Harry Houdini, full-length portrait, standing,...

Harry Houdini, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, in chains (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who is Mr. Houdini?

  • Any age
  • Any profession or economic background
  • Usually has an outgoing, confident demeanor
  • Extremely enthusiastic about dating you
  • Aggressive in their approach

A typical scenario with Mr. Houdini goes like this.

  1. You meet up after corresponding online
  2. He is the perfect gentlemen, totally excited about seeing you, pays for dinner, heaps you with compliments
  3. Begs you for a second date
  4. Calls, texts and emails often
  5. Emphasizes that he is a “relationship” type person and that he not looking for a fling
  6. Eventually gets you to sleep with him, then almost immediately
  7. You never hear from him again, just like Houdini he vanishes without a trace

Shades of gray exist with men like this, they don’t all follow that pattern exactly.  Some will check in after a few weeks, a month or several months have passed, with all sorts of excuses and explanations for why they disappeared post coitus.   And then of course there is Houdini light, where they disappear after a make-out session, or any sexual encounter short of actual intercourse.

What is going on here?  Are these men sociopaths?  Do they have borderline personality disorder?  More likely they are just immature, scared men.  They will say anything to get the prize they seek, and they usually just want sex.  I know men who have pulled variations of this scenario.  When I’ve asked them about it they tell me things like,

“I meant it when I was saying it”

As if somehow feeding a line of bull to a woman such as…

“I don’t sleep around, I want to have a committed relationshipor “I think we make a great couple”

Is OK because they meant it when it was coming out of their mouth.  Are you kidding me?

Other men have told me things such as

“Well I did mean it, but then once we had sex, it was so intense and I got scared….I realized I really didn’t want anything major”

So instead of telling you….

“Hey look, I don’t want anything major, I thought I did and I really meant it, blah, blah, blah…”

They will instead just blow you off, thinking that it is an easier solution that actually treating you with respect as a human being.

Some of these men will chase a woman for weeks, and feeding her lies date after date after date, and then POOF they are never heard from again.  I think it is a real problem in New York, because they can go right back to being anonymous immediately after the encounter.  They don’t share any mutual friends, they won’t run into the same woman without extreme effort and since they met the woman online it is easy for them to go back to the virtual world unscathed.  There are few consequences.  Sure some women might freak out, track them down, confront them and make a scene, or text them repeatedly, or hit speed dial for days on end.  But most of my friends who have been through this are so shocked, they usually don’t even know what hit them for days.  Making all sorts of excuses for why they haven’t heard from this new guy in their life they thought was so perfect.    For these men it is all about the hunt, and not about the collateral damage.

My friends who seemed to have survived these situations best, kept their dignity, maybe sent one harshly worded text, email or phone call, cut their losses and never looked back.  Freaking out in public is usually not worth the effort over these guys.  Although if you do find out that a would be lover is in fact married, living with someone or has a girlfriend, the best revenge might be to inform his partner.  In the long run you’re doing her favor.  This is dodgy though, as some people live in a state of willful ignorance about their partner.  She could turn on you, and then you would be a target of a crazed, angry and jealous woman.  I usually avoid these situations, but everyone’s different.  If the woman is a total stranger, you might just want to get the hell away from the situation. She’ll probably find out on her own anyway.  Most of these guys aren’t good about hiding their tracks.

What’s most pathetic is that most Mr. Houdinis don’t have to play this particular magic act.  Many woman past a certain age, are more than willing to have a casual sexual relationship with a man they don’t consider a boyfriend or a serious emotional partner.  It is all about honesty.  What makes these guys so insidious is their total lack of candor and transparency.

Some women do the same thing.  They act as if they care more about a man than they actually do, only to then cut them off like a dead limb on a tree when they land their conquest.  The worst type, of either gender or sexual orientation, are the emotional vampires.  Those who seek out to destroy existing relationships, simply to prove that they can do it.  They get off on the destruction and havoc they create.  Once they bed one of the partners, and leave ruin in their wake, they’re gone. For an emotional vampire it really is all about the hunt, and the biggest game is the prey that is already claimed by another hunter.

