Some months ago I had the particular pleasure of swiping right on Tinder to make the acquaintance of your charming daughter, Miss Katherine. We live in a strange era where it is socially acceptable to admit to finding one’s life partner on an app designed to facilitate tawdry liaisons in the style of Craigslist casual encounters; and as such, I find it is rare to match with a beautiful woman between the ages of 22 and 30 living within ten miles of me who possesses such wit and elegance, while also meeting my criteria of having borne no children and having a tolerant disposition to the activities of 420. We have enjoyed each other’s company several times a week for some time now, and as is customary in such courtships, there is a tacit understanding of what is to come next. I am sure that you have been expecting to receive such a letter from your daughter’s suitor. With your blessing, it would be my true honor to string your Katherine along for a few weeks longer with vague promises to “definitely hang out soon!” despite my having already decided to never see her again.
Though I find the term crude, I believe that there is a certain elegance to the modern practice of “ghosting.” The world is a harsh and judgmental place, eager to label our complex and ever-evolving spirits with cumbersome words and phrases that don’t convey the depth of our true selves. Shall I forever be branded as the man who is “looking for a relationship” and “totally over my ex,” simply because I avowed to such sentiments at one point in time? And though I expressed my most fervent desire to “make this exclusive” to your Katherine just last night, is it so impossible that as a living, thinking, feeling man, I may have decided this morning to shut the whole thing down?
I have resigned myself to the reality that those around me will form a superficial assessment of me based on such trivial things as my statements and actions, and it is not my duty to correct them if their appraisal is incorrect. Does the entire world deserve to know of my every change of heart? I believe that certain elements of a man’s mind are to be treated as intimate secrets between only himself and his Creator, and perhaps the group text with his bros in which he confesses “yeah idk I’m not really feeling it with this chick.”
Language is a social construct, a system which aims to confine our wonderfully and infinitely complex souls to a finite number of inflexible and unfeeling letters and syllables: so, I ask you, why should I use words to communicate my rapidly fading interest in Katherine when a hazy cloud of mixed signals may bestow upon me the opportunity to tap that ass once, twice, or even thrice more, before disappearing forever into obscurity, like all the other men stored in her phone contacts under the surname of Tinder?
Your Katherine’s sharp wit and self-assurance are simultaneously the qualities which attracted me to her (before I found them utterly repellant) and which are inspiring me to my current course of action. Rather than risk offending her overinflated sense of self-worth with a swift yet gentle rejection, I believe it is far kinder to let her entertain the delusion that I might be into her. In anticipation of this charade, I have already alarmed her with casually perplexing comments implying that I may be a little too interested, such as what kind of wedding I’d like to have, and how many offspring I intend to sire with my future wife. These are comments that I hope she will dwell upon in the weeks to come, as she tries to reconcile their meaning with the meaning of the read receipt on her last text to me which will not provoke a response until days later.
Your daughter’s interest in me has brought me a marginal amount of happiness and a much-needed ego boost after the abrupt end of my last relationship, and it is with great humility that I ask of you the privilege to slowly remove her from my life. To ghost your dearest Katherine would bring me immeasurable satisfaction, and I pray that you deem me worthy of becoming a foggy memory of a person whose decision to “like” a Facebook photo of her with a new beau a year from now will inspire puzzlement and irritation. And I beg of you, give no hint of my intentions to your daughter; I most eagerly await the opportunity to not reveal them to her myself.
Zachary S. Collins