deserved more than the bare minimum you served us. I do work, lots of work, to demonstrate how much more we’re worth than the scraps the online dating world deems “the way we date now.” We have more value than swipe functionality tells us we do. We live in a world where men literally ask strangers on dating apps for actual blow jobs, like it’s their right. Like they’re fucking online shopping. Like there’s nothing rude or insulting or demeaning about that level of entitlement. How did we get so far gone, so far into the brazen behavior of men in modern dating that they don’t think women are worth any manners or respect at all?

We’ve become nothing more than something to temporarily entertain them, via whatever means of entertainment they crave in the moment. A pen pal. A fuck buddy. A faux girlfriend to try on for two weeks to see how it feels. You know what? Fuck it, take us all Corona, we need to reset.

It’s not all bad news for you, Brad. This situation is nothing if not a chance to learn, and a chance to be better. Dare I said this could spark a dating app renaissance? You have the opportunity to connect with the women in your apps and find genuine, creative ways to get to know them, to converse with them, and to demonstrate your worthiness of their time once the veil of isolation is lifted. This is a slow time, a patient time, and the women of the world will not forget the men who rode it out the right way.

Take it back, way back, to the days of slow dating. To the days of dating at all. When you had to…you know, do something in order to earn the time of a woman. Write to her. FaceTime her. Connect without the physical element for once in your dumbass, dick-led life. View women as women, rather than as single-use plastics. I mean really it’s the very least you can do. Beyond that, it’s really the only option available to you when you think about it. We’re in isolation, alone with our thoughts and pets. I think we can all take some time to think about the ways we want to connect and come together in this world once that’s an option again. I hope you decide you want to be better. Show me you can be better, Brad. Surprise me.

But hear this: If you are lucky enough to connect with a Covid Queen during these trying times, if you are blessed with her attention, you’d better be worthy of it long after we come out to play. If I hear of one, just one of you sleeping with and then casting aside a woman you Corona-Courted I will tell the Universe. I will rat you out so goddamned fast. And, as I think is being made abundantly clear to us right now, there are consequences for our actions. And, on my watch, most certainly for yours.

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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