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All my life, I never realised you could have a conversation with a ghost.
I am the clown with a tearaway face! Here in a flash and gone without trace!
While silence can, in some circumstances, bespeak noble self-control, it can also signify suppression, oblivion or cowardice
Happy Halloween, my baby ducklings! Let us gather around, safe and warm, to hear a tale of mystery; the tale of how so many people- fun seeming, attractive people- wound up eerily disappearing one by one into the ether. There are only two signs that this mystery creature leaves behind, as your suitors are snatched randomly into the void:
Then nothing. They are no more. There is simply a grey, stock profile circle, where once a picture of them smiled out at you. The app they came from will have erased all correspondence, vanished without a trace. As though they never existed. A fiction dreamed up in your mind, a delusion of extreme loneliness, perhaps?
Of course not. This is the work of the unmannerly ghost, snatching them away just as things looked set to get good between you. This foul, supernatural fiend can appear at any time, though usually, it’s a demon of the early stages. Once you know where your suitor lives, works, their friends and family, the unmannerly ghost seems to be a much rarer devil.
Fear not, my ducklings, for you are not alone. The unmannerly ghost can attack anyone. Let’s hear some ghost stories.
The Tale of Miss E and Lazarus
I have a story about a bi guy that I met one to one, that ghosted me just before a bi mmf meet and then got back in touch a month later. I stupidly gave him a second chance and then he ghosted again just before a bi party at Blue Door Dungeon. I actually thought he may have died as although his profile was still active on Fab, he hadn’t gone on for 2 weeks after the first ghosting!
I only gave him a second chance because I’d met him before and thought he was a genuine guy…anyone else would have been gone!
I sometimes wonder if most ghosters are attached and their other halves don’t know? And that’s why they have to disappear… either an attack of guilt or worried they are going to get found out?
I think it’s all about the chase for some, and once someone agrees to meet, that’s enough for them. I never do it though. I tell them straight or keep communicating. It must be a kind of personality type because they must be people who do it regularly, and most people just would not behave like that. I’ve been stood up a few times where they have given excuses, not ghosted, and eventually found out they were intimidated by my sexual confidence so scared to meet!
The Tale of the Foolhardy Ghostlings and How they are Exorcised by Mistress S
I get that with subs. You know how many have let me down?
We have chatted and built a connection and we’ve planned a meet. Then nothing. Then they crawl back. I really don’t have the time.
I don’t even give them anything. If it’s work I save their number as silly names, so when they call back or text forgetting, I remind them. They hang up. It’s funny actually.
The Tale of Mr. P and the Cowardly Lion
The shame of it? They chicken out and are then too scared to have to apologise. I don’t have that luxury. If I started blocking everyone that’s let me down at some point or another I’d have a total of three people on my phone list.
Some people are too afraid of rejection to even try to get as far as sex. They might want to genuinely meet initially, and then when the time for the meet comes they can’t bring themselves to meet you as they think that they won’t be good enough, so they rather not even meet and live on imagining that they would (maybe) have been sexually accepted.
The Tale of the Terrifying and Untrustworthy Lady Rope
I had once organised two or three times (it was before I found out about swinger chat groups, so I didn’t know better than to give a second or third chance). He eventually admitted that he was intimidated by me, planned to meet when pissed, then chickened out.
I sometimes feel like the relative anonymity of online connections means they can ignore the fact that it’s a person they are letting down. When the thrill is in the idea, the flirt, the chase, then the reality of the meet would be too much.
Once I connected with someone, then he tried to arrange a time to meet, but could only do weekends. I was busy for the following two. He didn’t believe that I would be busy for the two weeks! So he left..blocked me…arse!
The Tale of Hotwife Harriet and the 70’s Porn Scene that Never Happened
I do find people’s behaviour strange at times. We had a play partner we saw pretty regularly. He was an electrician and we had known him for over 6 months. He agreed to come and help Mr. H do some electrics in our flat. The day he was due to come we heard nothing. No message. Then a few weeks later left our group chat. I sent him a message and he just didn’t even read it. Weird. Would much rather someone just communicate. What’s wrong with I can’t come? I don’t want to?
Lord Rope’s Oxbridge Hauntings
People can be afraid of connection- spend months, years, waiting for it and then the notion of their own, integrated self is in view again. I suspect a couple of people I’ve been banished by – I’m not saying ghosted, it’s not camp enough – thought they were too intelligent for me. Rightly or wrongly.
