"Lauren" met "Mike" one night at the New York Philharmonic. Little is known about the exact nature of their interaction during their one date — though Lauren described it as "HORRIFIC" — but afterwards, Mike sent Lauren a 1605-word email reproach-cum-Jeremiad-cum-plea for a second date. It's now making the rounds, thanks to Reddit.
Here at this humble ol' Internet ladyblog, we have long derived pleasure from publishing the bizarre, the nasty, the clueless, the racist, the small-minded, the stalkerish, the over-dramatic, the bone-headed, the legalistic, and the just totally inexcusable communiqués of spurned lovers and cheaters and former flames and unstable (mostly) men. (But also women!)
That pleasure is, I have always thought, in the opportunity for validation such emails inspire: not only for the intended recipient, but for the readership of thousands who now have tangible proof that they are not alone, that other people get misguided missives from misguided people (even if not all of us who are in receipt of crap communications find they quite rise to the level of "Dear Melissa, It Does Not Take A Mathematician, Or Aristotle, To Realize I Am A Direct Descendant Of Zeus Himself"). Even if your personal experience of crap is more prosaic, pretty much everyone who's ever tried their hand at human connection gets that email from the ex, informing you one month after the fact that he "had to" put down the pet you had shared. Or that series of text messages from the bad blind date demanding answers, dammit, for why you don't want to go out again — which will swiftly turn condemnatory, should you respond in honesty, or at all. Publishing crap emails is justified not only by the consent of one of the parties to such publication, but because it's sort of healthy, and funny, and consciousness-raising. I guess we publish crap emails pour encourager les autres.
But what if you're weird? What if you're weird and have absolutely zero social skills and probably re-read Atlas Shrugged every year around your birthday and think yourself superior to others because you like classical music and you live in a culture (early-21st Century late-capitalist U.S. of A.) and work in an industry (finance) where people are every day rewarded for their total crappiness? Then you may not realize that crap email is an example of what not to do. Then you may find yourself composing and sending this:
——— Message From:
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2011 14:19:39 -0500
Subject: Hi Lauren
I'm disappointed in you. I'm disappointed that I haven't gotten a response to my voicemail and text messages.
FYI, I suggest that you keep in mind that emails sound more impersonal, harsher, and are easier to misinterpret than in-person or phone communication. After all, people can't see someone's body language or tone of voice in an email. I'm not trying to be harsh, patronizing, or insulting in this email. I'm honest and direct by nature, and I'm going to be that way in this email. By the way, I did a google search, so that's how I came across your email.
I assume that you no longer want to go out with me. (If you do want to go out with me, then you should let me know.) I suggest that you make a sincere apology to me for giving me mixed signals. I feel led on by you.
Things that happened during our date include, but are not limited to, the following:
-You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I've never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn't look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.
-We had lots of eye contact during our date. On a per-minute basis, I've never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you.
-You said, "It was nice to meet you." at the end of our date. A woman could say this statement as a way to show that she isn't interested in seeing a man again or she could mean what she said—that it was nice to meet you. The statement, by itself, is inconclusive.
-We had a nice conversation over dinner. I don't think I'm being delusional in saying this statement.
In my opinion, leading someone on (i.e., giving mixed signals) is impolite and immature. It's bad to do that.
Normally, I would not be asking for information if a woman and I don't go out again after a first date. However, in our case, I'm curious because I think our date went well and that there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship. Of course, it's difficult to predict what would happen, but I think there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship developing between us one day (or least there was before your non-response to my voicemail and text messages).
I think we should go out on a second date. In my opinion, our first date was good enough to lead to a second date.
Why am I writing you? Well, hopefully, we will go out again. Even if we don't, I gain utility from expressing my thoughts to you. In addition, even if you don't want to go out again, I would like to get feedback as to why you wouldn't want to go again. Normally, I wouldn't ask a woman for this type of feedback after a first date, but this is an exception given I think we have a lot of potential.
If you don't want to go again, then apparently you didn't think our first date was good enough to lead to a second date. Dating or a relationship is not a Hollywood movie. It's good to keep that in mind. In general, I thought the date went well and was expecting that we would go out on a second date.
