Is Ghosting a Rite of Passage?

Updated: Oct 5

Just as pimples and a unibrow that appear out of nowhere are things tweens just have to go through to get to the beginning of their adult pretty phase, or the hazing period fraternity and sorority pledges have to endure to become a brother or sister, or dealing with that internship where you’re stuck filing paperwork because the dumb office doesn’t know how to scan and automate, there are rites of passage we endure.

And then comes that fun little thing we all trudge through for much longer than we do pimples or a college frat hazing period.

It can span ten, twenty, maybe even thirty years. And then sometimes you think you never have to do it again. Except you end up catching your husband smashing the interior decorator of your new home, and you find yourself having to do it again anyway.


Years ago, during the height of rom-coms, we dated people we knew such as the football player, or in college that bad boy who couldn’t seem to settle on a major. Inevitably, you got dumped. Football Fred or No Major Nicholas would sit you down and say “blah blah blah, you’re dumped.”

You cried. And it sucked, especially if you weren’t wearing waterproof mascara. But, you had closure.

And then came the Tinder finders, the Bumble shmumbles, Christian Singles, j-swipse, coffee meets bagels, Hinge twinges, and every other stupid app encounter. Every so 1,000 swipes or so, you connect with what you think is that diamond in the rough. His name is probably Brad. Yes, let’s go with Brad.

You and Brad actually meet in person. And BAM!

On the inside, you’re smitten, blushing, horny, impressed, all at once. Woof, it’s intense. But on the outside you have to portray what you think is his version of the “cool girl.” Maybe it’s the girl who can quote every movie. Maybe it’s the girl who can actually grill a medium rare steak. Maybe whatever, you just do your best to be that cool girl.

When he texts you good morning every day and sends photos of his dog, you think, “I’ve got him. He thinks I’m cool.” And then, the ultimate: “This could go somewhere.

And then you spread your legs.

Looks like BradDoucheBag was into some kinky stuff.

The sex is amazing, the kind of sex where you’re convinced the heavens have opened and showered you with orgasms. You did it everywhere. Even against the wall.

You even spoon after. In a bed. You leave his place the next morning and after he kisses you good-bye, Brad says, “I’ll talk to ya later.”

Life is good.

But then, something is off. He didn’t text you until late in the day:

How was your day

Wow. Not even a question mark?

Keep in mind of course, before the sex, or even before you met, you normally pen palled all day long. However, you’re so excited to see a text from Brad, even if it is missing a silly question mark, you’re fingering yourself all the way to China. And instead of playing it cool, you slip. You start to be cute saying something along the lines of, “Good, but a little distracted thinking about last night *insert wink face emoji*. How’s your day going?”

Wayyyyyyyy too much there, girlfriend.

An hour goes by.


You screenshot the conversation and send three (actually five) different friends asking for opinions, seeking any advice that will go opposite of what your gut is screaming to you.

“He’s busy, he will get back to you.”

“Girl, it’s 5pm he’s at the gym, chill!”

“Isn’t he in investment banking? They work weird hours.”

“Well maybe he’s masturbating to your last text.”

“Namaste love, everything is in alignment with the universe.”

Hah, your friends know shit.

The work day finally ends and you escape to Happy Hour with your all knowing, gender neutral friends Jamie or maybe a Brooklyn tossed in there. You try to play it cool and concentrate on that extra dirty martini you ordered and whatever Jamie/Brooklyn are saying.

But your blood pressure is rising and beads of sweat are forming an unattractive sweat stache. Fuck it you think, and double text: “Is everything okay?” And there’s a temporary release of anxiety because of course he is going to answer with very solid apology explaining where he’s been, invite you over for dinner, and then you can resume having that glorious sex the heavens blessed upon you.

But of course you rudely leave your phone face up and fling your attention to the screen as soon as you feel any little vibration or notification. But it’s just Amazon letting you know your package of some white hippie shirt with bell sleeves that Brad would just love has been delivered. You may have ordered it because Brad mentioned he loved the hippie Coachella look.

Eventually you get fed up with the silence from your phone and tuck it into your purse, trying to conceal your bubbling emotions of frustration and confusion.

After happy hour, Jamie/Brooklyn are going to have sex with respective he/him and she/her partners. However, you go home, alone. With no pronouns.

You have to keep rewinding the episodes of Schitt’s Creek to catch Moira’s lines because you’re too occupied with staring at your phone, trying to manifest some sign from Brad. You log onto Instagram and check your DM’s. There is a message thread with Brad of a meme he shared with you, before you spread your legs. Instagram shows a green dot next to his name signaling that BradDoucheBag is Active Now. Your stomach contracts and you feel the three dirty martinis coming up your esophagus. Throwing your phone across the room seems like a good idea, but then you remember Apple Care will make some reason to not cover your damaged phone.

