Let’s face it. Being stood-up is a humiliating experience. There are basically two types of the “stand-up.” Private and Public. The Private “stand-up” is the slightly less humiliating of the two, in that, it usually happens in at home where there is not an audience present to witness it. The Public “stand-up”, on the other hand, occurs in a public gathering place such as a restaurant or bar where multiple people can pity you as you look at your watch for the hundredth time and glance at the door every time it opens. In either form, the victim does not necessarily deserve the treatment. There is nothing unusual or distinguishing about the stand-up victim. She can be placed anywhere on the scale from drop dead gorgeous to can’t-believe-it-look-again ugly. She can be brilliant or braindead. No matter who she is, once she has been “stood up” she will experience the five stages of being “stood up”: Denial, Anger, Despair, Acceptance and Revenge.
When he doesn’t materialize at the designated time and place, the victim will, first, give him the benefit of the doubt. She will rationalize the situation. Perhaps he’s having car trouble, parking problems, or stopped to buy flowers. Perhaps he’s been in an accident and is lying in an emergency room somewhere. She waits patiently, taking care not to wrinkle her date outfit. Perhaps she’s have a glass of wine or two … or five to create the illusion that she had intended to be in that place at that time, alone. She may even call home to check the answer machine.
After rationalizing all of the possible scenarios, self-doubt sets in. She wracks her brain. Perhaps she misunderstood the arrangement. Is this the right night? The right place? More importantly, she focuses her energy on trying to not look pathetic. After an hour of “I’ll give him just five more minutes,” her denial turns to anger.
Once she concedes to the fact that the guy is just not going to show, anger sets in. So, where the hell is he anyway? He had better be lying in a ditch somewhere. Did this moron ever have the intention to show up? But wait, is it his fault? She searches for someone to blame. What about the so-called friend who arranged this set-up? She begins planning the torture to be inflicted upon the matchmaker. Someone must pay for this humiliation!
When she catches herself seething, she realizes that this is wasted energy and thoughts of self-loathing set in. I’m a loser. My selection criteria and process is so pathetic that I set myself up for disappointment. Why couldn’t I see this coming? No one wants to go out with me anyhow. I just know that a support group has been formed for the men who need to take twelve steps beyond the experience. They’re meeting in a church basement right now.
Then the sinking feeling in her stomach sets in. “Oh no, what am I going to tell my friends now? Especially now that I have spent the past week telling them how excited I was about this date.” “I told them that he was crazy about me.” At that moment, the stand-up victim must decide if she will tell her co-workers the truth or fabricate an elaborate lie about a fictitious date.
She’ll eventually concede to the fact that the date was just not meant to be. Things could be worse. After all, she could be sitting there a bouquet of balloons for the man who never showed. Instead, she could just go home or order another glass of wine and start flirting with the man at the end of the bar or call a good friend to come and meet her. They could sit there and laugh at the potential punishment she could inflict on the offender. Revenge is a sweet thought.
Revenge is one side of a very thin line. She doesn’t want to appear psychotic. She will spend time thinking about of the perfect soap-opera-esque thing to say if the opportunity ever presented itself. She’ll fantasize about delivering the one or two phrases that will leave him wounded and provoke an immediate change in his behavior.
She may choose to call and leave cryptic messages on his answer machine, perhaps demand an explanation. Depending on his level of popularity and her level of outrage, she might make an effort to ruin his reputation. Unfortunately, most revenge efforts only result in her looking foolish and bitter. But someone must pay! So she calls the friend who arranged the set-up and threatens to submit an invoice for the cost of the date-outfit, the mileage and time.
So another evening bit the dust. There would be other men, other self- doubts and other dating opportunities. A lesson has been learned and she would be a victim no more. The next time, if there is one, she will demand a valuable personal item or an imprint of his credit card as insurance that her date will materialize or face severe monetary penalty.