Dating advice from strangers
People who don't know you are a terrible source.
Sometime back I joined an online group for olds trying to date. I thought it would be helpful to see what other people were going through. I have tried to adopt the idea that I’m not all that special. Loads of late-middle-aged women are divorced, trying to find a guy, don’t have the patience for a lot of bullshit, make stupid dating mistakes, you know. Loads of late-middle-aged dudes are out there making a mess of it and reading their anonymous perspectives is eye-opening.
I lurked in the group for a long time. I posted once when I was feeling conflicted about dating that one guy; I just wanted to scream into the void. I process things well in writing and sometimes, getting a reaction to an idea helps me refine my thinking.
Big in Japan had been quite keen, checking in on the regular, and every now and then we’d have a real conversation. He tried to call me, too, but there were tech issues. I like that he tried to call, he was leveling up.
Then he went dark.
I was sad. I floated the whole scenario with the online group. There were a handful of themes.
This dude is scamming you. Don’t give him money or buy him electronics. He’s a 22-year-old from Croatia. Block him.
I’m not sure what the scam is given that he’s asked me for exactly nothing more than my attention. Also, he checks out, I did the homework. If he’s not who he says he is, this is the most elaborate fake backstory building I’ve ever seen. But okay, I will not ship him a new iPhone.
You don’t have a connection of any kind until you meet in person.
As a person who is Very Online, I don’t accept this. If you’re reading this, it’s possible we have never met in person, or we were friends online for a long time before we met in person. If you’ve never experienced that kind of connection, you might not believe it’s real. I do, in fact, know the difference between an online connection that is completely shallow and one-way vs. one that feels like a friendship. My life is full of beautiful connections with people I haven’t met.
If he wanted to communicate with you, he would.
I talked with a friend in a similar job to Big in Japan. “OMG, the days are insane. Sometimes I don’t even have my phone on me, I’m not allowed. When it’s over, all you want to do is take a shower and go to bed. You don’t want to talk to anyone. The fact that he’s been in touch at all is huge.” I’ve also lived overseas and dealt with janky internet, time zones, the whole deal. Yeah, you can make it a priority. But it’s not always easy to do so.
You’re an idiot, block him and move on.
People weren’t so direct but that was basically what they said. I had got my hopes up, sure. Big in Japan is good-looking and interesting and seemed interested in me. If you don’t go in hoping for something, what kind of vibe are you putting out there? People will say “Don’t get your hopes up,” but how is that helpful? I can’t go out into the world acting like every obstacle is a dead end. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, no?
All of this was so unhelpful, as was everything else I read online. I am, as you all know, a realist at heart. I’m bad at following rules. While I do believe in pattern recognition, I don’t believe one size fits all.
I decided to break the dating rules and message Big in Japan. I told him he didn’t seem like the ghosting type, therefore I could only assume he’d been kidnapped by separatists, shot into space, or signed on with a submarine corp.
I figured if he was legit ghosting me, he would not reply.
Several hours later I got a message. “I’m so sorry, work has been nonstop. I will get back to you.”
People who know me have told me to chill, to just let it unfold. They’re all, “You know what? I like this for you. He’s going to think you’re great. He’s probably used to starfuckers who want things from him, and you’re so direct, I bet it’s disarming. He probably doesn’t know what to make of you. That’s good. Plus, if you’re connecting via text, you have him at a complete disadvantage, you’re in the power seat. Calm down.”
If everything goes according to schedule, Big in Japan is supposed to be back in time for Thanksgiving.