LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION
On a wet Tuesday night, I met Jake on the 57th Street crosstown bus. I defended a woman who was being verbally abused by another passenger. Jake thought what I said was brave and chivalrous – he said he wished he’d had the nerve to speak up. So Jake invited me out for coffee. And I said, “Okay – how about right now?” He laughed and we hit Tom’s Diner for coffee and chocolate milkshakes. We really seemed to hit it off. And we ended up hooking up that night. Since then Jake has totally kept in touch but it’s only occasional flurries of text messages: “Hey” “How r u?” “What’s up?” Whenever I tell him what is up, he says “We should link up” or “Dinner soon?” But it just never happens. Excuses, delays, travel plans & he goes underground. He’ll pop up and text me hot & heavy for 15 minutes then disappear for weeks. It has been six months of the runaround. And it goes nowhere. What gives? Does he want me? Or not?
Chan is a great guy I met at a Labor Day Weekend party in Vegas. He helped me make guacamole three times cuz everybody devoured each batch like Gremlins after midnight. We ended up playing mini-putt golf in the back yard and playing water polo in the pool. By the time the Patron shots in the hot tub happened, Chan and I were all over each other. I ended up writing my number on his bathroom mirror with my favorite YSL lipstick. There’s great pictures of us together on Facebook. He’s always posting on my wall, sending me emails and messages but that’s all there is to it. I feel like I’m really getting to know him. But there’s no relationship, no substance. Chan is incredibly attentive in his communications and he asks when we are hanging out again but when I suggest a time and place he says “Cool.” And then he pulls another disappearing act. This just isn’t moving forward into anything of substance. Ugh! I’m so frustrated I wish I never met him.
Whether he’s got a woman already, is really busy with work or just shy, your guy is what’s called “e-ttentive.”
That means “electronically attentive.” He’s keeping in touch and tending to you through technology. He’s keeping your hopes up and you on the hook as a romantic/sexual possibility. What he isn’t doing is tending to you in real life or in any tangible way that translates into dating, spending quality time together or growing a relationship. It’s friendly but it’s really not a friendship either. So is it enough for you to bother with?
Like petting a cat or dog or feeding a plant, you are being dosed. By giving you just enough to keep you responding to Mr. Romeo, you’re staying on each other’s radar. He’s grooming you to stay satisfied with so darn little. It’s crazy-making to be trapped in this strange technological limbo with no means of changing the dynamic.
The problem is your guy’s e-ttention is just not satisfying. Texts, emails and Facebook posts make they guy seem friendly and even interested. It gives him a track record of contact if he ever wants to exercise the option to actually see you again. Some guys do it as way to obscure their purely sexual objectives. That way, their one-track mind isn’t obvious.
But what can you do in the meantime to deal with limited perhaps pointless e-ttention from your electronic suitor? To an extent, the power to change things is largely out of your hands.
It’s best to take a light-hearted stance toward your elusive Romeo. If you dig the e-ttention, just enjoy it. It’s like men who flirt at a party — flattering but nothing to get excited about. If e-ttention annoys you too much, shut it down. Say it’s been great to get to know him but it seems he doesn’t really have the time or interest to take things further than phone & social networks.