So here’s the thing about me.
I am not unique.
I have been ghosted plenty a time…most occurrences having been of the post-coital variety. Nothing like a post-coital ghost to spook the self-esteem outta ya.
I’m…just being honest (in “HEY YA” Outkast cadence).
Not that anyone truly needs a definition for ghosting, but just to make sure we all know what we’re talking about here, as defined by my bae Merriam:
“Ghosting: the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.”
This definition is quite similar to that on Urban Dictionary, everyone’s go-to resource for woke, millennial colloquia. When the Dictionary-Dictionary and the Urban Dictionary are on the same page about a cultural phenomenon – in the worst sense – you know shit is real.
Upon searching for the definition of ghosting, other terms for similar fuckboy – ehemm, excuse me, fuckpeople – behaviors were brought to my attention.
There are levels to this shit, son, including:
- Breadcrumbing: “In online dating, sending messages which suggest that you’re still interested in someone, when in fact you’re very unlikely to want to meet or have a relationship with them” – Macmillan Dictionary
- Orbiting: “The digital observation of a prospective or former romantic partner.” – Macmillan Dictionary
- Curving: “When someone responds to texts infrequently and with only the vaguest interest. When it comes to making plans, the curver is noncommittal.” – Swipe Life
Mom, if you’re reading (fingers-crossed you are not) this is precisely why I have an empty, single uterus.
I will collectively refer to these behaviors as cocking out, a term inspired by a quote from Margo, my fave character on The Magicians (a truly frickin delightful show, go watch it on Netflix, sponsor me Netflix). She says,
“You are not gonna cock out on me…
I’d say pussy, but let’s be honest, which one is tougher?”
After plummeting into the webosphere, I have come to realize that I, at some point or another, have been guilty of all of these behaviors.
I just need to call that shit out up top.
I mean, of course I’ve cocked out. I’ve always had penis envy.
Sooo, yeah. I have probably hurt some people.
I was an ass hole most of my twenties, and literally thought if I slept with you, you were my boyfriend.
I had never ever said it out loud (to my knowledge, unless it was in a blackout, which happened just about every time I consumed alcohol between ages 15 and 28, which is a whole other ish we’ll dish on a later date), but subconsciously that was my actual thought process.
I had below sea level standards and expectations atop Everest. A real rational gal she was.
During these times, however, even though I did genuinely believe that my v was a dowry, it wasn’t so much that I wanted [insert mistake’s name here] to actually be my husband. I just wanted a heated blanket.
And, of course, validation (more on that when I write my post on Daddy Issues…that’s where personality comes from).
Desperation was my name, validation was my game.
I was lonely and, furthermore, could not stand to be alone with me. I was (well, still am) exhausting. I had problems, the biggest of which was spelled “I”.
The worst part is that many a time, upon getting rejected, I would manipulate my way into getting them to stick around, only to cock out on them after they took my bait! I thought I was being crafty. Re-writing the narrative. Being an artiste, if you will, when in reality I was being uh…INSANE.
Being deluded and ill-equipped to unpack my shit, I’d tear through town in a coat of armor made of self-loathing-sabotage and pity all from concentrate.
Giving you a beat to make sure you distributed “self” to sabotage and pity.
What’s the expression? Oh, right, it’s: “You can’t pour from an empty handle of Jameson.”
You see, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know, which makes me completely unaccountable for ever being a dick. 🙂
JK, no it doesn’t!
I’m like rly sry! So before I get to shittalk men, I had to level the playing field.
Moving on to the section where people are dicks to me. #SelfPityIsMyShit
Disclaimer: If you’re a dude with whom I’ve had any involvement with ever at all, you is fair game for content. You’ve been warned.
Let me relate my most recent cocking out experience to you.
It all went down in the DM.
The Facebook DM, but the DM nonetheless.
I posted, what would be considered by misogynistic, judgmental, mind-your-own-God-damn-business men, a thirst trap picture of myself to my Instagram story (which gets shared to my FB story hence it going down in the FB DM ::wipes brow from how exhausting explaining this is::).
Isn’t it crazy that 20 years ago none of these terms existed and they’re like, totes like, half of our vocab in 2020?
Just needed to point that out….
Maybe I was in an emotionally fragile disposition, and was seeking some validation via flaunting my (hard-earned, for the record) bikini-bod on the social med. Can’t a girl get a hit of dopamine without being scrutinized by the phallus that be?
Wait…can we hold real quick on “phallus that be“? Do you see what I did there? Like. Powers that be. Only I replaced it with phallus…as in a metaphor for the patriarchy?
I am a God damn goddess-touched genius.
There, I just gave myself some dopamine. GAVE IT TO MYSELF!
Basically I just made my own brain come.
…is what I did. Eventually. Long after the end of the story which I’ve been too high on my own self-produced dopamine to focus on getting to.
::Sips bedside coffee::
So a blast-from-the-past of a friend slid in the DM. A very good-looking blast from the past. I will give him that.
I shall call him BFP.
BFP is someone with whom I’ve been acquainted for about 13 years if my arithmetic serves me correctly, but it had probably been a decade since our last real-life encounter. I’d gone to his house parties, apparently hung out with him individually, and we apparently made out during said one-on-ones all those years ago, which I have no recollection of, but am taking his word for it.
