Online Dating: When the Clock Strikes Midnight

In the Cinderella fairy tale, we all know what happens at the stroke of midnight.  If you’re a single woman, midnight on a Saturday has a whole new meaning.  The Houdinis appear. 

And what is a “Houdini” you might ask yourself.  I aptly coined the term in a blog I did two years ago about how online dating is like online fraud.  A Houdini is the guy that wastes weeks, or sometimes months, of your time texting and calling you.  Then one day, he disappears.  It’s like the earth just opened up and swallowed him, and he vanishes off the face of the earth.  In the worst case, and the most confusing Houdini of all, is the one you may have even gone on a couple of dates with – and in the midst of planning a third – they just evaporate into thin air.

The worst part is the confusion.  Did I say something wrong?  Did he think I was fat, unattractive, obnoxious?  Did he start dating someone else?  Is he really married and got caught?  Perhaps he was just looking to get laid and when he realized he wasn’t getting it from me, he bailed.  WHAT DID I SAY OR DO WRONG?  This is the thought process women go through.

But the best thing about a Houdini is they ALWAYS reappear, when you least expect it, like the communication NEVER STOPPED.  Most likely, it’s on a Saturday right before midnight.

I would have only believed the scene last night was from a movie if I hadn’t seen and experienced it myself.  I was out in the city with three of my single girlfriends.  We are relishing the best French fries ever, listening to a great acoustic rock band, and evaluating whether the four guys across the bar are military AND single (and very cute, I might add). The clock is about to strike midnight – and within ten minutes, three of us girls separately get messages from Houdinis.  

The first girl gets a text from a guy she was talking to for a while who suddenly disappeared.  His excuse: He was texting another person he had met a while ago on a dating site that had the same name as her.  He assumed he was texting my friend all along, and only realized ON A SATURDAY at MIDNIGHT that it was the wrong girl.  REALLY GUY??  That has to be the LAMEST excuse I have ever heard.

The second girl gets a text from a guy who has consistently been UP HER ASS for weeks.  As it’s been hard for them to find a suitable time to get together due to their work schedules, he suggested she come visit him at work.  So she finally agrees to come meet him and proposes a time, and he completely disappears.  No more calls, no more texts.  He decides ON A SATURDAY at MIDNIGHT to casually overlook the disappearance and sends her a text, “What are you doing?”  LET ME GUESS.  Just like 90% of other single guys in the world, you suddenly find yourself lonely, and suddenly you want to talk.  Here’s a four letter F word and a middle finger for you.

We were laughing at the irony, and one of the girls sarcastically noted, “They must be looking for a Saturday night booty call.”  Her phone is blowing up…her guy is on his fourth text message to her.  I picked up my phone, and the third Houdini appears.  A guy I haven’t talked to in MONTHS.  So I said, “Screw this.  Time to mess with some guys.” 

I told him I was in bed with my man of the week who just happened to be a member of the Taliban and proceeded to send him a picture of some random guy with a long bushy beard.  He responds, “Well sorry to bother you pretty lady!  Take care of yourself and be well!”  So I get serious and ask who it is. The conversation goes like this:

Guy:  It’s (name).  We met a couple months ago and lost touch.  Just wanted to see how you were doing. 

Commentary:  Really?  You care how I am.  Would it have anything to do with the fact that it is 11:46 on a Saturday night?

He sends his picture as a reminder, and one of the girls makes a comment that he is very cute.  And I say, “Yeah and there’s a hundred more where he came from.”

Me:  I was obviously being silly, but I deleted you from my phone because I figured you weren’t interested.

Guy:  Well put me back in if you want.  It would be nice to get to know you.

Commentary:  Hello, I know I am only one of about 50 other girls in your phone you just sent that same message to in hopes of having someone in your bed tonight other than the usual Mary Palmer and her five friends.  I appreciate your disingenuous attempt at pretending to care how I have been doing, but I think I will add you to my block list, thank you.

So that’s my story and I am sticking to it.  There isn’t enough blog space to write about all the Houdinis I’ve met in the last three years.  But it’s just part of the wild world of being single in the 21st century.  My single friends are starting to appreciate the value of my callousness when it comes to dating and finding the humor in it all.  You learn that you can’t take it personally because if you do, you might as well just join the convent. 

Just as Valentine’s Day is a gold mine for greeting card makers, every Saturday night at just around midnight, cell phone companies are raking in profits from the data usage charges from millions of drunk or lonely men sending multiple text messages in search of a booty call.


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