December 31, 2009

Reader Submitted Quick Rant: Switch Flippers Must Die

We got this submission from our reader Christine about when a guy acts superinterested then flips the switch and backs off. It's not a new thing in the dating world, but it's still entertaining to read about it.
I was out at a bar and it was my birthday, so I was nowhere close to sober. My friends and I were dancing and they started talking to this guy. He was good looking, had a great smile, and was really nice. Somehow we ended up talking too and then making out. Classy, I know, but it happens. The whole time we were talking/making out, he kept telling me that he really wanted to see me again and he wanted to take me out to dinner, blah blah blah.

So, we continued talking, he kept telling me how he reallllly wants to see me again, how he never does this, rarely goes out, never hooks up with random girls etc. Fine, up to this point, who cares. The next day, I went to New York to see some friends. I got a text from him saying "Despite my behavior last night, I'm a good guy and I'd like to show you. Have fun in NY but text me when you get back so we can meet up." I was totally excited!  

When I got back from NY--less than one day later--I texted him to tell him I was back in town and to see if he wanted to hang out sometime that week. And...

NO REPLY. Really?!? What could possibly have changed his mind in ONE day?!

After texting him once more a couple days later and resigning myself to giving up if there was no response, I get a reply saying, "Hey, I'm going home for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but I'll def talk to you when I get back on Monday so we can hang out." I think we can all guess what happened here: no text on Monday. So, my hopes have been raised and then slammed back against the rocks again.  I  haven't heard from him since.

I realize this is a small example, but honestly, if you aren't interested, don't text me the next day and act like you are. Sheesh.
Guys are weird.


Unknown said...

Dear Schmitten Kitten,

As a guy who's flipped the switch on many a hot chick, I'd like to offer a brief explication of why I've mysteriously backed off from the enchanting young dish in whom, just one day prior, I had been so completely enthralled.

I panicked.

In the 24 hours of succumbing to the supreme softness of her skin to disappearing unexpectedly down an existential rabbit hole, I had unwisely considered all the things she would soon discover about me -- and I froze like a stone angel.

You could consider my actions a preemptive break-up, since it was clear that she'd do so eventually, but only after I'd become emotionally invested and had forged for her a mix-tape of 70s Glam Rock songs. I had seen myself reflected in her as just another lousy Major Tom, floating in my tin can of mediocrity, on a one-way trajectory to the dim red star GJ1214.

As a fan of Schmitten Kitten and Brit-Lit classics like "Bridget Jones's Diary," I'm fully aware of the lofty expectations that modern-day women have for their eager suitors. Or, at least, I think I am. Not to be hyperbolic, but I'd rather be shot with a bronze-weighted arrow from Odysseus's bow than make a play for the wanna-be Penelopes I see about town.

Sadly, I'm one of those people who has trouble separating reality from fiction. Moreover, I have an active imagination. So, in the fold of time between our sweet parting and my follow-up maneuvers, I had compared myself to Mr. Darcy, JFK Jr., and 007-era Sean Connery and come up short. Woefully short. To begin with, I've never had the correct height (hair color, square jaw, or casually-earned fortune) to hold on to a pretty young thing like her.

Instead, like a Nostradamus of relationship humiliation, I foresaw her look of bitter scorn when she discovered how unlike her fantasies I really am. I had felt the biting chill of her contempt upon discovering that I could not yet afford to support the family she one day planned to spawn. It dawned on me that my only virtue had been that I was standing next to her the moment the hormones were released into her bloodstream. Indeed, I had been nothing more to her than a convenient tongue.

So, rather than redress my own limitations, it was easier to pretend I had never met her. Going on a first date meant having to confront the epic failure that was me. In spite of the bliss I had felt with her hips in my hands and her chest pressed against mine, I now dreaded the moment I would first appear at her door and be subjected to a silent, withering appraisal of my choices, such as whether or not I had recommended grabbing a beer at a dive bar that was --gasp! -- in her own neighborhood.

