Fool me twice, shame on me

I’m channeling Britney, with an “oops, I did it again” experience this week.

I’d hit a dating dry spell of late with the men I’ve been encountering being too geographically, economically, or intellectually unsuitable. In a moment of weakness, I saw a man online who’d flirted with me 8 months ago, but then mysteriously cancelled an hour before our first encounter. He never called to explain.

When I reached out, it was more to see if he could justify his behavior rather than my wanting to kindle the brief spark we’d had. He responded to my IM and apologized profusely for his vanishing act. He seemed sincere, and while his excuse was weak, I found myself enjoying our exchange.

Shortly, he asked if he could call me to chat, and I said yes. I was surprised he still had my number in his address book. When he called, he said how much he’d beaten himself up for flaking on me. Being naturally a bit skeptical, I was not falling for this hook, line and sinker, but also I tend to be a forgiving person (often too much so). (See “Are you too tolerant?“)

He made me laugh. He spoke intelligently. He seemed sincerely contrite. He asked if he could take me to lunch or coffee. I buckled and agreed to meet him for a late lunch the next day at a restaurant he chose half-way between our homes.

After we hung up, he emailed me the restaurant’s name, address and phone number as well as some recent pics of himself. We also had a brief IM conversation that included the following. He said he’d lost his cell phone and had ordered a new one which was to arrive within the next 2 days.

Me: Since you’re cell-less right now, what if I have to reach you en route tomorrow?

Him: If I don’t hear from you, I will be leaving my name with the hostess and she will give me any messages in case you call. I will also call you before I leave my home to let you know that I am on the way, and when I arrive at the restaurant. Either way, we won’t lose connection, and if you need to cancel or get hold of me, you may call the restaurant. I won’t lose touch with you ever again….

The next morning, I emailed him responding to a question. I heard nothing back via email, call or IM.

Going to the restaurant’s website to get directions, I noticed it was open only for dinner, thus leaving us in the lurch at our appointed time. Unable to reach him, I waited for the call he promised as he was leaving home so we could decide a plan B. I wasn’t going to get dolled up and drive to the restaurant before I heard from him as we might agree to another venue. Plus, he’d previously cancelled at the last minute so I needed confirmation he was going to show up.

He didn’t call to say he’d left his house, nor that he’d arrived at the closed restaurant, nor to see why I didn’t show up (assuming he did show up, which I doubt).

If I hadn’t noticed the hours on the restaurant’s website, I would have spent time getting ready, driving 30 minutes to the restaurant, then waiting for him. It’s been more than 24 hours since our appointed time and I’ve heard nary a peep from him in any form.

What could possibly go through a man’s mind to make it OK to say you’ll call then don’t, then not to call or reach out to see what happened ? Or to call and say you can’t make it? Or to set a date you have no intention of making? This is not only rude, but mean.

Yep, I did it again. I fell for his sweet talking. Shame on me.

However, I don’t understand what he could possibly get out of this behavior. Does he have a personality disorder that enjoys the playing with his prey, like a cat with a bug, but not the actual completion of the “catch”? If he was a scammer, he’d find a way to keep me on the hook until I gave him what he wanted. But what does a man like this want? Just to know he can get a woman to agree to meet him? Sounds pretty sick to me.


While this guy has me flummoxed, I have learned a lot about midlife men. I share what I know in Embracing Midlife Men: Insights Into Curious Behaviors. Get yours today!


15 responses to “Fool me twice, shame on me”

  1. Joan Price Avatar

    I can’t fathom what he got out of this either, unless he fully intended to meet you and then chickened out because he’s (a) married; (b) nothing like his photo; (c) a teenage boy; (d) two out of the previous three.

    If you hear from him again, send him the link to this post and wait for his explanation. Not that you should believe it.

    OK if I send my Naked at Our Age Facebook readers here to read this and weigh in? I have some very thoughtful followers, both men and women.

    Joan Price
    Author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Joan:

    Yes, do send your followers to this posting.

    I can’t send him to read this, as then he’d know my alter ego!

    I’m embarrassed but here’s the original posting:

  3. Joan Price Avatar

    See what they’re saying about your experience at

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    I second Joan’s comment. Online dating sites attract flakes because they are designed to be very anonymous, and consequence-free. Online dating will improve when it incorporates social proof, the way Facebook and Twitter do. I’ve heard that it is possible to get online dates by using Facebook and Twitter, but it’s tricky. Avoid the guys on social media websites who just have a long list of female friends. I’m not sure what is up with those guys, but they always have a very creepy photo that is very shadowy, so you can’t make out what they really look like. Only date guys who give you a clear photo, with NO hats, sunglasses or facial hair. Hats, sunglasses and facial hair make a guy look like he’s hiding something. 9 times out of 10 he is, and statistically it’s not worth the trouble weeding out the 9 to find 1 guy who just didn’t have a clue what type of photo to post. Pick only guys who post several photos of themselves, preferably several different ones showing them with relatives, a dog, doing some sort of outdoors activity, etc. Avoid the overgrown frat boys by avoiding guys who photograph themselves with any kind of alcoholic beverage in their hands. They are usually alcoholics (who else over the age of 25 would even think about posting a photo like that?).

