I got stood up on Sunday night. Since one of my Queer Fat Femme values is to turn rage into productivity, I decided to share with you my Stand Up Survival Guide.
First, we need to define what Standing Someone Up really means. I feel like a date canceled on the same day, either by previous communication or a no show is a stand up. Of course, if a date is canceled with proper notice AND explanation (they have a health issue, unanticipated legitimate conflict) AND apology AND offer to reschedule, that’s not being stood up. Disappointing for sure, but life sometimes happens. I also want to point out that communication issues run rampant in dating and sometimes scheduling snafus come up. This is why I like to text a few hours before a date to make sure we’re still on*.
Mercury is in retrograde right now, which puts an additional cramp on communication, so I like to indulge that with extra benefit of the doubt.** However, even when loosely planned, if a time and day are blocked off to see one another in a romantic context, I consider it a date. When rejection is coupled with the additional disrespect of my time and energy, the offense is quadrupled.
So what do you do when you realize your date isn’t showing up? First, I always text and then call.*** This is where the pre-emptive text is helpful, because when you’re not hearing from them it gives you more time to create a back-up plan.
The best back-up plan is to corral a big group of people to go out and have a really killer night, whatever that means to you. My favorite night of being stood up was when I was 23 and in grad school and dating this girl who lived about 45 minutes away. We had a scheduled date planned for weeks and she called three hours ahead of time to cancel because she had to “study”. She didn’t need to study, but it was a flimsy excuse and I saw right through it. So I made some calls and had the kind of night out she would kill for and took lots of pictures. This was before myspace, but I’m sure if we had been socially networked I would have posted them. The best revenge is living fabulously.
I also like to take steps to move forward in my dating life. Often being spurned by one person helps me get past my completely irrational fears of rejection and is an impetus for bravery. So whether it’s asking someone for a date (on that fateful day in 2002 I totally asked out this 19 year old fledgling drag king at a workshop I was doing and she said yes) or just sending a flirtatious Facebook message to a friend of a friend, it’s important to take steps to keep your dating life moving past the disrespectful douche who stood you up.
Occasionally, you can’t come up with a killer night out back-up plan, or maybe you’re not up for it, so thus I propose a Personal Pity Party. This is especially good for those of us who identify as Pollyanna Optimists. We have to occasionally indulge in self-care and boo hoos and maybe that’s soaking in a bath, reading a sad book, watching a ridiculous movie that will absolutely make you cry*****, talking on the phone to a long distance bestie and whining about the “why me” of it all and dating disappointment in general. It’s really important if you have a Personal Pity Party that you commit to snapping out of it the next morning.
Since my weekend had already been quite whirlwind and fabulous and I was a bit under the weather with an irritating cough, I came home from an incredibly productive Femme Family meeting, ordered soup, talked to my BFF Spunky (who sadly predicted the truth of “She’s just not that into you”) and watched the Patrick Dempsey hit “Made of Honor”. Since I had already asked someone out (who said yes, btw) this weekend, I figured that was enough moving forward and I committed myself to doing things to enhance my wallowing for Sunday night only.
I woke up Monday feeling much better emotionally, though with a lingering cough, and still went to yoga to make sure my body was going to be feeling good this week, too.
I have a lot to say about rejection, which I will save for another post. However I am a big believer in “the sooner the better” in terms of ending something you know isn’t working and not wasting time. Time is a precious resource–my dates should show me respect first and foremost and always respect my time. Salvaging the time wasted by an irresponsible date is definitely turning rage into productivity.
*In fact, my Wednesday date texted me tonight to ask if we were still on, as she had written down the wrong day.
**Mercury’s Retrograde is like the Michelle Trachtenburg character Georgina Sparks on the hit show Gossip Girl. Comes to town and leaves everything all effed up for her own amusement.
***Sunday’s standing up was so out of left field I actually believed the girl might be in the hospital. That’s how benefit of the doubt/Mercury retrogade I was going with.
*****A few titles come up with at the Re/Dress counter last week were Steel Magnolias, It’s My Party, Hope Floats, Beaches.