Ironically, my switch-flipping was an immediate expression of how much I liked her. Had she been less than wonderful, I would have had no problem setting up a first, second, and third date. Had she not been the kind of girl I'd take home to mother, I would have been charming and chivalrous to the nth degree. There'd have been nothing -- not my ego, self-image, or anemic economic potential -- on the line and so everything would have been roses. In fact, it was the hoped-for future that had fatally damned the libidinous present.

Hence, the beauty of her perfection (as someone I'd like to eat a basket of cheese fries with) caused her to appear flawed in my eyes. She shone so brightly that I was marooned in her shadow.

To save myself, I had to vanish.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a load of BS to me. That explanation will not get you laid.

Anna said...


I had to double check who submitted this comment because I swear it could've been written by my ex. I'm gonna tell you a secret: I cried when I read what you wrote. It broke my heart.

I've fallen in love with guys like you who've worked themselves into a tizzy when they realize HOLY FUCK, I COULD REALLY FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS GIRL. It's like their forcefield zooms up. And, I apologize, but I'm going to address you as if I were addressing them.

There's no reassurance big enough that I could give to change your mind, set aside your fears and explore what we could become. It sucks because I love how stubborn you are, even when you're stubbornly cutting what we have short. How could a woman like me love someone so flawed, you think. If I were to argue that I love all those things that you seem to feel wouldn't measure up, you'd wave it off. I'm helpless to your overactive mind. I can't even compete.

What we try to accomplish with our Tip Our Hats posts is to let guys know the unconventional things that we love about them. All the things you decide that I could never love about you, well, what if I did anyway? What if I love your crooked smile? Or, the way you scarf down pizza and don't wait for it to fully cool down? Or, I love how you don't come from money but you value family above everything else? Or, I love how you are just the right height for me? That's all I need. You're all I need. Where do you get off deciding that you'll disappoint me with your perceived shortcomings when you're all I've ever needed?

You have no idea how crushed I feel when I see you out with another girl who I KNOW doesn't compare to me. Does she laugh at your jokes as hard as I did? Does she kiss your ears in the same spot that I did? To know that she gets to meet your family, to hear about your tough day at work and to be the last person you talk to before you sleep at night and be the first person you see in when you wake up stings. It's not fair. She gets to enjoy the reality of you and I get nothing. All I am is a fleeting thought during a quiet minute.

I wish you could shut your brain off and just enjoy this gift we've been given. You've missed out on so much by vanishing. Has it been worth it?

Eric, thank you for being so articulate about what goes through your mind. I know we've never met but maybe you'll be inspired to wait out your panic the next time and just make your girl happy.

Anna said...

Eric, email me. I wanna ask you a question. anna at

Unknown said...

Eric, does this mean guys that do call us just aren't that into us? This seems like a trick.


Julie said...

I would love for the reason that every man has ever rejected me for is my sheer awesomeness but I kinda doubt it. I'm gonna go with a) that found a hotter piece/an easier lay b) they kinda like the fact that I'm into them even if they're not so into it c) they really, really, wanna be into me because I'm so cool but they're just so not. I think Eric is sweet as pie but I think when most men meet a woman they think is amazing they do everything in their power to not screw it up and keep her near and dear to them.

Anna said...

Julie, I agree with you about why a guy would bail on a casual hookup. However, I think he hit the nail on the head about why guys bolt right when things become serious. Either way, I really liked reading his take on things. I could read it all day!

Unknown said...

Alison, the guys that do call are the good guys, the keepers. Don't waste your time on the guys that play games. The nice guys may not be the coolest or best looking but there not d-bags.

Jon K said...

Pro tip: any guy that will actively tell you unprompted that he's a "good guy" is not a good guy. If he was, he wouldn't need to say it.

Anonymous said...

Man, I don't know... I've been a switch-flipper lots of times. I guess I just don't see what the big deal is. Sure, it's disappointing (I've sure as heck been switch-flipped, too), but it's not like after a date or two you're going to need years of therapy.

Sometimes it just goes. Sometimes you realize that you've talked yourself into something.

I can't help but think that this sort of thing is the price of freedom and liberty. Once upon a time, a guy had to jump thru a lot of hoops even to meet a girl. Now we meet six girls in a night and we do it DRUNK half the time.

