Four Magic Words: “Just Let Me Know”

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.

  • Mechanical:

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.)

  • Physical:

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.”


Nerdy Romantic’s Online Dating Dictionary

In honor of Honey Boo-Boo — virtual “High Six’s” for everyone!

Mailbag Monday has arrived.

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

This particular situation has happened 3 times now in the last year: I meet a guy online. His relationship status reads “Separated.” We exchange several emails in which he flat out says he and his ex are ‘totes over.’ They just haven’t filed the paperwork yet because (said one guy) ‘it’s too freaking expensive to get a divorce right now’ — OR — (said another) ‘they’re trying to ease their children into the transition.’

Then we meet in person and in the middle of our date, the truth comes out: he stills lives with his wife and they continue to carry on a sexual relationship.

When did online dating become the game “Bullshit” — the guy puts down a card and I have to guess whether he’s lying or not?

a Sucker Born

Okay “Sucker.” I will give you exactly 5 seconds to feel sorry for yourself. (Bum)

rockyAnd then, you’re going to tear off your pity pajamas. (Bum-BUM-bum)

rockyAND put on that iconic matching grey sweatsuit and black ski cap. (BUM-BUM-BUM-bum-bum-bum)

rockyTraining Is In Session. And you — my little light-weight — are now armed with the ultimate secret weapon: An Online Dating Dictionary. My own personal Sexicon compiled after months of sweat, blood and tears decoding the words and images in guys’ online dating profiles.

Breathe it, live it, be it. And in the end, you will be “crapping thunder” and going all 15 rounds with Apollo “King of Sting” Creed himself.

Nerdy Romantic’s Online Dating Dictionary

(This is a “LIVING” reference guide; meaning, it is ALWAYS open to new submissions.)

— “Numbers” —

(Favorite time of day) 4:20: TRANSLATION — The only jewelry I will ever give you is a pot-smoke-ring.

(Height) 5’5″ & below: TRANSLATION — True to form.(P.S. Peter Dinklage is all manaliciousness!)

5’11”: TRANSLATION — 5’6″ to 5’9″. You’re not fooling anyone

6′ & over: TRANSLATION — Tall glass o’ water.

35 & older male; seeking women between the ages of 18 and 24; no education: TRANSLATION — Strip-Club Owner.

(Income) $150,000 & above, yet on OK Cupid: TRANSLATION — Not denominated in “US” Dollars, but rather in “Zimbabwean” Dollars.

— “A” —

Actor in a lot of “indie” projects: TRANSLATION — In L.A., I worked the Craft Service table on movie sets.

Auto technician: TRANSLATION — Grease monkey

Avante Gartist: TRANSLATION — I use my monthly, mental-health benefit checks to buy macaroni-noodle supplies, etch-a-sketches, and tiny toe-nail clippers to prune the bonsai tree growing out of my bathtub.

— “B” —

(In profile picture) Bushy Gray Beard: Translation — If the guy is neither Kenny Rogers, Santa Claus, or the Gorton Fisherman, then he is definitely trying to hide something beneath his beard; most likely, a second family.

(Looking for a woman who is) Beautiful on the inside and out: TRANSLATION — She must have Donna Reid’s brain and Gisele Bundchen’s body.

(I like) Bipedal forward propulsion: TRANSLATION — I am Rain Man

(Favorite movie) Black Swan: TRANSLATION — Favorite movie: “Wild Things,” which I’m watching right now on my laptop for the 33rd time as I fill this section out on my iPhone.

Brooklyn is my favorite place on the entire planet: TRANSLATION — I lived in Williamsburg for 6 months before the city did to my ‘too-cool-for-school’ attitude what a Dementor does to a wizard’s soul.

— “C” —

Raised Catholic but not religious: TRANSLATION — The guilt rendered after 15 years of Sunday school is burnt so deeply into my subconscious that every second of sexual gratification I feel is forever marred by paranoia, remorse, and the insatiable need to shower.

(Favorite author) Chuck Palahniuk: TRANSLATION — I am a Dude-Brah. I have man-parts. I eat meat. Grunt.

(Profession) Comedian: TRANSLATION — “Take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place, look a little closer it’s easy to trace”, the track-marks of my intravenous drug use.

Condom Chomper: TRANSLATION — Child, a.k.a. I’ve had a vasectomy and will never reverse it no matter how much you beg.

(Profession) Creative-Marking executive: TRANSLATION — I wrap my car in advertisements for money.

