My father and I were ghosted on the same day.
Of course, he didn't call it ghosting. And I didn't even realize it had been on the same day until much later.
But still, it bears repeating: My 68-year old father and his 29-year old son were both ghosted by women on the same day. In the same year. In the same universe.
Both he and I dated these women (who didn't know each other) for nearly three weeks. We'd both been out to dinners, drinks and with friends with them, and had been texting them on a regular basis.
And there were very clear indications in both of our situations that these weren't just casual flings.
In my dad's case, he bought this woman flowers when she was having a particularly bad day at work. But because no flower shop would deliver on such short-notice, he stood outside her office building with the bouquet until one of her coworkers would agree to take his $10 offer to bring them up to her.
She said it was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for her.
As for me, I had several dates with this girl, during which we'd hold hands for almost all of the four hours we spent together. She bought my book and would send me pictures complete with full markings and notations of questions she wanted to ask me.
My father and I both had set plans for our next dates. And these weren't just "Yeah, let's get together" plans — My dad wanted to take this woman to dinner, and I planned to take my girl to an outdoor movie on the pier (girls eat shit like that up. I don't know why).
We texted with our dates about these plans ("The chicken entree there is so good," and "What should we do if it rains?"), and both women responded with answers and "yes" to the plans.
Keep in mind, the last time my dad and I saw these women we had each gotten a hug and a kiss goodbye, followed by a text that night or early the next day.
And then, on the day of our dinner and movie dates, we fired out texts that would go unanswered for several days.
The text my dad eventually received from his date sounded like, as he described to me, "something you'd find on Google after searching for 'generic ways to break up with someone.'"
It started with the always-ominous "You're just a tremendous guy, one of the nicest people I know," followed by the "BUT." Then, it ended on the most generic point: "I don't know what I want in life, and I think we should just be friends."
The text I got was admittedly less complimentary, though just as generic. Phrases like "I've just been thinking," and "we may not be the best fit" were sprinkled throughout.
It had a very copy-and-paste feel to it. Though, I suppose, there's not much else to say.
Now, you might argue that technically we weren't "ghosted" because these women eventually did respond to us.
But the fact remains that we were both dealing with shitty dating games at the exact same time, despite our giant age difference.
And that scared the ever-loving hell out of me.
Why? Well, I always assumed the annoying games of being stood up, waiting a certain amount of time before responding, or turning a girl off because I called instead of texted would simply phase out as I got older.
But it seems like that's not the case.
In this day and age of texting, swiping and, hell, establishing new terms like "ghosting," it's pretty common for people to act like callous assholes, ignore each other and shun commitment.
While I'm sure this didn't begin with the tech revolution, I'm pretty certain it's gotten way worse as a result of it.
And now, everyone has to deal with the same dating shit — whether you're almost 70, like my dad, or 30, like me.
Honestly, realizing this is making the back of my brain nearly explode out of my skull. There's a wave of sadness cloaking over me as I fear I'm doomed to live in this world of perpetual phony emotions and games for the rest of my life.
Just think for a moment about the idea of dating not getting any better as you get older. That you will still be dealing with all of this years from now. Can you imagine being 50 years old, still swiping left and right for hours, still going on first dates and still hoping someone will be honest with you for once?
At that point, you'd probably be seeing your friends' kids or your niece's friends on dating apps — not because you're a pervert, but because time has continued on as you've remained stuck in the same phase.
But who knows... maybe things WILL change. Maybe my father and I are simply two unlucky guys in this isolated situation, and we'll both meet other women soon... I think. I hope.
But I do know this: Despite this very scary experience of getting a glimpse into my future and NOT liking it one damn bit, I'm going to keep trying.
Clearly, the lure of being in love is too strong to give up on no matter how old you are.
So, I'm going to keep at it, despite the bullshit games.