Oh boy. “The Fade.”
The infamous Fade has been a staple of human dating rituals since… gosh, it doesn’t really matter. You know what I’m talking about. Boy meets girl. Boy goes on date(s) with girl. Boy realizes that he is not into girl. Boy doesn’t call girl. Girl may attempt contact with boy. Boy ignores and fades into nothing. Girl eats caramels and moves on. The end.
I’ve been faded many a time in my life. I’ve even done some fading myself. The Fade is an established social convention indicating at least one party’s lack of interest in the other.
However, I’m not sure that all Parisian men are as familiar with the Fade as we are in the anglophone dating world.
I have attempted, on multiple occasions, to fade my way out of undesirable entanglements here. According to past experiences on American soil, this should have gone off without a hitch.
But, of course, upon arrival in Paris, hitches abounded, and the most illustrative example is someone to whom I refer as Mr. Gym Stalker.
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Mr. Gym Stalker worked the front desk at my gym. While I didn’t pay much attention to the front desk staff at the time, my gym buddy, the Irish Parisienne, pointed out to me that Mr. Gym Stalker had developed a little crush on me.
I laughed it off and just continued along my merry little way.
But one day, as I was on my way out, he summoned me over and told me that he needed to ask me about something.
Mr. G.S. : “I noticed that you don’t come here as often as you used to.”
Man-shopper : “Yeah, I moved. I only work out here if I’m in the neighborhood. I go to a different location now.”
Mr. G.S. : “Here’s the thing. I’ve been working here for two years now, and I can’t work out here anymore because people recognize me while I’m working out, assume that I’m on duty, and bother me.”
Man-shopper : “Uhhh, okay….”
Mr. G.S. : “It’s really difficult for me to motivate myself to work out at other locations, so I was wondering if you’d like to work out sometime at the location that you go to now. Planning to meet up with people motivates me more than if I were to just go by myself.”
Man-shopper : “Oh, ok, gym buddies are cool. Well, I go to spin class, you’re welcome to join me.”
And I thought that’d be it. I didn’t think that it would be a big deal, since I didn’t intend on returning to this gym location anymore. My move was finally official, and it was no longer convenient for me to trek out there. So, in my mind, this wasn’t a date, and I didn’t give him my number. This was just a… a nothing.
But then the phone calls started.
I had that gym’s phone number programmed into my phone, and I noticed that the gym would be calling me everyday, but nobody ever left a message. I didn’t bother call back, as I figured that if the gym had official business with me, they’d leave a message.
After a few weeks of this, I began to get lots of calls from a mobile number that I didn’t recognize, and sometimes from a masked phone number. Again, I don’t answer or return calls unless I know the number or if I’m expecting a call. These calls were really starting to concern me, as they would occur at least several times per day, sometimes as late as 11 at night.
I decided to approach this matter as if the caller were an undesirable and clueless suitor. I figured, the Fade should work eventually, right? I’ll just sit tight and be unresponsive until he gets the point and goes away.
A couple of months later of these persistent phone calls, I began to think that my phone was possessed. Who the hell would keep calling me like this without leaving a message??
I lived in fear of my phone.
I turned off its ringer.
One fateful day — my birthday, actually — I get a text message from the mystery mobile number.
“Hi, I just wanted to wish you a happy 27th birthday. All the best, Mr. G.C.”
So let’s recap the horribleness of this situation:
Mr. G.C. pulled my mobile number from the gym’s client files and proceeded to harass me for months without leaving a voicemail.
Mr. G.C. then pulled MY BIRTHDAY from my file and used the number acquired by inappropriate channels in order to harass me further.
My Fade failed miserably.
It had nothing to do with my technique. It is physically impossible to botch a Fade. Non-response is the easiest cop-out thing to do in the world.
But some creeptastic, stalkerish, dodgy Parisian men simply refuse to be Faded.
However, this is not to say that the Fade doesn’t have its uses on the Parisian scene. Even if the Fade fails miserably as a suitor-ditching technique, it is, however, a great way to determine whether one needs to consider taking out a restraining order.