We all know about the missing sock phenomenon. Pre-wash, all sock pairs are present and accounted for. Then, post-wash, 1 sometimes more ankle grazers go missing, inexplicably lost into the laundered abyss.
This is a story of the missing Cock phenomenon. See if you can relate:
After a few flirty emails, you and your online match finally decide to meet in person. You arrive at a local café at 6 pm, prime casual hour. He walks in. You spot each other immediately. You can’t hide your relief that for once, he actually resembles the guy in his profile pictures. He smiles wide. You smile wide. The date takes off like a paper airplane on the moon.
Hours pass in engrossing, uninterrupted conversation. No awkward pauses. No forced topics on favorite music and movies. You talk about your dreams and passions. You share intimate stories of childhood pets dying in your arms after 15 years of unconditional love. Then, practical jokes played on friends and family. The exchange is like the perfect mix tape, pensive songs followed by poppy beats, back down then up, Thom Yorke to Tom Petty, somber… sweet… silly.
6 pm somehow turns into midnight. The café staff starts stacking chairs on tables. He says he doesn’t want the date to be over. You agree. He settles the bill. You go on a walk through the city, quieted by its quiet, as comfortable in silence as you were steeped in chatter. At last, you both agree the night that has already ended must end. He walks you to your car. You embrace. He says he can’t wait to do this again. You agree, and drive home wearing a huge, shit-eating grin and eyes glazed over by the haze of a long-forgotten hope.
Then, tomorrow passes into 3 days into 5. Not a word. Not a cricket chirping. The kind of silence that devours a dense forest right before a demon presence falls upon it. And in that time, you apply FOUR kinds of logic to the experience:
- Psychological: (In hindsight, this is definitely the most cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs of all lines of thinking.)
Sounds like: Clearly, he’s terrified by how strong his feelings are for me. He’s intimidated by my winning combination of wit, warmth, and charm. He’s in total anguish by the fact that he has found his dream girl but isn’t yet the man he knows I deserve to have.
Sounds like: My phone must be broken. I can dial out, but clearly for some reason, nobody can dial in to my number. I’m going to call all of my friends and ask them to ring me back as a test. (Note: If it does work, then obviously his particular carrier is not compatible with mine.)
Sounds like: Oh dear god! He’s been hit by a Mack Truck/ Space debris/ sniper/ Rogue Wave on his way home from picking me up a bouquet of flowers for our next date.
- Metaphysical: (aka, the XY-Files)
Sounds like: Por dios! He has fallen through a tear in the space-time continuum and is now forever trapped in a parallel universe for which our lives will never intersect again.
And/or: I imagined our whole encounter while immersed in some hallucinatory Fugue state/ sleepwalking fantasy. In this case, I return to the place I dreamt we met, where the employees recount the still-talked-about night I sat down in a booth and engaged in a rapturous conversation with myself for 6 hours.
4 stages later and you’re still out of one’s fruit tree because in the end, there is no reasonable explanation for the post-amazing-date-blow off. It’s making you unglued which only further feeds into the stereotype that all women are emotional freaky-deaks. To which I say:
That 80’s movie where Harrison Ford goes into the shower only to come out and find his wife missing from INSIDE the hotel room isn’t called “Even Steven” or “Cool as a Cucumber.” It’s called “FRANTIC!” because sudden, inexplicable disappearance is un-fucking-nerving.
So, here’s what happened.
In the afterglow turned blow of yet another one of these missing cock experiences, I called my stepmother to gripe and moan. And all of a sudden, she had this brilliant idea for how to get the closure I so desperately needed. Don’t call him. Don’t email him. Simply text him FOUR specific words: “JUST LET ME KNOW.”
Just Let Me Know: So simple yet so profound. Not aggressive. Not accusatory. Just one human being asking another human being to do the decent thing: Just let me know if you’ve had a change of heart, a change of address, a change of sex.
And 9 times out of 10, the response is immediate. Days, maybe weeks of crushing, ambiguous silence stopped dead in its tracks. And yes, 9 times out of 10, it is exactly what you expect it to be: He has had a change of heart. But seeing those words after simply imagining them – while it may sting at first – makes it possible to finally let go and move on.
So ladies — from Obi Won Kenobi (i.e. my step-mom) – “USE THE FOUR WORDS, THE FOUR WORDS WILL SET YOU FREE.”