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Dating and "The Fade"

Did Agent 99 fade on Maxwell?




You met, you were charmed, and you agreed to set aside time to get to know one another. Sometimes this goes swimmingly, sometimes it goes poorly. More often than not, it just doesn’t go anywhere, or you will do your damndest to make sure it doesn’t.

I've previously mentioned Toni and Stan and their different interpretations of their date (for lack of a better word). When I asked Toni how she expressed her disinterest in seeing Stan again, she spoke in bullet points. “He offered to pay, and I declined. I didn’t hug him goodbye, and I didn’t tell him to call me.” Would she have accepted Stan’s offer to pay for the meal if she were interested in seeing him again? “Probably. Instead I said goodbye.” However, Stan did call her and, after several embarrassing voicemails, sought me out for advice. (NOTE: This voicemail is only an example, and is not Stan.) I told him she wasn’t interested and that calling is futile before I’d even gotten her side of the story, because it was just that obvious.

This method of non-dating is known as “The Fade,” a phrase that will be capitalized from here on out, as it strikes some with the proper-noun seriousness of a near-death experience. Others give and take The Fade in stride. Andrea* can turn down an initial approach with grace: “No, thank you, though. I’m flattered. Even though I’m really not most of the time.” But after a bad date, she might not even stop at changing her phone number to get rid of a hanger-on. “I’ve considered it, just to fully cut all ties. Once I get suckered into that first date, I’m pretty passive aggressive about avoiding the next time. It’s easier that way.”

Many would agree with Andrea, but there’s also the camp that wants a solid response, which sometimes includes a valid reason why there won’t be another outing. Erin likes to say, “I just don’t think there’s any chemistry. It’s a good general explanation. The real reason there’s no chemistry is because he’s rude or smells. But if anyone actually said that, you’d be met with defensive indignation.”

Adam, the king of receiving mixed signals, has been told without prompting that “I talk too much, I’m too educated, and I’ve got my head up my ass.” Not nice words, especially when you didn’t ask. It’s better for both of you not to go into detail or offer a parting shot. We all understand that the presence of chemistry is inexplicable and any questions about it have no real answers. Personal dating deal-breakers are thoroughly subjective, and usually personally offensive.

Taking into consideration the circumstances of your initial contact and date, the mutual acquaintances you may have and any other possible associations, The Fade might indeed be the ending that involves the smallest expenditure of energy, providing a solid answer in its silence and inactivity. If you don't see an inexcusable negative trait in being selfish and putting yourself first, go for it with one caveat: “The fade doesn’t give you closure.” says Floyd. “But closure after one date? I mean, if you disappear after like, six months of dating, you’re an a-hole. But after one date? No way.”

 What do you think about the fade? Send me an email, or leave a comment below!