Hair washed, giddy about date #2 with the Economist, I was applying my date face when I got an email in the late afternoon:
Had forgotten I must deliver this week’s column early. So I’m jamming. Can’t make it tonight. I might be able to do tomorrow. Not absolutely certain, though.
I was stood up.
Was the Economist impolite or uninterested or all of the above?
Everything I know about the Economist:
I like him
Says he can’t remember birthdays
Stood me up
Doesn’t like me enough
He didn’t apologize and didn’t reschedule. That’s a pretty mean shove.
I’ve sent a million ‘thanks but no thanks’ emails, they’re easy to write. I haven’t sent one after I had my hand up a date’s skirt, but it’s still necessary to let me down gently. The Economist must know this. He puts a price on everything.
Sarah Rose’s First Law of Dating Dynamics states that no one should exit an encounter with lower self-esteem than when they entered. A necessary corollary to this is I have often made men feel that advances are wanted and welcome, when in fact I was obeying the law. My law. I might be overly sweet to spare an ego on a date, but I never fondle out of courtesy. When I grope, I grope.
When the Economist was pawing me like a pubescent raccoon, I assumed he meant it. In the sober light of a second try perhaps he reconsidered. We were out of step: I am trying to get this right. He’s shaking the dew off a fresh divorce.
That, or he really didn’t want to sleep with me.
Maybe I’ll hear from the Economist down the line. It happens. But from now on he will be the guy who stood me up. In a courtship, time wanting for basic kindness is not time well spent. Etiquette is petite ethics; morals don’t get better as the questions get bigger.