After the Fade Away

18 Feb

by Stacie Smack

Some friends and I were recently enjoying some delish food at Ted’s Bulletin on 14. In the midst of my enjoyment, I noticed that seating at the bar directly in my line of vision was a guy I briefly dated last summer, Jason, having dinner with a [male] friend. As soon as I noticed, I started uncontrollably laughing, I tried to hide under the table, and my friends proceeded to discretely turn around [in a very obvious way] to look at him. Similarly, Jason’s friend did a little 360 head spin that lingered too long in my direction. I am confident that it was evident that we were both aware of each other’s presence.

The back story:
We met at Policy not by sucking on each other’s faces. We went on a couple dates before he tried to kiss me – amateur move. He seemed interested and interesting enough – we went on some dates, had some sleepovers, and texted every once in a while. I went abroad for a week, came back, and after some pleasantries about my trip, he blew me off a week later with the classic “I’m really busy and my sister is staying with me” excuse. My response (in classic Stacie fashion) was “well good luck. You know where to find me ;)”, followed by a contact deletion. I never heard from him again. It was a classic case of The Fade Away*.

There’s enough on the topic to know that this is just a way of saying “I’m just not that into you”, but I was still left wondering, in this situation if perhaps I should have gone up to say hi? Or if he should have come over to say hi? I didn’t want to say hi, because my strongest emotion upon seeing him was anger and sadness from feeling rejected. He probably didn’t want to say hi, because we all know that the first thing we think when someone fades us out is that they probably had to go into witness protection and that’s why they stopped texting us. This leads to the question of the post fade away spontaneous run-in: for whom is it more awkward after a fade away? The one who did the fading? Or the one who got faded?

The one who did the fading –
My first instinct is that the one who does the fading has all the power. He/she is the one who gets to make the shot “I’m not interested” under the assumption that the other involved party probably is interested. Power overcomes awkward – Jason should feel good that here’s this girl that HE got to dump.
But upon further over analyzing, it’s perhaps incredibly awkward for him. I mean he now has to face the fact that he can’t go on pretending that I think he moved to Iowa, or that he got hit by a bus. Now, he has to come up with actual believable non-awkward excuses for why he never texted back, “I was really busy” for the last 6 months would not cut it.

The one who gets faded-
As implied above, I felt extremely awkward. I felt powerless. I didn’t have a good explanation as to why he stopped calling, and so the default (as it is with A LOT of women, don’t lie to yourself) is to focus on my insecurities and blame every single one of the things I’ve decided is “wrong” with me. I felt awkward because the first thing I thought he thought when he saw me was “oh there’s that girl, still looking/acting/being the same exact way she was when I decided to end things”.
But, let’s be real. That was probably not his first thought. He probably also turned beet red and felt awkward! Because, here was this perfectly fine girl who he never called again. He hopefully realized that he came off as a coward who was too afraid to tell a girl it’s over so instead went for the disappearing act, not thinking that [YUPie NW + gentrified NE] DC is actually small, and the chances of running into someone you’ve met are pretty high.

Honestly, I’m pretty sure it’s awkward for both people, unless you’re a fairly confident person, in which case very few things are awkward for you. I would like to think that when I become a grown-up, I’ll be able to say hi to people I’ve dated regardless of how things ended. Maybe. Or, I’ll continue to giggle, twirl my hair, fix my make-up and completely ignore him, while trying to make him regret all decisions that led to him never calling me again. Maturity.

If nothing else, listen to my favorite singers and nod your head in agreement:

*Also called sometimes the Fade Out and I’m sure like a trillion other things.

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