Yesterday The Other Charlotte blogged about an article by U.K. Spectator contributor Charles Glass concerning some women who had stood him up on dates via e-mail, on one occasion, apparently, when he was already at the restaurant chatting up the waiter while awaiting his beloved’s arrival. (I haven’t read Glass’s piece myself because my registration at the Spectator is bungled, and no one there seems to be able to fix it–ah, Euro websites! But you can read TOC’s post here.) Our Inky readers were all over the post, perhaps because e-blowoffs are a phenomenon here, too.

Here’s E.B.:

“Unfortunately, I think the reality is that bad manners are becoming institutionalized and are not limited to women versus men. Example: I have some female friends who have used a well-known online dating service. Their description of how the service works demonstrated an imbedded structure of making rudeness and bad manners quite easy. A friend of mine found a potentially interesting match in a man of 50 years or so. They exchanged interesting e-mails and agreed to a brunch date. Nice conversation, etc.

“After a short while, when she hadn’t heard from him, my friend sent an e-mail inquiry. A notice came back indicating she had been ‘blocked.’ In other words, he wasn’t interested and simply took advantage of the service’s ability to indicate that fact through a system-generated notice. Now, I recognize that it’s a feature that might be attractive to many folks. But there’s no way around the fact that it is institutionalized rudeness that makes bad manners not just easy but acceptable. Any civilized person would ignore the feature and express their lack of continued interest directly and politely.

“My comment to my friend was that any man of 50 who would use that feature is a jerk and not worth her time, no matter how nice a time she had. I’d argue he’s incapable of even being a decent friend, much less a potential mate. And, if she used the feature I’d say the same thing about her. It’s painful having to let someone know personally that you aren’t interested, but I’d argue it’s necessary in a civilized world.”

Ouch! So it works both ways!

And here’s L.M.

“Sounds to me like the women Charles Glass keeps asking out just aren’t that into him.”

Probably the case, L.M. Yes, it’s really tough to tell a guy or gal that you’re just not interested–and in my pre-e-mail dating days, I was even ruder on a couple of occasions, I confess: I’d refuse to pick up the phone and, on a couple of occasions, I wouldn’t be at home at the date’s scheduled time. What could be crueler than that? But I didn’t have the guts to say: You know, we’re not gonna make it.

I was wrong, it was my bad, and I wish I’d been braver and more forthright. But that doesn’t make it right to do as I did. Just call, say it won’t work, and hang up. But I agree with TOC that it wasn’t gentlemanly of Glass to name the names of the gals who gave him the e-brushoff.