Plus, it sounds like me.
It’s just that a few years of my early adult life have seemed to left my brain. Maybe it was the partying, maybe it was the PTSD, but I’m pretty sure Will and Tommy Men-In-Blacked me.
We fast-forward to present day: BFP and I initially engaged in a light catch-up sprinkled with reciprocated dashes of flattery, mostly of the physical variety, but nothing risque. It was truly tame dialogue, even for me.
This extended into the following couple of days, whence we arrived at a mutual interest to “get up.” Still my favorite expression for “hang out,” in case you needed a translation.
We were both down to get up.
The company was great, burrito bowls were had (sponsor me, Chipotle), and he took me to heaven.
Well, my version of heaven on earth – the gym, bish – which was actually part of the reason we’d planned to get up in the first place. This is what set the story in motion.
In the midst of the cackles and subtle eyelash flutters, BFP enlightened me on our history of exchanging saliva and – you know what they say – history repeats itself.
And a sista was not mad at it. Not mad. At all.
In fact, she immediately asked aloud, “How do I not remember kissing you?” right after a failed attempt at a sexy hair toss to disguise the fact that I was wiping my mouth from cascading saliva.
That was probably where she first went wrong. Massaging the ego. Should’ve kept that one as an inner monologue moment, A. Therapy has made you soft. You gotta do better at being an ass hole.
Sidenote: Throwing in the occasional third person remark makes me feel like I can narrate more objectively, and also less pathetic.
He keeps me out way past my bedtime, we have a delicious makeout sesh, and asks me to lunch the next day. Boom. That happens. Then, get this, he calls me (gasp), and, too, video calls me consistently, and we talk for hours. For so long that I had to remind his ass I actually have shit to do cuz I’m a busy ass bitch. She learning boundaries and shit in 2020, okay?! Pre-COViD.
Here’s where I damn near lost my shit. BFP picks me up on a Sunday and suggests that we go get…wait for it…mani-pedis. Me and Him. The both of us. I mean, he made the suggestion after examining my nails which I didn’t think anything of in the moment, but in hindsight was probably a lil muhfuckin judgemental. But I did have a huge audition later that week so he was doing me a favor. I was like, haaay universe, I see you! Thanks for the present!
That Sunday would later be known as D-Day because it was the day the D was delivered, and also because SPOILER ALERT, it was the last time I saw him.
So, remember how I told you about all those hours on the phone? Well, during one of those conversations upon discussing various ongoing “commitments” I had, he chimes in “Like me.” LOL. In another conversation, he’d alluded to exclusivity – in hindsight maybe it was more like possession – but either way, he nonchalantly inserted the idea of me not seeing anyone else. I chose to use “insert” to be perverted. Okay, uh, what else. OH! Potential future plans were discussed. Hook and sink. Nothing to get a girl going like a visual of both your names on a Google calendar invite. Not to mention in one of his responses to me via text he said, he didn’t just want to be a meatstick. Well OKAY then, sire.
Then later that week, on the day of the biggest audition of my career thus far, on the night of which I had a comedy show that we’d discussed him potentially attending, I felt a shift. I reached out that day. He responded with well wishes for the audition. The day went on and as much as I already knew he wasn’t gonna come to my show, I was hoping for him to at least let me know. As a performer, inviting someone you’re “talking to” to watch you bear your soul on stage makes you feel pretty vulnerable. At least for this performer. Needless to say, the lack of acknowledgment when we’d literally discussed it the day before told me everything I needed to know.
He got what he wanted and now he’s bailing.
I kept the outreach to a minimum, got a few “I’ll call you laters” that went unfulfilled (see: curving). I was trying to have some empathy, spinning stories about what he could be “going through” that’s preventing him from reaching out like he did before. There were no more calls after that. Only occasional IG likes and eyes on my stories, i.e. orbiting.
I knew that I was encroaching on ghosting terrain.
Now…another thing about me.
I don’t do well with being ghosted.
I confront my ghosts.
I’m a Ghostbuster.
After a week in orbit, I decided to video call (chat? whatevs) him one last time. He answers. Hello-how-are-yous are briefly exchanged. Then he says, “You left your tupperware here, is that why you’re calling?”
Are you kidding me? You living, breathing, ass-cock. My tupperware? Really? Acting like being on the phone with me is so far-fetched. Respectfully, FUCK YOU.
That was what I wanted to say, but what I said instead was “No.”
Because today, I am a woman of grace and dignity…most of the time.
In typical fuckperson fashion, he rushed me off the phone and said he’d call me later, which, SPOILER ALERT he did never.
In typical dumb trick fashion, I genuinely thought again, this time will be different. He’ll call back. He actually said it to my virtual face instead of texting it, which makes it more real. There are levels to this shit, son.