If you're not interested in going out again, then I would have preferred if you hadn't given those mixed signals. I feel led on. We have a number of things in common. I'll name a few things: First, we've both very intelligent. Second, we both like classical music so much that we go to classical music performances by ourselves. In fact, the number one interest that I would want to have in common with a woman with whom I'm in a relationship is a liking of classical music. I wouldn't be seriously involved with a woman if she didn't like classical music. You said that you're planning to go the NY Philharmonic more often in the future. As I said, I go to the NY Philharmonic often. You're very busy. It would be very convenient for you to date me because we have the same interests. We already go to classical music performances by ourselves. If we go to classical music performances together, it wouldn't take any significant additional time on your part. According to the internet, you're 33 or 32, so, at least from my point of view, we're a good match in terms of age. I could name more things that we have in common, but I'll stop here. I don't understand why you apparently don't want to go out with me again. We have numerous things in common. I assume that you find me physically attractive. If you didn't find me physically attractive, then it would have been irrational for you to go out with me in the first place. After all, our first date was not a blind date. You already knew what I looked like before our date. Perhaps, you're unimpressed that I manage my family's investments and my own investments. Perhaps, you don't think I have a "real" job. Well, I've done very well as an investment manager. I've made my parents several millions of dollars. That's real money. That's not monopoly money. In my opinion, if I make real money, it's a real job. Donald Trump's children work for his company. Do they have "real" jobs? I think so. George Soros's sons help manage their family investments. Do they have "real" jobs? I think so. In addition, I'm both a right-brain and left-brain man, given that I'm both an investment manager and a philosopher/writer. That's a unique characteristic; most people aren't like that. I've never been as disappointed and sad about having difficulty about getting a second date as I am with you. I've gone out with a lot of women in my life. (FYI, I'm not a serial dater. Sometimes, I've only gone out with a woman for one date.) People don't grow on trees. I hope you appreciate the potential we have.
Am I sensitive person? Sure, I am. I think it's better to be sensitive than to be insensitive. There are too many impolite, insensitive people in the world.
I suggest that we continue to go out and see what happens. Needless to say, I find you less appealing now (given that you haven't returned my messages) than I did at our first date. However, I would be willing to go out with you again. I'm open minded and flexible and am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I wish you would give me the benefit of the doubt too. If you don't want to go out again, in my opinion, you would be making a big mistake, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in your life. If you don't want to go out again, then you should have called to tell me so. Even sending a text message would have been better than nothing. In my opinion, not responding to my messages is impolite, immature, passive aggressive, and cowardly. I spent time, effort, and money meeting you for dinner. Getting back to me in response to my messages would have been a reasonable thing for you to do. In addition, you arrived about 30 minutes late for our date. I'm sure you wouldn't like it if a man showed up thirty minutes late for a first date with you.
If you're concerned that you will hurt my feelings by providing specific information about why you don't want to go with me again, well, my feeling are already hurt. I'm sad and disappointed about this situation. If you give information, at least I can understand the situation better. I might even learn something that is beneficial.
If you don't want to go out again, that I request that you call me and make a sincere apology for leading me on (i.e., giving me mixed signals). In my opinion, you shouldn't act that way toward a man and then not go out with him again. It's bad to play with your hair so much and make so much eye contact if you're not interested in going out with me again. I have tried to write this email well, but it's not perfect. Again, I'm not trying to be harsh, insulting, patronizing, etc. I'm disappointed, sad, etc. I would like to talk to you on the phone. I hope you will call me back at xxx-xxx-xxxx> (if it's inconvenient for you to talk on the phone when you read this email, you can let me know via email that you are willing to talk on the phone and I'll call you). If you get my voicemail, you can a leave a message and I can call you back. Even if you don't want to go out again, I would appreciate it if you give me the courtesy of calling me and talking to me. Yes, you might say things that hurt me, but my feelings are already hurt. Sending me an email response (instead of talking on the phone) would better than no response at all, but I think it would be better to talk on the phone. Email communication has too much potential for misinterpretation, etc.
People were no doubt crappy to each other, and certainly did send each other crap, long before email was invented. But I'd hasard a guess that the pervasiveness of personal technologies, the laptops and smartphones and email-enabled digital devices that people in the West surround themselves with, has had the effect of significantly enlarging our personal space, and our own conception of entitlement. Entitlement to others' time, entitlement to an immediate text back, entitlement to answers, entitlement to diligent attention to their needs (paid by even the most casual of acquaintances), entitlement to repeatedly Google a woman who had chosen not to give you her email address until you found it, and share with her your Very Important Post-Date Analysis, entitlement, as Moe Tkacik once wrote, "to commitment."
Look back at our best crap emails, and they all revolve around this theme: I am not a mere human being among seven billion, but a PRIZE and that you have failed to treat me as such is baffling and probably immoral.
Mike would almost certainly agree.