Alexis and Ted are like, so in love, you think as you finally turn your attention back to the TV. Coincidentally, the next time you look at your phone. It’s 11:11pm. Wish time. Text me, Idiot, I mean Brad, you wish silently. Actually, no one’s around, so you say it out loud. “God damnit,” you say, slamming the phone down at 11:12pm. Where the fuck is BradDoucheBag? When you parted ways he said, “I’ll talk to you later.”

And men don’t lie, ever.

Because, what is “later?” Is it “later,” as in when they get home and are in bed and swiping once more justtttt to see what’s out there but you would never ever think that could be a possibility. Because you are only chic on his mind? So what the fuck?

Or maybe “later,” is tomorrow, because BradDoucheBag is trying to play it cool. Cuz Brad is cool.

But was Brad actually cool? He does the New York Times crossword puzzle every Sunday, is that cool? He has a cat named Tobias, is that cool either?

But that shaggy hair, that quiet swagger, and that coke can dick? So cool.

You pass out fantasizing of Brad’s dick in any of your orifices, Moira’s high pitched voice yelling, “Johnnnnnn,” ringing in your ear.

The next morning you wake up, slightly dazed and confused as to what’s real and what’s a fantasy at this point. You look at your phone on the nightstand, your heart rate speeding up as your primal instinct is asking, “Did HE text?” This is just too much for 7AM. You huff, and you puff, and you look.

Four new messages! You open gleefully and then read:

Mom: I called you, call me back.

Mom: Honey, are you okay? Call your mother.

Mom: Nu? ( ←—- Yiddish for an impatient WELL???)

Dad: Call your mother.

Welp, hello reality. He didn’t text you back. Maybe he’s doing that three day rule where they don’t talk to you? Wait no, he already texted first the day you left his house. Ugh, when was that?

You’re tempted to triple text and say “good morning” or some bullshit, but you can hear your younger cousin’s voice in your ear, “Double texting is a no-no. Triple texting is the kiss of death.” How is it that the younger ones are always so wise these days?

And then, three days have passed. Three days of silence. The silence that is driving you bat shit crazy at work and even at yoga class during Namaste. When the weekend comes, you get all dressed up and go out with your GIRLZ at some bougie bar in West Hollywood where everyone is just beautiful and fabulous. So of course you post selfies and group shots and boomerangs to your story. In between cocktails, you of course need to see who’s looked at the story.

As you sit on the tissue papered covered toilet in the gender neutral bathroom, you open Instagram and click on “Your story,” and scroll. And there it is. BradDoucheBag (which might as well be his Instagram handle) has looked at your story.

Between the $17 vodka sodas and the frustrating confusion practically radiating through your fingertips, you’re ready to scream. But Harley, your best friend who also happens to be in the stall, attempts to calm you down as your scream, “What the fuck?”

Harley looks at you in drunken confusion.

“Harley, he looked at my STORY!”

“Gimme that!” Harley says, grabbing your phone. She clicks on his profile page.

“Ew, THIS is Brad? Please, he looks like he has bad breath and a micro-dick.” You are livid with Brad, yet feel slightly defensive of Brad, as Harley’s description was inaccurate. “He smelled like Pronamel toothpaste Harley, you know, the good kind, and his dick was just coke can perfect.”

Harley states the obvious: “You’re drunk. And right now, you wouldn’t know an Italian sausage from an acorn. So put your phone down, and let’s go find some other dick out there.”

“But but but but,” you stammer. Harley shakes her head. “You’re in denial. Ya gotta dust yourself off, especially after being in this bathroom stall and move on. Brad SUCKS.”

“He’ll come back around, right?” you ask, the last droplet of hope spilling from your voice. Harley shakes her head. “No babe. He’s ghosted.”

“Whaaaaaa?” you ask in utter confusion. You’re a babe. You’re smart. You’re in a fantasy football league. Hell, you’re even employed. Who would ghost that?

“He’s looking for you 2.0,” Harley explains, motioning you to finally get out of the bathroom stall and wash your hands. “Brad liked you, but men always think they can find something better. There is nothing wrong with you. He is just an idiot. You’ll get used to it, babe.”

Get used to it?! You think.

Harley can read your mind. “Aww, honey, everyone gets ghosted. Welcome to dating. It sucks, but it’s pretty much like a rite of passage.”

Dumb, idiotic, stupid, rude rite of passage, you think, and saunter back off for another endless slew of $17 vodka sodas.

You're going to really wish these vodka sodas would ghost from your credit card bill in the morning.


In Case You Still Get Pimples (Like Me)

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