In my personal quest to escalate some intimacy, I’ve been hitting the ol’ OkCupid pretty hard. Online dating, while not for the faint of heart, offers a large pool of potential suitors. So imagine my dismay when the pool seemed rather…shallow. I don’t think I’m asking too much to hold out for a man whose opening salvo is not “If you’re into guys with big d***s, hit me up, girl.”

In romance novels, the mutual escalation of intimacy can happen quite abruptly: Perhaps the hero and heroine are stuck together on the run from a bad guy and their secrets tumble out of them at a safe-house. Or maybe they decide to sleep together “just to get the lust out of their systems” and surprise themselves with growing affection and confidence. But my point is, there’s a reason for the characters to confide in each other, they don’t just shout out their insecurities at random.

Flash forward a few months, and I’d been on approximately 42 dates of varying success. Mostly leaning toward “unsuccessful.” There was the guy who threw a temper tantrum when I didn’t want to accompany him to dinner post-drinks. There was the one who, upon my offering a kindly “cheers” before my first sip, said, “My buddy told me when a girl cheers you, it’s ON.” [Men, this is not a thing.] And then there was Mr. Forcible Bodily Contact, a story for another day.

I’d all but cancelled the account when Niceguy reached out with a funny joke. Truly chuckle-worthy, and actually referencing a silly picture I’d posted, which doesn’t happen often. So Niceguy and I went on several dates, all of which were pleasant. Food, some laughs, a couple beers…nothing special, but nothing terrible either! “Not terrible,” however, is not what I want to become my new standard. I mean, come on, I’m the heroine of this romance novel!

So I decided to do the humane thing and end it. After our fifth casual date, I texted to say that he was a really nice guy, and I enjoyed hanging out but wasn’t interested in continuing to do so. He didn’t take this news well, sending text after text of slightly offensive things like, “Why don’t you think you’re good enough for me?” Side note: That’s neither what I said, nor what I meant. Also, Mystery called and wants his lame neg back.

Finally, the conversation seemed exhausted and I headed off for a fun night with my friends, unperturbed by any concern of being “Good enough” for Mr. Niceguy/TextingFiend. Apparently, though, I was the only one ready to move on. My phone dinged yet again: “I like to wear women’s panties.”

Bah-scuse me? Miss Manners and Emily Post are mysteriously silent on the appropriate response to a text announcing a failed suitor’s predilection for wearing women’s underwear. I considered a few possible responses: “How nice for you.” “Enticing, but no thank you.” or “What a coincidence! I like to delete texts from oversharers.”

But, not wanting to encourage this emotional manipulation (and because there was zero reason for him to confide this personal information!), I didn’t respond. As I’ve learned from the opposite side of this equation, silence usually sets the right tone when you don’t want to be in contact with someone anymore.

A week passes. My phone dings. A text from Niceguy: “Does it surprise you that I like to wear panties?”

Still, I don’t feel a need to respond.

Ten days later: “Hey.” No, buddy, your new phrasing has not fooled me into discussing your undergarments with you. No response.

2 weeks later: “Did you have any clue that I liked to wear panties?”

Well, yes, your incessant texting to that effect has tipped me off. This last missive was also met with (say it with me) no response.

Is this all that’s waiting for me in the realm of real-world romance? Men who “open up” only after being dumped? Persistence even in the face of dead silence? Give me trapped-in-a-safe-house, on-the-run-from-the-bad-guys intimacy any day! At least the heroes in novels don’t talk to me about their panties.