My only advice: proceed with caution.  If you have sneaking suspicion that you might be dealing with a man who will soon vanish…pull back, take time off from him and see how he reacts.  Ask blunt pointed questions.  Try to find out information about him online if possible.  With some of these guys there is little you can do.  Or you can decide to play the player, if you want sex and no commitment then go in, get what you want and leave.  The man might be shocked when you don’t freak out when he doesn’t call.  Personally I try to avoid these situations all together.  The sad thing is that if everyone was really honest about their intentions these scenarios wouldn’t happen.  When in doubt, never assume someone is genuine until they have given you sufficient evidence of their true nature.  Sadly some of the most earnest potential suitors are just players in a sweet boy costume.

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12 comments on “Dating Online – Mr. Houdini

  1. A

    I seem to be a Ms. Houdini, from time to time.. usually it’s more like, yes, I do want a relationship with this person, and then as soon as I sleep with them there’s something major that turns me off and I can’t do it again. Instead of telling them “I think that this thing you do is completely unattractive and can’t continue sleeping with you”, I find it most humane to simply disappear. The last violation was receiving a text immediately after our last date saying “I can’t wait to have you again”. I HATE that wording, HAVE me, like dinner. Now all I can think about is being had, like, on a plate, with little roasted baby carrots and a side of corn. I’ve never been turned off so quickly. If something like that would turn me off, the connection probably isn’t strong enough to sustain a relationship anyway.

    1. julietjeske

      I can relate a bit. There are certain things that completely repulse me in that department. Tentativeness, wimpy behavior or overly sappy comments. You never really know until you try it, so even though I am extremely careful about “going there” with someone new. If the experience is HORRID, I cut my losses and get out quick. I would tell the person though, I might make something up, but I chatter away uncontrollably so I guess a verbal breakup is my weapon of choice. The blow off just stings so horribly. But that is just me.

    2. julietjeske

      You totally misunderstand the text msg. issue. What that man is doing is a booty call. I have never slept with him and I barely know him. He is only texting me at night on the weekends, and his texts are a bit rude. If he wanted to get to know then he should put a little bit more effort in to it. But he doesn’t. He told me right off the bat, he doesn’t get emotionally involved and I am taking him at his word.

      And that is not my thing, so I blow him off. I could easily get that situation with any number of people, that I find more interesting. Just being attractive does little for me.

      You are making leaps here, sorry but you are. One blog post at a time.

  2. julietjeske

    Again, Dave you are using the term “you” to describe this situation. This has never happened to me. So when you say “you” it is intensely too personal. And it’s a tad creepy. I might delete this comments and future ones. You are also extremely judgmental towards ME personally and again, this story isn’t about me. This didn’t happen to me.

    And hate about men? Or hate about dating online?

    I think I mention the female version of Mr. Houdini, the female version of Mr. Online Only and the Female version of Let’s keep it Casual in every blog.

    Please lay off of the personal attacks and write your own damn blog.

  3. julietjeske

    You are still making a personal attack against someone on this thread, and isn’t really the point of the blog or the thread. If she slept with some guy and she decided she didn’t like him, then she is the female version of Mr. Houdini, I think that is quite clear. You don’t have to take it upon yourself to personally attack her. I had other friends complain about you to me privately. They made a reference to one of your comments on my Facebook. So you were already on thin ice. It isn’t censorship, it’s my blog and I can do with it whatever the hell I want. If you write a negative comment into a magazine they are not obligated to print it, and when you make personal attacks against myself and about other people on this thread, then you are crossing the line. That isn’t sharing opinions, that is just rude.

    The damn blog has been about dating because it is popular, the views go way up, so I figured that is what people wanted to hear about so I kept going. I am a woman, and I write about what I know, but in every case I pointed out a female equivalent, except for The Wife Shopper, so you are flat out projecting as far as the “man hatting” goes.

  4. julietjeske

    And by the way it is common practice on blogs to not allow personal attacks. I blog for the Huffington post and the filter every single comment. It is standard practice. A lot of blogs filter for profanity too, but I don’t care what fucking language you use, but I do have a problem with you attacking me or someone else. That is not how to argue. It’s LAME. You don’t have a RIGHT to post anything here. If you don’t agree, then start your own blog. The only reason I missed that comment was that I accidentally had this account set up incorrectly, as it is a new account.

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