I waited til the next evening, and after unsurprisingly not hearing a peep, decided to text him something along the lines of this:
“Hey. So I’m not gonna wait for another returned call or text that I’m never gonna get. Understanding you may be busy, no one’s too busy for common courtesy. The drastic shift in this interaction since we had sex is for me, in a word, humiliating. And humiliating hurts. I reached out the other day to see if everything was okay with you, and in not hearing back again, I’m leaning into my instinct of this being, well, me being, unfinished business. The sad part about that is that you didn’t even get to experience it at its full potential. I wish you the best. Keep the tupperware, throw it out. For the record, I didn’t want anything from you, I just wanted to go to the gym.”
Okay, fine it was basically exactly that^.
After consulting with one of my soul sisters and getting her opinion on how I handled this situation, she told me, “It sounds like you said what you meant and meant what you said.”
The amazing thing is that during one of our multi-hour long conversations he’d asked me why I love acting so much, and my response was just that. It has taught me to say what I mean and mean what I say.
And herein lies my biggest issue with those who have cocked out on me.
Look, if you just want the draws that is totally fine. Honor that truth. Fulfill that desire. But don’t go around courting women, referring to yourself as a commitment, and expressing your desire to be more than just a stick of meat when in reality that is not the case.
Save your money for Christsake. AND your breath.
It’s manipulative AF, and in this case, it felt so transactional. I ain’t authorize this shit.
And to give you guys context, the lifespan of this encounter was…wait for it…2 weeks!
I know! How pathetic of me to have been butt hurt over an interaction that lasted as long as some of my menses have.
But hear me out.
For one, we’re too grown for this (shameless plug for you to watch my series Two Grown). Cock out behaviors should be reserved for people in their 20s to indulge in to their hearts’ content. The sad truth of the matter is that there’s no age cutoff for being a fuckperson.
For two, this particular situation really got under my skin because this person and I kinda had a little bit of a history. I wasn’t some random chick he’d picked up at a bar. He’s someone I had a thorough FB message history with, and whom (pre-cock out) I guess I would’ve considered a friend off the FB entirely.
For three, I had just had a pretty horrific break up, possibly unbeknownst to him because it never came up and I didn’t feel the need to bring it up. If the shit went on longer then of course I eventually would have. Regardless, I was already vulnerable, and truly, genuinely was not looking to rebound with this guy, nor did I want to jump into a new relationship. We just seemed to click and I was looking at that connection as merely a gift from the universe. Why reject it? What’s wrong with enjoying the company of someone you thought was awesome? So long as there’s mutual respect, why not?
And lastly, this goes for all those who have ever cocked out on me, or on anyone for that matter. What I’ve learned from these sorts of short but intense encounters that cease abruptly is that I’m not necessarily mourning the person who is choosing to walk out of my life. I’m mourning the good, warm, fuzzy, delicious, juicy feeling that they gave me. All roads lead back to dopamine, na’ mean?
When you start talking to someone and they call you and text you all the time, seeing their name pop up on your phone literally releases dopamine in your brain. When your brain is consistently stimulated like that, and then that stimulation suddenly stops, the end result is cold turkey withdrawal. Emphasis on cold. And maybe turkey also because I’m hungry.
So when I recently watched a video on the “proper” response to getting ghosted being to “Just let it go” (okay, Frozen) and when I see quotes like “Rejection is God’s protection” and all the “It’s not about you, it’s about the other person” – cliches we say to someone we love who’s just been cocked out on – despite these statements being absolutely true, I think they’re neglecting a very important part of our reality.
Our humanity. Our sentience. The fact that feelings – a byproduct of aforementioned withdrawal – are a very real thing with very real effects. Not to be dramatic, but having an intimate connection with someone, which, I hate to break it to you non-committals, is a form of a relationship, and then having them walk out of your life is…a death.
It’s the death of that relationship. And what comes with death? Grief. And people process that shit differently.
People tell me all the time how strong I am. But guess what? There’s a yang to that yin and it’s filled with MUSH.
I am sensifrickintive. Probably more than the average. And having so many feelings is often overwhelming.
At the end of the day, getting hurt is a risk we take when opening up to another human being.
This is gonna sound antithetical, but if you want out of a situationship, you really don’t owe anyone an explanation. However, after connecting with someone on an intimate level (not necessarily physically, but certainly emotionally), I do believe at the very least, giving someone a heads up that shit’s about to change is the right thing to do.
Treat others how you want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule. Rip the bandaid, so we don’t keep picking at the wound. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I like how it sounds.
In the words of one of my favorite songs of all time:
“You can tell me to my face, or even on the phone
You can write it in a letter, either way, I have to know”
–All Saints, “Never Ever”
Although these modes of contact are damn near obsolete, yous guys got the idea. It’s also kinda depressing that this is one of my fave songs of all time…
I should add that I recently had a conversation with a male friend of mine who confessed to having ghosted someone. The reason being? She allegedly smelled down there (we don’t have the time to unpack alladat but let’s go with it).
In his case, I told him he could have lied. Said something. Anything. Because in my opinion, a lie that prepares you for the impending dopamine withdrawal is better than the alternative: inevitable, idle curiosity. And way too much chocolate. Please don’t give me diarrhea.
So, if you got anything from this I hope that it’s:
- Say what you mean and mean what you say
- You are entitled to your feelings, and entitled to feeling those feelings
- If you’re 30+ grow a twat and tell a person politely when you’re through with them