One of the most excruciating moments which can happen in a single woman's life is being stood up. It's the same mortifying feeling as finding yourself in front of a large audience and then realizing your shirt is covered in soy sauce, your fly is open, and that you have a massive zit right in the middle of your forehead.
I believe that dating is, and should be, fun. You dress up, you get to eat somewhere you might never have eaten before, and you get to know someone new. If the date is great, wonderful. If not, in the wise words of Jay-Z, "onto the next one."
Women always tell their friends when they are going on a date (unless they are worried that their friends will judge her date). And good friends always ask the datee post-date how the whole thing went. Ideally, the datee gets to squeal and gush and rehash the details. Or the datee gets to recount a horrible evening and share humorous and cringe-worthy details (e.g. "he actually ate a piece of leftover food from a neighbouring table's plate after the customers left."). Both of these scenarios are, in their own way, satisfying stories to tell.
The absolute worst scenario is being stood up. It's completely embarrassing to have to confess to friends over lunch or drinks, "Well, he didn't actually make it." Sympathetic and pitying glances are thrown your way. The flow of conversation inevitably floats to why you would be stood up, and every possible insecurity that you have tried to overcome suddenly re-emerges in your psyche, stronger than it ever had been before.
I've suddenly become an expert in this subject as I, recently and for the first time, joined the illustrious Stood-Up Ladies Club.
I had a date with a man who owned a bar, and who would flirt with me every time my girlfriends and I showed up for drinks. After a month of flirting, texting and Facebook messaging (all his initiative by the way, I am not a stalking type), he asked me out. I was over the moon. He was (and is -- he didn't die) tall, with a (or so I thought) kind smile, and strong arms. And somehow, this man had decided to ask me out for drinks. Cue girly shopping montage scene: I bought a new dress with one of my girlfriends and we tried to imagine what possible fun he had planned for my date.
The night before, I ran into him on the street. He reminded me of our plans (how could I forget!). The day of our date, I received a text from him in the morning, also reminding me of our evening plans.
As I was meeting him later, as opposed to earlier, in the night, I went for dinner with a girlfriend. During the meal, I got THE text message. "Hate to do this but I can't make it." And that was that. I never heard from him again.
My friend, being truly an amazing girlfriend, saw my taken aback and disappointed expression, grabbed my cell, saw the message and immediately took me to a bar. I was officially a member of the SULC.
I felt humiliated. I debated what to do -- and more so, what to say, during the inevitable post-date lunch with my girlfriends. Do I make up an excuse? Do I tell them he got into a car accident and thus was believably physically incapacitated and legitimately unable to take me out, just in case he called me a few days later to ask me out again (blind optimism...)? Or ... do I tell the truth?
I mused over this as I nursed an incredibly wicked hangover. I decided that telling the truth might hurt less than the pounding migraine I was attempting unsuccessfully to treat, and bit the bullet. When the inevitable question was thrown at me during lunch, I breezely answered with a laugh, "It actually never happened. He stood me up. And no, I haven't heard from him since."
Being a member of the SULC, I have created a list for future members on how to cope (although I really hope that you don't ever have the pleasure of joining this club if you haven't been there).
WHAT TO DO
- Since you already look fabulous, to stay in at home and waste a perfectly good outfit will just make you more depressed. Throw on your heels and get out there.
- Bars are a good place to go. Not endorsing binge drinking, but it's better to have a throbbing migraine than to wake up to throbbing disappointment.
- Don't fear telling your friends you were stood up -- by being honest and nonchalant you take any pleasure away from those who would want to embarrass you for some jerk's bad manners.
- IMMEDIATELY write that guy (or girl) off. Unless they give you the most eloquent apology or make the grandest gesture, eff em. There are tons of people out there who do want to spend time with you. This is a planet with a population of about 7-billion people. Not all of them are terrible.
- Do not get bitter. Move on. Don't dwell.
- If you run into the scumbag while out and about after the incident, hold your head high. Kill them with kindness. Be polite, be cool and walk away. Do not speak to them any longer than three minutes. A simple hello, how are you, and I'm fine, will suffice as conversation.
Again, I hope you never have the pleasure of joining this sad little club. But we all get stood up. Just remember, you aren't alone.