An Open Letter To The Girl I Never Called Back

by Marcus Halberstram

We met at a W pool party, on Tinder, in line at Whole Foods, wherever. Meeting you was a precarious adrenaline rush (depending on my blood alcohol content).

You were cute, you laughed at the stupid sh*t I said and pretended not to notice that underneath my façade of confidence was a fella shuddering with the fear of rejection, knowing that I was constantly being judged on whether I was “cute, funny or rich” enough.

Men… we’re evolutionary hunters, some better than others, so we press on with determination, a propensity most of us process, disregarding your imperfections while we show off our peacock feathers in an attempt to garner your phone number, Instagram or whatever kids share nowadays to communicate.

And so it begins with the number exchange. I set out on a perilous, but all-important venture (we call courting), a daring, one-man expedition against fearful odds of saying the right things at the right time, making you laugh, picking the right places for dinner, paying for every overpriced meal, walking on the proper side of the sidewalk among other things and ultimately not showing too much interest (or else it’s game over).

It’s a tedious plank to walk, and with one wrong step, I’m overboard and you’re on to the next guy who knows how to play hard-to-get better than I did.

Ultimately my pursuit for your affection leads us through the labyrinth of mind games (we’re both guilty of) to the gates of your true emotions and affection.

I see things clearly now. I’m no longer chasing you anymore, you like me and I know it. I’m no longer nervous and my confidence has a backbone. Over time, I finally get to know the real you, you see the real me.

Eventually your attention becomes exponentially superfluous, and I begin to feel overwhelmed. I secretly wonder, “How did I end up in this situation, it’s like I've got a girlfriend or something...” God forbid I ever use the “G” word around you, as it would lead you further down the pseudo-exclusive rabbit-hole I inadvertently dug myself into.

If I didn’t make it official early on, the rest of this story will take a few tangential paths, but ultimately ending in you being hurt. Some exit strategies involve just fading away, which I find better suited to avoid emotionally-driven reactions.

Other guys opt for the tactic akin to ripping off a bandaid, quick and to the point. Some may use the same strategy, but at least provide her with some reasoning behind it (which usually ends with one last round in the sack or a slap to the face, or both).

And there you have it, no more calls, no more texts, we've been right swiping other girls for weeks before we pulled this metaphorical trigger or rejection.

But why the hell would we do such a thing? We worked so hard impress you, charm you -- but for what? And how could we just forget all the time we spent together? Well, it could be one of many reasons.

Maybe you were vapid, maybe you were too demanding, maybe you tried to change us -- who knows? Or maybe the overly confident, funny and rich ones full of depravity have too many options and you’re competing with a harem of other ladies.

Long story short, when men are done, we’re done. We’re a lot more capable of being dissociative than women are during the end days of a relationship and it frustrates the hell out of you gals.

We know it, #sorrynotsorry. We evolved this way. You on the other hand are more affected by your instinctual need to be attached to someone (even if he’s toxic for you). It's in your biology and why women are the gender privileged to be mothers.

So, ultimately, you should remind yourself that he was overly confident, or only “funny” and “good looking” enough and you didn't even really like him that much to begin with.

You thought you’d give him a chance reluctantly… right? (You tell yourself to justify being denied). But whether or not he met your high standards at the beginning or later on in the relationship, you need to detach and let go of him immediately.

Wallowing in an emotional pool of confusion and self-pity will only distract you from the guy who really wants to be with you.

You know him, the innocuous “nice guy,” the one who doesn't play games, the one who is man enough to wear his feelings for you on his sleeve. He dotes on you!

This guy won’t have a chance though as you’re hurting over some toxic asshat from before who somehow played with your emotions just right.

By denying Mr. Nice Guy, you inadvertently condition him to approach dating differently in the future. No longer transparent, he’ll learn to play the game, hide his feelings accordingly, say what you want to hear and emit a façade of confidence at first, but will always be reluctant to show sincerity regarding his true intentions (assuming he knows his intentions at all).

He’s evolved into “Nice Guy 2.0.” And one day you’ll meet this “Nice Guy 2.0,” an intrepid man who will say the right things at the right time, and charm his way into your heart.

But ultimately, for various reasons, this ephemeral relationship completes its cycle when he suddenly falls off the face of the earth and stops calling if that’s the exit strategy he pursues.

The cycle of inevitable endings begins again, further fraying away at the fairy tale of this institution we call dating. It’s no-one’s fault, but everyone’s fault that “dating” is a dystopia. And it’ll only get worse before it gets better. Happy Tindering.

Photo via Alessandro Cristallo/ 500px