What the heck do folks expect, you know? Everything goes so fast and crazy that you just never know where you'll be the next morning.

Heck, people (and girls definitely do it too) can switch-flip even if they LIKE The person. Sometimes you just have to stay single a few weeks more. You just can't face another date quite yet.

I don't know... it just seems like one of the countless ways that things can go wrong in a world where anything goes, but not really all that awful when you put it in perspective.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I should point out that I'm contributing to the conversation as "a guy," rather than as "all guys" or even "an average guy."

I'm the first to admit that I'm a couple standard deviations away from the true average dude. In fact, I've never been a dude and wouldn't know how to be one even if someone paid me.

However, I have a personal history of flipping the switch on amazing women I wanted to date but found myself inexplicably unable to contact. My reasons for behaving this way are just that -- my reasons. I offer apologies neither for myself nor for all men everywhere.

I do, on the other hand, offer insight into at least one guy's reasons for not following up with a pretty young thing he was so obviously into only 24 hours earlier. I assure you that my self-analysis is neither a trick nor a jejune ploy to get myself laid.

Most significantly, by offering a counter-example, I've disproved the theory that the only reason a man flips the switch on a woman is because he's not interested in her. Unfortunately, as I don't work for the CDC, I'm unable to offer an epidemiological analysis of how prevalent my type of behavior might be.

All I saying is that I'm insecure enough to repeatedly allow wonderful, beautiful women to slip through my hands because I have such a low estimation of my ability to hang on to them.

Of course, there's always the possibility that my estimation is precisely correct. Rather than insecure, perhaps I'm just really perceptive. It's quite possible that my lack of follow-up was the right choice for all parties. Sad, I know, but likely true.

Anonymous said...

eric e's original comment was truly mind-blowing. it has been haunting me for days. it was so honest. it even inspired my new year's resolution to be more honest. with myself. with others. to not let fear reign. fear is a relationship rapist. however, eric's second comment disappointed. especially that last paragraph that was replete with the typical arrogance of an insecure person. we can figure out what is right or wrong for us on our own. thanks anyway for trying to take care of it for us.

Anonymous said...

Dear pattypunker,

I'm not sure what I've done to deserve such a hateful and spiteful comment. My second post was about me and the way I see the world. Where did I suggest that you are unable to figure out what is right or wrong? When did I attempt to take care of something for you?

How am I arrogant for contributing to a conversation? For offering a personal perspective? Just how much more hatred do we need in the Blogosphere?

In case you were wondering why the males in your life do not share with you their thoughts and feelings...

In any case, I think I've made a mistake here.

Best of luck.

Anna said...


I think you're being too harsh on my new friend. He's already freely admitted all of his faults. Let's leave it at that. There's no need for any negativity.

It's a wintry Sunday. Have a beer. Life is good.

Anonymous said...


In your last paragraph it seemed you were contradicting all of the beautiful insight and honesty you had given us, "Rather than insecure, perhaps I'm just really perceptive. It's quite possible that my lack of follow-up was the right choice for all parties."

Maybe it was right for you. Does it occur to you that we'd like to have a choice in this? Maybe we think we're better off WITH you. By being really perceptive and blowing us off as a premptive strike you leave us powerless. And you maintain complete control. Think about it.

Try to let go and give one of those beautiful woman a chance to judge for herself whether you are right for her not.

In answer to your other questions, contributing to a conversation and offering a personal perspective are certainly not arrogant. Your words were amazing and very welcome. You made no mistake in my estimation. Sorry you felt there was hatred there. Just good old fashioned debate.

Enjoy the ride.

Anonymous said...


Sorry I didn't see your comment until now. I must have been drafting this when you published yours

I agree. If anything, I hope that came across in the last comment.

Jess of said...

Great discussion all. Great parallels in the post by Julie G. today about tight rope walking. I think its painfully hard for us to be direct and honest in dating. And very often, when we do, we scare the living daylights out of OURSELVES. And then comes the back-pedaling...

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