Here’s a fact about me: I hate ghost stories. I hate being scared. I don’t like horror movies and you’ll never find me playing with a Ouija board in a cemetery at night. To be blunt: I’m not the biggest fan of ghosts.
Well. I saw one tonight. We’ll call this ghost B.S. because those are legit his initials and, well, you’ll see.
B.S. and I met on Tinder when I first moved back to the US from Scotland. I was just getting settled into my work as a vet and feeling like I could brave the dating scene, especially since I was actively house hunting so I could soften the, “I live with my mom” blow by qualifying it with, “but I just put an offer down on a house, so fingers crossed!” Otherwise, I was a successful doctor with lots of interesting tales of living overseas, and (at the time) I only had one cat.
Our date was certainly one of my better first dates. We talked for hours and closed down the pub. I left feeling like we already had inside jokes and one of those *real* connections with so much chemistry. I was so, so, so excited. We’d exchanged numbers as it felt like both of us were keen to get off Tinder. I drove home that night looking forward to our next date with more fast paced witty conversation and good humored banter (he poked fun at me for being in the Coast Guard/not part of the real military and I informed him that his entire job was one of eight collateral duties I held simultaneously as an O-2). We laughed, we connected, we talked about future plans….
And that was The End of that fairy tale. Bet you didn’t see that coming. Yeah, well, me neither (at the time). I drove home, never to hear another word from B.S.
I wasn’t expecting much, just a “had a good time, let’s do it again sometime” or even a “hope you got home safe and sound” text from this dude.
I awoke in the morning and checked my phone as soon as my eyes opened. Nothing.
I waited a few hours. Nada.
I made allowances for working in busy Command Centers/SCIFs without access to your phone (even though I knew this dude was not important enough for the Army to grant him a security clearance and he probably did have his phone on hand and fully charged). Lunch time and the end of a standard military work day came and went without so much of a whisper.
I decided (after consulting the Tribal Council of Single Females) to send him a text. Why not. What did I have to lose, a little dignity? And what did I have to gain – a Happily Ever After with B.S.! I crafted the text with the skill of a true writer and empath. Each word fit perfectly together to be breezy and light while still showing genuine interest. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but the take away message from it was that I had a good time and would like to see him again.
I gave him three days to reply before blocking and deleting him. You know, just in case he got deployed on a super secret 48 hour mission and hadn’t gotten my message in time. Radio Silence. He couldn’t even be bothered to waste three seconds of his time with a kindly worded note of rejection.
Here’s a fact I’m not super proud of: I gleaned a lot of information about this guy and then I pieced together the last 10ish years of his life between basic Google and Facebook searches. Finding his profile was a joke and his privacy settings were pathetic. Through our conversation, I had his full name, hometown, and phone number. I knew his place of employment, current address, and parent’s names (1. I told you we talked a lot and 2. He has absolutely no OPSEC filter).
In my search, I found Mrs. S, still back home in the midwest. And it wasn’t his mom. In everything he told me, he never once mentioned a past/present Mrs. S. I told myself a story that made me feel better about it all – poor Mrs. S at home with his kid and here’s B.S. in like a wrecking ball all over the Colorado Springs dating scene, probably TDY. Ugh. Army dudes.
And then, I let it all go. I went on more dates with more guys, I desensitized (to an extent) to the ghosting. I realized it is a very real part of the dating scene now and not just internet meme legend. Older, wiser, with just a few pounds of excess emotional baggage. I didn’t think of B.S. again.
That is, until I found myself staring directly at him and a very standard-issue looking blonde at Trivia Night tonight.
I had some feelings when I saw him:
I felt like I should have done my hair and makeup before leaving my house. I felt like maybe I should have put on a cute outfit instead of going out in a fleece and yoga pants because I was just hanging out with the girls and 007-b couldn’t make it, so I didn’t really feel like putting on anything special. I guess I wanted to show him what he was missing out on?
I felt like I needed to be reassured three times that I was just as pretty/prettier than the blonde. Which my friends were all very happy to do (all three times).
Ugh. Seriously why though.
As I finished my beer, I felt like going up and saying:
“Hi B.S.! Fancy meeting you here! How ARE you! And is this Mrs. S!? What an absolute pleasure to meet you. You look soooo different than your wedding photos on Facebook! But you guys have been married what, like 12 years now? It’s just uncanny how much you’ve changed, Mrs. S. Well, you guys have fun on a night out without the kiddos! Ciao!” (FYI – don’t piss off anyone who has any background in Intelligence work)
I’m very happy to report I said nothing. I made enough eye contact to let him know that I knew that he knew as we clearly both recognized each other. But ultimately, I decided to take comfort in knowing that I had upgraded and I sent a few appreciative texts to 007-b between rounds. I certainly didn’t have any feelings for B.S. and certainly wasn’t missing out on anything. That’s the thing about ghosts – they aren’t real.
PS – 007-b, if you’re reading this, thanks for keeping it real. And you better never ghost me. I expect to be dumped the old fashioned way, with a text message.