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Oh, and NEVER NEVER NEVER give a guy a second chance when he either cancels or stands you up on a first date. He is probably insane. The one time I bended my rules and actually gave a guy a second chance, he cyberstalked me for about 2 years. I only hope he has stopped that now. I haven’t heard from him in over a year, so hopefully he has moved on to some other victim now. Good riddance to bad company.

  6. Lisa Avatar


    That is totally bizarre behavior! He is probably still with someone and is just playing around with the possibility of cheating and then getting cold feet? Of course you will totally forget him forever now!!

    I had a similar moment of weakness recently where I e-mailed a man I had gone out with a couple times about a year and a half ago who lived several hours away and who let it fade away. We probably weren’t right for each other at all, but I think we had a nice time together, and he had a really nice voice and I just felt like having a nice dinner with someone. He did reply by email, said how nice it was to hear from me, blah blah, but did not call me as I suggested. I felt like kicking myself, but what can you do?

    When distance or even across town is involved, I always try to be polite and suggest a meeting place halfway, epsecially if distance is involved, but lately I think if someone is really interested, he should offer to come to your town.

    Also lately I have come to the realization after years of internet “dating” that almost nothing a person writes or saids really matters at all!! It is probably way easier to post a few pictures, write one or two revealing sentencs, and then just meet! Nothing can control for that in-person sense of spark and connection and potential…

    I talked on the phone the other night to a man who had absolutely NOTHING on his profile other than his age. Only because I was bored and frustrated one night, I responded to his initial e-mail with some witty/flippant comment about that. We then exchanged a few e-mails and he sent a few pics. I actually had a really nice chat with him on the phone, so hopefully we will meet this week, and I will put the “empty profile” theory to the test.

    He had said in one e-mail that me driving 3 miles to his neighborhood did not allow him to be chivalrous, so tell that to Mr. Lost Cell Phone!! I would write that guy one funny but cutting e-mail and let it go.

  7. Brenda Avatar

    He’s a flake and this in an indication of how his life is completely out of control. I had similar incidents when I was in the dating pool (now married) and one man even tries to do the same thing three times with me – dating, then not calling, dating me etc and then flaking etc. He was so flakey as to keep me waiting on a Saturday for him to fly in from where he lived (he Vegas, me in LA) till 8:30 pm when he landed and called me from the airport. I had given up, and had gone out on my own……………

  8. Almita Avatar

    Sorry that this happened to you again. On the rare occasions that I have given a man a “second chance,” the man showed himself to be an ass. It’s rarely worth it . . .

  9. Johnc Avatar

    I’m male, over 40.
    The behavior of the man in question is not just odd, it is bizarre.

    On the one hand, this sucks because if guys over 40 are acting like this, it will give us a bad name.
    On the other hand, if this is my competition, I will win.

    Sorry you had such a weird, disappointing experience. Better luck next time.

  10. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Just in case anyone’s thinking, “Maybe he got in an accident and is in the hospital” you should know within 24 hours of our designated meeting time, he logged into the dating site where we met. So, he’s not been kidnapped, nor in a hospital. There really is no viable excuse for not calling.

  11. Joan Price Avatar

    “…within 24 hours of our designated meeting time, he logged into the dating site” — OK, he’s a total creep, maybe a sociopath, maybe worse. Now please stop tracking him and dump the guy — in your mind as well. You’re too fabulous to stay stuck on this semi-human creepozoid.

    Joan Price
    Author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex

  12. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Thanks Joan. Since college I’ve been fascinated with abnormal psychology!

    Don’t worry. He’s out of my thinking now.

  13. Richard Avatar

    Sounds like the type of guy who gets his jollies by getting a woman to agree to a date, but has no intention of following through. Probably married, or otherwise attached. It is his safe way of having the thrill of the chase. Getting a lady to agree to a date validates his worth. Some day, that thrill will wear off, and then he will need to take the next step and risk his relationship.

    Less likely is that he is not married/attached and is scared to meet someone in person. Less likely because he seems to be smooth with getting a date and making excuses (experienced). If he did have that phobia, it would keep him from even scheduling the date.

  14. Johnny Boy Avatar
    Johnny Boy

    I’ve since learned that when people cancel and disappear from the radar, or at least don’t offer a plausible explanation, to just ditch them.

    It’s rude when people show a lack of courage, or integrity, or whatever it is, but not at least having the decency to show the proper respect to someone you’re supposed to be meeting with.

  15. Sidney Avatar

    Great post and great comments too!!!
    I totally agree with Richard’s opinion. There are so many cowardly unsatisfied people out there….