— “D” —

(In pictures I’m wearing) Deck shoes and Drinking “Black & Tan” beer: TRANSLATION — I am a Jagbomb.

(Profile is filled with) Dos Equis Man quotes: TRANSLATION — I’m the Most Uninteresting Man in the World.

Drama-Free zone: TRANSLATION — My last girlfriend shot me with a poisoned dart gun because her virtual Small World cockapoo told her to.


  • ‘No Way’: TRANSLATION — Only on special occasions like Christmas, a spaceship shuttle launch, or Tuesdays.
  • ‘Occasionally’: TRANSLATION — I am the King of Karaoke
  • ‘Regularly’: TRANSLATION — I woke up the other day on a park bench with my bicycle chained to my ankle, spooning a homeless man named Mr. Snuffleupagus.

— “E” —

(Last read) The Economist: TRANSLATION — I believe a highly accommodative Federal Reserve monetary policy is the solution to stimulating job growth, and the last thing I read was “Playboy.”

ESTP: Meyers-Briggs personality type. TRANSLATION — Expecting Stupid Test (gets me in your) Pants

(Profession) Experimental Musician: TRANSLATION– I play the ukulele in a Klezmer-Bauhaus cover band. We are big in Azerbaijan.

— “F” —

(Likes) Face paint and Faygo: TRANSLATION– I’m just a Juggalo.

(Favorite movie) Fight Club: TRANSLATION — No shit Sherlock.

— “G” —

(Last read) Garden & Gun Magazine: TRANSLATION — Last read “Playboy.”

(Likes) Goblin cider (and/or Butter Beer): TRANSLATION — I will want to role play with you

— “H” —

I HATE filling out these things: TRANSLATION — I just want to get laid but the girls on Craigslist personals are all whackadoos whose driver’s licenses have been revoked.  

(Profession) Health & Wealth Instructor: TRANSLATION — I flunked out of graduate school. No PHD in psychology? No Problem. I received my Life Coach certification after completing a 5-day intensive online course.

— “I” —

ICP: TRANSLATION — Insane Clown Posse

— “J” —

(Prefers) Jewish women: TRANSLATION — I really, really, really, really hope the rumors are true because I can NOT take another Baptist blue-baller.

— “K” —

Kid at heart: TRANSLATION — Man child

(Have) Kids? NO: TRANSLATION —

  • Don’t have kids
  • Technically YES but a court-ruled Protective Order ensures my ex-wife has full custody
  • Technically NO; my ex-girlfriend is only 5 months along

— “L” —

(Profession) Lighting engineer: TRANSLATION — I do the laser star-fields at Burning Man, man.

LOOKS are not important; it’s a woman’s personality and good nature that matters: TRANSLATION — Not being attractive is a total deal-breaker.

— “M” —

(Favorite movies) The Matrix, When Nietzsche Wept, They Kill Horses Don’t They: TRANSLATION — I’m a philosophy major. Stick with me, and you’ll be flying in Zone 4 Style. (See: “Higher Education”)

MENSA member: TRANSLATION — I memorize SNAPPLE Real Facts. Did you know the average human will eat an average of 8 spiders while sleeping? I did.

(Profession) Merchant Marine fisherman: TRANSLATION — I once killed a man just to watch him die.

— “N” —

(Last read) National Geographic: TRANSLATION — I smell of pine, know how to communicate with humpback whales, and the last thing I read was “Playboy.”

— “O” —

Open marriage: TRANSLATION — My wife thinks I spend my Saturdays at Bible Study group

— “P” —

(#1 thing I can’t live without) PBR: TRANSLATION: I should be in AA

(Profession) Pet masseuse: TRANSLATION — I flunked out of veterinary school for selling horse tranquilizers on the black market.

No PICTURE in profile: TRANSLATION — I’m either married or look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Plushopheliast: TRANSLATION — I only have sex while wearing a furry koala costume.

His PROFILE name includes any of the following words:

sex, salami, Mr. Johnson, doggie style, hot beef stick, pound the punanni, God’s gift, funbags, chief, wong4u.

TRANSLATION — His penis is the size of a Gherkin

(Favorite movie) Princess Bride: TRANSLATION — This is actually my ex’s favorite movie, whom I will never get over, and whose beauty and grace will haunt me like the Tell Tale Heart until I gratefully die.

(Profession) Puppeteer: TRANSLATION — I am a control freak

PUSH the limits of my body and mind: TRANSLATION — I am into erotic asphyxiation.

