One of the things that bothers me most about the current dating environment is incivility. Actually, it’s cowardice dressed up in rude clothing. You’re talking to some dude, you’ve been out on a couple of dates, you make plans for dinner and then…nothing. He doesn’t show up or text or call. Ever again.  Bizarre, right? But not uncommon these days

A friend told me this story about her experience in the uncivil wilds of dating: She was dating this guy for a couple of months and one night her car was stolen. Her BF brought over a bike for her to use and left her house, saying “I’ll see you tonight” because they had plans for dinner at his mother’s house. And then poof, she never saw him again. He just disappeared without a word edgewise. He did manage to text her three weeks later to ask “can I get my bike back”?

Dude, this is why tires get slashed.

My friend told me the above horror story about her Magician when I was angrily recounting my own story. I was livid about a FB argument with the Ex-Mayor (yes, I am in my mid-thirties). Not only did he tone police me (I don’t like your tone so I’m going to discount everything that you said), but then he blocked me on FB after a conversation that he initiated. Um..recipe for disaster. My brain did something that looked like this alkdjaowohshzt!!!#)(*R)&82y8595i and I had to physically leave my computer so as not to write him a very public Dear Jon letter.  My friend didn’t think that public shaming was a good idea. She advocated letting it go. Goodbye and good riddance.

Here’s the thing: it’s not like your heart is broken about these dudes or anything — you just can’t figure out why they couldn’t bother to call or text. Did he die suddenly? break his thumbs? catch amnesia? What’s so hard about saying this isn’t working?

Except I know the answer to that question. If you say those three words–just like any other bundle of three words — you’re going to receive a response of some sort, and it may not be the response that you want. But, if you perform a magical disappearing act, do you know what happens?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Because we’ve all agreed that part of the game is to show no emotion. Never let the other side see you sweat no matter what.

It’s like there was a decree issued at the most recent gathering of the International Single Girls that you should not respond to incivility. No matter how egregious the trespass or outrageous the behavior.

single girl decrees

Thou shalt not, under any circumstance, dignify uncivil behavior with a response. Thou shalt turn the other cheek and make for the nearest High Road forthwith.

Guy didn’t bother showing up for a date? Boyfriend just stopped texting you one day? Turn the other cheek. Take the high Road!

The whole point of the High Road argument is to save face. You don’t want him to think that you liked him or cared enough to respond. I won’t even dignify that with a response. Yeah…let’s stop that. Immediately.

Seriously. Jump off that High Road to nowhere right now.

All it does is reinforce this behavior. The reason that men do this is because it’s easier for them to disappear than to say to your maybe angry/frowny/I-don’t-like-what-you’re-telling-me-face that I don’t want to do this anymore. And the reason why we hesitate to say anything about this behavior is because of a combination of not wanting to come off as the crazy ex-girlfriend or burn bridges.

Get over it. All ex-girlfriends are crazy for one reason or other. It’s man talk for I can’t do the work of figuring out why my relationship didn’t work and calling her crazy is so much easier. And I’m not a fan of burning bridges only because it takes too long. Blow it up. Not everyone needs to stay a part of your life.

So what should you do instead? Easy. Text him or leave him a voicemail. It can be simple and curse-word free. It should say something along the lines of: Hey, I don’t appreciate your rude behavior. I expect phone calls when people aren’t able to make it. I hope someone does not treat your sister/daughter/mother in this manner (always always always remind them of the women in their life).  If you are super dramatic like me then you might yell: BE THE MAN YOUR MOTHER THINKS THAT YOU ARE! more than once in the conversation.  And then wrap it up: goodbye and good riddance. That’s it. Problem addressed. You’ve said what you had to say about it. You can now run into him in public without punching him in the face or screaming.

He will most likely not respond in any way. Cowards never do. And that’s fine. Because even if he deletes your text or voicemail, he still gets that little twinge like ice on your back teeth when he sees it. I imagine it’s the same feeling little kids get when that creepy elf sees them doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. A feeling that will make him hesitate to continue this behavior with the next woman. Thus helping out single girls everywhere!

Of course all of this advice assumes that you are dealing with a normal, immature dude in his thirties. Not a psychopath. If you are dating someone that’s off-kilter — you know, someone who might take you
into the woods– then let it go. Seriously. Sing the whole song if you need to and keep it moving.

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