Are MAN-TIED? Manti T’eo and Lennya Kekua—it’s not so unusual . . . In online dating? Are you kidding?
“Manti Te’o acknowledged to ABC’s Katie Couric that he maintained the illusion of his dead girlfriend in the weeks after he received a call claiming that Lennay Kekua and her death were hoaxes,” according to a CNN article.
Of course, this could never happen to you, right? WRONG! Every time you are ONLINE led on by someone who’s connecting with you, texting, calling, and causing you to move into high hopes and big expectations, you’re re MAN-TIED.
Take Kate. Educated, good-looking, independent woman friend. Mr. X responds to her profile. They appear to hit it off. Kate has been looking for MR. #1 for a while. Lots of dead ends, goofballs, idiots, liars and some rebuffs. Some desperation. She’s quite happy when this one seems on be on track. But Logical Kate knows logically it’s nothing more than a connection. What she doesn’t know that she’d more delighted than she may know. Her brain is in need of a good boost of happy neurotransmitters. They rush out and make her happy but they are not done with her. Her reward center, the one that is connected to love, sex and desire is switching on.
Kate and Mr. X begin texting one another. Back and forth they bat cute comments and quips. “We’re so much alike,” she says to me at dinner. While she is thinking she might have just discovered her other half, I want to bleat, “What do you except? Do you think he’ll tell you he doesn’t like romantic flicks?
He’s in Panama digging the canal and they can’t yet meet. He’s collecting insects for a research project. He doesn’t like the phone. Her comment, “He’s an intellect.” My thoughts? Can’t make himself available, travels a lot and bugs, the bug thing is a turn off. “Does he know that you call the exterminator for fruit flies?”
Three weeks go by and she has callouses on the finger tips. X is wonderful, considerate, and funny. She’s imagining his home, the smell of the blueberry pancakes she knows he’s cooking. She pulls up his profile and tells me to read a line she’s intrigued by.
“I like the ordinary, I find consolation in the ordinary events of the day, a butterfly on a flower, the morning dew on a blade of grass—oh war is not me!”
“He’s deep; he doesn’t seem to need a lot to make him happy.” Here is what I hear. Ordinary. Who doesn’t appreciate the simple things? And who the hell would say “I like the complicated things in life. And that war thing? Where did that come from? Day by day imaginary boyfriend grows larger than life and they’re imaginarily traipsing through her mind and imagination. Suddenly Walt Whitman-Alan Ginsburg is going on hikes with her; she’ll bring brie and wine. He likes Pinot Noir. “I’m going to take X to the nature conservatory, what do you think? “There’s the new art exhibit in town, German Expressionism. I felt like Munch’s The Scream, and I did. “This guy isn’t real—you’ve never met him!”
It’s week four. Suddenly X’s opinions matter. “So today, X, said that there is going to be a wheat shortage in Italy and the price of pasta will soar.” as a consummate Italian, normally a pasta-world-crisis would pull me out of a deep sleep. I look at her. “Since when is X a part of your opinions?
“You know, we’ve been talking for over a month. It’s like we’ve been on thirty dates.”
“If you had really been on thirty, dates, made it to thirty dates, you’d be having great sex, wonderful meals, holding hands and spooning as you planned moving-in, a honeymoon or a vacation. You’d know his family, kids, and all his nuances.
Nuances? Yes, the shit that can make it our break it. The throat clearing, nasal spray he just have to use—and God forbid the wandering eye.
“My friend Bunny dated a guy with wandering eye. She couldn’t tell from the camera shot, his eye had a three second fix point but then it would move off to the side. She had to take Dramamine just to follow his conversations.
“Whew, you got me worried.” Said Kate. “I was thinking about the other wandering eye, you know the kind of guy who can’t focus on you and as you’re talking, he looks off and follows some bouncing ass across the room.
“Oh, he had that too, In fact I think that’s how got it—eye torsion, he was the worst cheat.”
Week five. Imaginary boyfriend is stalled in the amazon. No contact for three days. I was waiting for him the send her the ransom note looking for money. I packed her and her vodka up and we went to my house for the weekend. An artic storm hit and the power went out. She sat in my snowbound car charging the phone and waited for her imaginary boyfriend to respond.
“I sent him five texts today and he hasn’t answered! Do you think that’s too many? I mean after all he could be kidnapped, he could be sick, I’m just concerned.”
“No you’re desperate.”
My friend was man-tied. Her emotions were Shanghaied. It could have been deliberate; he could have been pranking her. Or he could have been living out a pseud relationship just to have semi-phone sex and a feeling he was really dating. Dabble-dating, a form of flirting. Anytime anyone amps up your amorous expectations and doesn’t come through you are Mantied. T’o-ed.
RULE: Keep texts and emails brief, unemotional, light and to the point. Unless you want an imaginary friend, you need to meet. If they can’t, you ask them when they think they will be back from Mount Everest, the golf tour, digging in Egypt and say, “I will contact you again when you are free.” Don’t stray. Don’t be weak. Don’t succumb to keeping even a light contact.
Why would you do that-desperation? You think he’ll find another love if you snap the chord. Well, consider this a test. A serious guy will want to get down to business sooner than later.
Did friend ever meet him? Yes. After months imaginary boyfriend showed up. He had a voice like Mr. Rogers. Yes, the Mr. Rogers. The man with the Kids TV show. And he was wearing a cardigan.