— “R” —

(I enjoy) Rainy days in bookstores: TRANSLATION — I really, really, really need to get laid

(Profession) Repels off tall buildings: TRANSLATION — Skyscraper window cleaner

— “S” —

(I have a) Sarcastic sense of humor that is often misinterpreted: TRANSLATION — I am a complete dick

Separated: TRANSLATION — I am actively seeking a new partner to replace my current girlfriend/wife while SHE is at home needle-pointing me and our pet Yorke matching wool sweaters for winter.

(Profile picture) Shirtless mirror shot with cellphone: TRANSLATION — I’m hoping my rippling abs and bulging biceps detract from the fact that my voice is as high as a pre-pubescent school girl at a Justin Bieber concert.


  • “No Way”: TRANSLATION — Pot doesn’t count
  • “Occasionally“: TRANSLATION — Only when I drink, which is hardly Never.
  • “Regularly“: TRANSLATION — I breathe through a hole in my throat

— “V” —

Vegan: TRANSLATION — I am a documentary film maker. I’m always hungry. I think I’ll make a movie about being a hungry vegan.


— “Y” —

(Newest interest) Yoga: TRANSLATION — I’m really hoping to nail this Tantric thing down come winter.


Dumbroll, Please!

When I first jumped down this crazy rabbit hole called online dating, a close girlfriend who had a good 5 months running start ahead of me offered this shiny gem of wisdom for the coming journey:

“Guys do NOT like a clever girl. Don’t be the one to initiate contact. Wait for them to “wink” or email. Then, play dumb until you actually seal a date.”

Hearing this from her – a drop-dead gorgeous, double PHD grad student in anthropology and medicine – was not “like” the Mad Hatter spouting jabberwocky gibberish to Alice. It was exactly that. I rejected her advice on moral principle, and ventured into the digital wonderland alone, determined to fight off an army of suitors taken in by my pun-tastic, “CLEVER” self.

ONE-plus year into this, I’m beginning to think my burbled jubjub friend was onto something.

The proof, as they say, is in the single, JELL-O pudding cup Saturday night watching “Dawson’s Creek” reruns.

Also, the first set of emails below — ones that fall into the (alleged) “clever” category — are actual messages I sent to guys that received NO, nil, nada response:

1. To guy who says he like “haiku’s” in his profile. I write:

             “Strike a match-dot-com/

             Hark, my baggy pantaloons/

             Stop, drop, rock AND roll.”



2. To nature guy who likes camping and sleeping under the stars, I write:

 “Up here in a friend’s North GA-cabin and I just saw a tailless squirrel! Do you think the ghost of Daniel Boone needed a new hat? Or maybe the critter brought a nut to a knife fight. Any thoughts?”



3. To high school grammar teacher:

“I’d like to see your dangling participle.”


4. To random guy who popped up in my Daily recommendations:

 “I think we might have a lot in common. I too enjoy the ‘little things in life.’ Flea circuses, pet sea-monkeys, anti-matter.”


5. To hipster-looking dude with mustache:

 “I’m curious. It’s a warm, sunny afternoon. Do you prefer to:

a.      Ride your bike to the farmers market and enjoy a hearty lunch in the park.

b.      Stay inside your cold studio and watch “Death Bed, the Bed that Eats.”

c.    Climb to the top of a weather tower to gather evidence as to why ‘global warming’ is actually the result of covert, Soviet climate controlled experiments.”


6. To guy who said he’s “fresh off the Quaker commune”  I write:

 “So, now that you live in the big city, how are you adjusting to life with electricity and pre-shucked corn?”



7. To other random guy who popped up in my Daily recommendations:

 “I think we might get along. You wrote that you’re looking for a woman who’s ‘beauty will bring you to your knees.’ And well, I’m a midget.”

 AND NOW — the next list includes those emails I sent 1 – only AFTER receiving a wink or message, and 2 -that got an immediate response and invitation to go out from the guy:

  1. Hey. I like your pecks. You look like you could lift a Porsche over your head with just your mind.
  2. Hey, the new Bourne movie is sooooo rad! You look rad too.
  3. Hey, I like your bathroom mirror shot. It really captures your angular jaw line.
  4. Hey, I’m a former nun just released from the convent in search of a new God to worship.
  5. Hey, since when did Ryan Gosling have a younger, hotter brother?
  6. Hey, are you a terrorist because those are some serious weapons of mass destruction.
  7. Hey, I have a really low tolerance for alcohol.

There is no moral to this story. There is only amoral.