The Tale of Lola; Poly Pansexual lifestyler and Catfish Whisperer
A good friend of mine has recently ghosted on somebody. She was trying to find the way to tell him that she wasn’t interested, but she couldn’t put it into words, so she just did a disappearing act. It wasn’t really what she wanted to do, but every time she tried to tell him she got so uncomfortable that it just never happened.
There’s also the situation that I refer to as submarining, that I find really annoying. It’s where they go, and then reappear, as if nothing had happened. So it’s almost like they only get in touch when they really have the horn. So you might speak every day for a few weeks then they disappear for a few weeks, and then they come back and just carry on the conversation as if they hadn’t disappeared for a while. I tend not to give second chances anymore.
There are also a lot of fakes in cyberspace. They might really get to know you and like you, and then let you know their pictures aren’t real because they genuinely do want to meet you. I’ve had that happen a few times. When they send you the real pictures, they look absolutely nothing like them. The thing is that regardless of the fact they have decided to come clean, they have started off dishonestly, so my interest in them is gone forever.
The Tale of Mr. Deadpool, the Reluctant Serial Killer
I had a really great connection through conversation with this person I met online, and we carried on talking for about a year before she asked to meet up. I was like, ‘sure’.
We spent a couple of weeks arranging it and I drove to Birmingham to stay where we were meant to meet. I texted her when she was a couple of minutes late. No response, so I read my book and got kind of engrossed. I realised an hour had passed and she still hadn’t shown up or sent a text or called.
I got angry at myself and just sent a text asking why she didn’t show up, and that I’m not interested in talking unless she explains that. A week later she text me saying her friend freaked her out by saying I might be a serial killer…
The Tale of Miss R and the Bumbling Idiot
In the awful world of online dating, I have both ghosted and been ghosted. On the receiving end it frustrates the hell out of me as I’m someone who likes to talk, and know all the details. I need to know why: did I do something wrong? Something I can correct? Am I too forward? Straight talking? Not flinging myself into bed with them at the drop of a sexy text?
Recently, I was ghosted by a nice-looking local businessman I met on Bumble (virtually). We exchanged numbers, chatted by text, arranged to meet. A day later, when I went to show a friend his pic…our connection had vanished, and his Whatsapp showed the telling grey headshot and one tick on his message for not delivered?!
I tried not to let it bother me, but it did. I wanted to know why. He’s seen my pictures, chatted to me, arranged a meeting. What had changed? In the end, I put it down to him being married and a cheat. Well, it can’t be me…I’m awesome!
If you can’t manage a grown-up conversation about it then it’s a good thing, as I have no wish to date a child. However, there are times when ghosting is the only action possible. This isn’t with a stranger though, this is with the man who keeps stringing you along for years, sleeping with you but never being honest or committed. Or single. Or frankly even slightly caring. For this type of man, you need to simply vanish into the ether one day, never to return. It’s the only way. Flipping them a finger as you do. This ghosting is self preservation.
So why, my darlings, do we have all these potential sex and kink partners- all these potential friends, lovers, romantic dalliances, run away before anything really gets started? Is discretion really the better part of valour? Let’s get some insight.
Interview with Caspar, 20’s
-When did you first come to the scene and what brought you?
I came to the scene maybe four years ago, roughly. It was originally by horny curiosity I suppose – stumbled across a couple of websites while browsing. I liked what I saw and it hooked me in.
-Have you met with many people in that time?
Yes, probably not as many as I should have. I’ve met a lot of people through clubs and met quite a few individually over that time.
-How do you decide who to start a conversation with?
Usually if I find them attractive I will strike up a conversation. Or if they message me with an interesting opener. but being a guy, it’s rare that that happens.
-Would you say that you are a confident person?
In day to day life, yes
-Where are you not confident?
In the scene I still consider myself a bit of a newbie, so I’m not confident there. For example, in a vanilla club, I’d be confident to go approach a girl, talk to anyone, etc. In a club that’s in the scene I’m quite nervous and don’t feel confident to approach someone.
-Why do you think that is?
I often worry I’ll be judged. I’m very private about what I like and worry people I know will find out and judge me. I suppose that’s the main reason.
–Do you feel you’ve made friends and been accepted on the scene or do you see yourself as a loner?
I don’t really feel like I have many friends, a couple of people I can talk to, but we don’t talk all the time. In the scene, that is.
-Do you feel like people on the scene are, or could become, real friends? Or do you see them as separate from your day to day self?
I know they could be, but I separate them.
-Why is that?
