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There is a direct correlation between the hotness of a girl and how long she will take to respond to your messages. After a double-blind study involving hundreds (if not thousands) of girls from Tinder and Bumble, I feel very confident in this conclusion. If a girl’s a perfect ten, well-educated, and shares my love for Netflix, she’ll text me back 12 to 36 hours after my initial salvo. Maybe. After that 36 hours, the very real possibility that she may never text me back begins to exist, putting me into the quandary of whether I must compromise my position in this maybe-relationship by sending the dreaded back-to-back texts.
On the other hand, if the girl was one of the accidental right swipes that you kept going along with because you (correctly) assumed she would be a good option if all your weekend plans fell through and you really felt the urge to break your dry spell, she’ll text back instantly. She might even text you first, in an almost unprecedented gender-role reversal. It’s a sick law of the universe explained succinctly by the philosopher George Costanza: “When I like them, they don’t like me. When they like me, I don’t like them.”
For a guy as over-analytical, anxious, and generally unconfident as myself, the time between that text and the response is purgatory. As of 7:35 a.m. EST yesterday, I was in that purgatory. Five hours after the initial follow-up text from our previous night’s date, I have gotten no work done and am questioning every decision I made in the past 24 hours, along with constant checking and rechecking the phone. The message I sent has been analyzed and reanalyzed. The timing of sending the follow-up has been regretted, justified, then regretted again. The whole morning has been a mental play-by-play of the conversation on the first date happy hour the night before. Was she smiling? Was she touching her hair? Why did she recoil when I accidentally brushed my hand against her leg? How bad of a sign is that? As the anxiety overtakes me, I experience all five stages of grief throughout this 24 hour gap between my text and hers.
Denial (8 a.m – 4 p.m.)
Eh, she hasn’t even seen the text yet. I mean, you know she’s at work right now, so you couldn’t really expect her to respond right away. She’s probably been in meetings and can’t respond even if she has seen it. Plus, she took a long while to respond during work hours when you were texting pre-date. It’s fine, man. I mean, she said she’s down to go out again next week. You were smart, charming, funny. She stuck around for almost four hours. Four hours. She didn’t peace after one drink, so she’s definitely interested. That reply text is coming.
Anger (4 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Wait… there’s a read notification? How did I not see that before? From 10:34? Fuck, fuck, fuck. It’s been six hours and she hasn’t taken the time to text back? And she knows I know she’s seen the text from this morning. I mean, when you have your read notifications on, you know the message you’re sending by reading the text and not responding.
Goddammit, you screwed up. Why did you text her the next morning like a fucking moron? It reeks of desperation. If there was any chance she was still interested, you blew it. I mean, she dodged the kiss and you had to resort to the hug/cheek kiss at the end of the date. The only way she could make it clear she was less fucking into you is if she hip-checked you away like Zdeno Chara. Good job fucking this up, Columbo.
Bargaining (6 p.m. – 10 p.m.)
She still hasn’t texted me back. Goddammit. Do I follow-up and text her again? No, no way, man – you’re already in a weak spot if there’s even the slightest hope, back-to-backing it will kill that. Look, there’s nothing you can do now. Just put your phone away, go grab some Chipotle, eat, and come back. If she still hasn’t texted you then, you can fire up some Overwatch to distract you. Then you can check before bed. Just avoid looking at your phone man. A watched pot never boils.
Depression (10 p.m. – 7 a.m.)
It’s over, I fucked up. Again. Another really nice, funny, smart girl who appreciates a good Parks and Rec reference has deduced she can do much better than me. And, of course, she can do better than my out-of-shape, nerd ass. Goddamn, I knew I shouldn’t have broken up with my last girlfriend. I mean, sure, she was kinda heavy. And had that weird odor. And her friends were all really creepy. And she was a Penguins fan. But she was nice, and was willing to watch Lord of the Rings with sex intermissions between all three movies. That’s the best you were going to do, man. Should’ve just settled for spending Sundays watching hockey with creepy Pens fans that you hate. Fuck.
Acceptance (7 a.m.)
Well, another one bites the dust. Can’t let it keep me down. We went out once, I was into her, she wasn’t into me. Whatever, que sera sera. She’s not the first girl I wanted to date who wasn’t into me, and she won’t be the last. Let’s just hop back on Bumble and see if we can find another one.
Oh… Oh my God. She texted me back. She’s sorry she was so busy but she had a really nice time. She used exclamation marks and emojis. Oh, thank you, God.
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this painful cycle, but one thing I do know is that I’ll be doing it all over again once this girl does realize she can swipe right and find ten guys way better than me. So I’ll see you right back here in purgatory in about two weeks. .