If you are seeing someone on a casual basis, or you’ve agreed that you’re going to date/shag them but haven’t quite done the logistics for meeting up, how often do you message them? Are you checking in regularly to see how they’re doing, or do you consider them ‘in the bank’ and therefore probably not in need of regular contact until it comes time to meet up? What is the difference between being casual about checking in and accidentally ghosting someone?
I asked this question on Twitter recently and the answers to the poll both surprised and horrified me.
Question: if you’re seeing someone (like dating/shagging/on a promise) but you can’t physically meet in person, how often do you expect them to msg? Like every day, or regularly? Or do you only message to arrange meeting up or if you have specific news?
— Girl on the Net (@girlonthenet) January 11, 2022
My first reaction to seeing this was ‘holy shit, I need to go apologise to some men.’
In the bank? Or accidental ghosting?
One of the slight problems I’m having at the moment (and I emphasise ‘slight’, I do not want to complain about the lovely men who are kind enough to fuck me) is that most of the people I’m
seeing dating occasionally fucking do not live near to me. Because of this, there’s usually a fairly long period of time in between each hangout. We’re talking months, in most cases. If I’m lucky, and someone’s work brings them to the city, then weeks.
So the idea of maintaining a high rate of messaging with all these people feels… exhausting. And kind of counterproductive. After all, if I message everyone all the time, then I spend most of my spare time clutching my phone and tapping out missives to people who are many miles away rather than focusing on the ones right here in front of me.
But it turns out that’s unusual of me, as evidenced by this Twitter poll. And it turns out that the phrase ‘in the bank’ might not be the best way to refer to it, as evidenced by one of my friends who made a frowny face when I said it. Perhaps a better phrase is ‘accidental ghosting’, because that is what some dudes think it is.
How long is too long to leave it?
Personally, if I’ve been chatting to someone, and we’re both broadly in agreement that we’d be DTF if we found ourselves in the same location, I tend to just assume that person is in the bank, and if I find myself in their area (or they in mine) then we’ll pick up where we left off, but this time in a sticky and physical manner.
Turns out, I am in a small minority – 7.8% – and that’s probably an even smaller minority if you were to broaden this poll to people who weren’t following me on Twitter. I suspect my Twitter followers are sluttier on average than the majority of the population: sluts are drawn to sluts, we just can’t help it.
If you’d chatted to someone online (or phone), and agreed you wanted to date but couldn’t cos Covid, and they didn’t message you for a week, would you think that it’s still on unless they’d indicated otherwise, or think they’d gone cold?
— Girl on the Net (@girlonthenet) January 11, 2022
Unfortunately, even sluts apparently tend to message more than I do, so when I saw the results of this poll my heart thumped a torrent of guilt into my chest and I realised I should probably communicate with some men. Luckily for me, most of them follow me on Twitter, and one of them saw this poll and assured me that he did not expect daily updates, and was happy for the occasional check-in and scheduling of logistics for when I next got to ride his dick. But this is not always the case.
I’m reminded of a lovely gentleman (genuinely, really sweet and funny and we had a right laugh) with whom I had a phone date long long ago. It was just after I became single, in between the summer of 2020 and the winter lockdown that same year. We chatted, had a laugh, and arranged for him to pop to London so we could drink wine in a park at 2 metres distance while assessing whether we’d be up for more. Sadly for us both, the weather on that day was shocking and indoor meetups were banned, so we took a literal rain check and I dropped off messaging for a while. We’d planned something else – another phone date, this time with added sexiness – but I was in the middle of a lot of busy shit and I had just assumed it’d be something we could pick up later, when my life looked less like a collapsing funhouse in a theme park celebrating trauma.
One day, entirely out of the blue (from my perspective) I got a message from him along the lines of ‘sorry this didn’t work out, but best of luck to you.’
Yes, I know. I am the WORST PERSON. I had literally left it for so long that this dude went ‘ah she’s not interested’ and bowed out.
