Why dating totally sucks in New York

A Midwest transplant sounds off on five years’ worth of courting woes in the Big Apple
By Steve Heisler |

Have you heard the term ghosting? I hadn’t until moving to New York City from Chicago; now I use it regularly. It’s when you have a bunch of awesome dates with somebody, and then one day, they suddenly stop responding to your texts: They have ghosted you. Part of you might wonder, Did my date simply lose his or her phone? Or perhaps go into hiding to make me an epic six-date anniversary present? Okay, that’s unlikely, but what if?!?

Ghosting—how fitting that this phenomenon takes its name from those invisible entities made up entirely of sadness—is a particularly New Yorky dating frustration. Back in the Midwest, ladies were so nice that I once got let down easy by a lady before we went out. It stunk, but I appreciated it. Maybe New Yorkers just don’t have time for courtesy.

Over the holidays, I was seeing a woman who’d recently relocated from Boston. I invited her out for Chinese food at Mile End on Christmas Eve. It was our sixth date, and we decided to dress up. (I tore off my breakaway pants in anticipation, à la Gob in Arrested Development.) Dinner was ridiculously fun and we both got pretty drunk, so things progressed, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is I thought, at the very least, we’d see each other again. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) But then, she ghosted me.

Perhaps she just wanted someone new; this city also instills FOMO (fear of missing out), and it’s possible that she had already picked up that habit. Not that I can totally blame her—New York is packed with so many interesting singles that it makes sense to not want to be tied down.

Or perhaps she just couldn’t be bothered to get back to me. Whatever the case, it was pretty infuriating. I told last week’s three OkCupid dates about December’s frustrating ghosting debacle. And I’ll probably tell the fourth…if she ever texts me back.

Follow Steve Heisler on Twitter: @steveheisler

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