I just like to keep it separate. I know I couldn’t mix the two. It wouldn’t be accepted by my friends. And that’s more important to me- keeping them.
-Let’s play a game: Trust and look a fool, or be trusted by another and they look a fool?
Trust and look a fool. I don’t like to upset or displease others.
-Stay in your comfort zone or take a risk?
Take a risk. I’ve taken a few risks (sexually speaking) and they’ve certainly paid off.
-Tell a lie or hurt someone’s feelings?
Hurt someone’s feelings. The truth always comes out in the end.
-To be thought arrogant or to be thought cowardly?
To be thought arrogant. I don’t know why it’s just a preference
-Which do you believe is stronger, the effect your actions have on others, or the effect their actions have on you?
My actions on others, they affect people’s thoughts of me and my relationships with them.
-Would you describe your parents as reliable people during your childhood?
Yes, very reliable.
-Would you describe yourself as a reliable person?
In the scene, no. Day to day, yes.
-Why do you think these are different?
I’m not confident. I worry in the scene, I shouldn’t but I do.
-The topic for this is ghosting. What is it that makes you ghost, and how do you feel it is perceived?
Usually, I ghost because I’m trying to deny to myself what I really do like. I guess I think I’m wrong for liking what I do at times.
-How much respect do you have for the other person?
A lot, and I regret it if I do stand them up. It’s never 1:1, it’s that I don’t turn up at a club that I said I would. I feel ashamed when I do it.
-What goes through your mind when someone stops responding and you don’t know why?
I assume they are in a similar mindset to me. Or that they don’t have interest in me anymore.
-Is there a way the other person could prevent you ghosting, or is it entirely about you and feeling conflicted?
No, I don’t think so, it’s just my insecurity
-How many chances would you give someone?
It depends if it was meeting up or just leaving the conversation. If they stood me up on a 1:1 that would be it. If it was at a party or club I would allow it because there are others there. The same with conversations on the phone.
-Is there a reason that you wouldn’t say what your feelings at the time were for stopping?
I don’t know, I should do that though.
-Have you ever had someone worry about you when you vanished?
People have said that they were worried about me but I get the impression they were just being nice when we reconnected
-Do you imagine the person feels rejected?
Potentially, but I’m sure they have lots of attention and aren’t too bothered by it.
-What advice would you give to a ghosting victim?
My advice would be to not take it too personally and understand that people have their own individual issues
-How do you think ghosts are seen?
I think they are considered users and a waste of time: untrustworthy
-Imagine you bumped into someone you ghosted? How would you feel in their shoes?
I think at first I would be a bit annoyed but then I’m sure when speaking to them and being able to show emotion and expressions they’ll understand. Conversations are very different when it’s face to face. I think that’s what makes it easier to ghost, because people forget there’s someone on the other end of the phone.
-Are you concerned that if you get known as a ghoster, people will just block you before saying hello?
Yes, this does concern me, but I’m sure the right person would understand and not be pre-judgemental
-Why do you think you switch between wanting to meet and rejecting your identity?
I think it is a shame thing and I worry too much about the perceptions of other people. I think this is something that I will come to accept.
–Would you ghost ‘vanilla’ people or friends?
No, I wouldn’t ghost vanilla people. the difference is that there is not so much of a judgment on vanilla people or relationships.
Has ‘big society’ and technology removed us so far, made us so anonymous, that people are easily avoided? More importantly, that any kind of awkwardness, negative interaction, messy goodbye, can be postponed forever with the simple flick of a button? We can leave our options open eternally, to pick up where we left off if we change our minds? Free of responsibility? Make up the story and fill in the ‘why’s’ retrospectively?
The thing about an unexpected ghosting or block is that it’s like inviting someone round and then hiding when they knock at the door. Your average person will be annoyed, but not go to the lengths of burning your house down just to flush you out and find out why you did it. It implies that you can’t face them. Which either means they have given you cause to believe that they are truly unreasonable, or that you are a complete coward. As difficult as you might find it to say ‘I’m sorry, I’ve changed my mind’, it will mean they aren’t ringing round the hospitals or re-examining every nuance of every text to see what went wrong, waiting around for a call that’s never coming. Reliability may not sound like a sexy thing to read on a profile, but it sure grows on you. Yet before we get too carried away with feeling a victim, remember that at one time or another, in some small form. Some oversight. Some person who you could think of no more ways to say no to, got exactly the same treatment from you.
Stay safe on these Halloween nights, my baby ducklings. Dark days are coming, but long nights are fun.
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