Firstly: fair play to him. I appreciate it when men bow out, because it’s important to me that they recognise my failings and are able to identify dealbreaking incompatibilities when they arise. He was very sweet about it, not in any way rude or presumptive, and the break between messages was genuinely long – three weeks at least, I think. This isn’t like the guy on a dating site who (I shit you not) messaged me one single day after I stopped chatting with a ghost emoji and a question mark. One DAY? One SINGLE DAY?! I AM NOT A CHATBOT. Anyway, I digress. Phone chat dude did the right thing, and he did it kindly – I would always strongly prefer someone say ‘see ya!’ than try to shoehorn any burgeoning interaction into a shape that doesn’t fit me.
Secondly, though, as a sex blogger who prides herself on good communication, it’s extremely annoying to find such a clear example of where I’m completely fucking awful at it.
Don’t wait up
Bad communication usually comes from assumptions: instead of asking people what they think/want, or being up front about what we think/want, we instead just let our brains fill in the gaps in our knowledge, or assume other people’s brains will magically fill in the gaps with the right answers. Turns out that my brain never fills in any gaps by assuming men are waiting by the phone to hear from me. As a general rule, I assume that people don’t want me to message them, because they’re busy either messaging other people or having a wank or hanging out with their mates or skydiving or whatever.
This is clearly an incorrect assumption, and the lesson I’ve learned from both the poll and the occasional messages from men who assume I’ve ghosted them is that I need to be way clearer about messaging expectation. I’m not going to wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly be a prolific texter: it just isn’t in my nature. I’ll have some evenings where I’ll do a burst of it – catching up with friends, fucks and family when I’ve finished work for the day – but it’s sporadic rather than consistent, and I can go many many weeks between messages with dudes without ever feeling like I’m missing out by not catching up.
I’m pleased to hear from these dudes if they want to message me, especially if their message says something like ‘I’m in town on the X-teenth of Y-vember, can we fuck?’ but I won’t normally check in with someone in between those times unless there’s a specific reason (I saw an article they might like, I watched a film they recommended and want to let them know it was good/shit, I have a question about their penis for a blog post). I think I might need to get cards printed out which say ‘unless we have had a full-on falling out, you are always safe to assume that my status as horny for you remains the same, regardless of how much time’s passed’ and then give them to people around date two or three.
As I watched the poll results come in, with horror and guilt and panic rising in my chest, it occurred to me that maybe there were men who I considered ‘in the bank’, who had, in fact, gone off me. Or worse – not gone off me but thought I’d gone off them. What if I’d been blithely stumbling about the world assuming that if so-and-so was in town he’d let me know, when in fact so-and-so had been in town LAST WEEK but not told me because I hadn’t messaged him in the last two months?
What if I had MADE MEN SAD? [insert lots of weeping emojis here, both for the men who might be sad and for me, who does not want to ensadden those who might otherwise be willing to fuck me]
I’d like to get better at this kind of communication. One of the reasons I’m writing about it is to force my hand a little and nudge me to have those ‘here are my general behaviours/expectations around messaging’ conversations more often. Naturally, I’ll do it in person, because I prefer things that way, but I will at least try to talk to dudes about this as well as explain that they’re welcome to consider me ‘in the bank’ and release themselves from any obligation to check in if they’re too busy.
In the meantime, though, as I unpack the lumpy rucksack that is ‘GOTN’s dating strategy’ then try to repack it with less bad behaviour this time, I’ll end on a more positive note. The other night I had a lovely shag with someone new – someone who was also very busy and thus happy to schedule a date long into the future and engage in minimal messaging before the day itself. When I tweeted about it afterwards, saying I’d had a lovely time, one of the so-and-sos I’d been worried I might have accidentally ghosted popped up in my messages.
“Good shag?” he asked – or something along those lines – “I might be in town next month, and I’m really into ass play at the moment.”
Woo! I’m in HIS bank! He is not upset with me or worried by the lack of messaging, because HE TOO HAS A BANK!
Bank me, motherfucker!
Then fuck me in the ass.
Although not right this minute, because I have Covid. Boo.