People go on dates for a lot of reasons, but one big reason is to meet someone they want to have sex with or date, maybe even both. These encounters can be comically bad, thrillingly compatible or something boring and in the middle, but what they shouldn’t be is one person fawning all over the other person like they’ve found the love of their life—only to then ghost. Let us pitch a term for this: “Mosting.”
Mosting is when someone goes overboard on the fluff job and then vanishes. Yes, we know ghosting is a term that partly describes the phenomenon of mosting — vanishing after a few dates or even a few messages. But ghosting only describes the fact of the mysterious exit with no reasons given. Because people ghost when things seem to be going well, poorly or anywhere in between, it isn’t specific enough to describe the unique scenario where you would put money on a person calling again, so strong was that juice.
Mosting does: It’s not just someone being complimentary and flattering; it’s someone faking being totally smitten when they aren’t. It’s the worst of the love crimes in many ways, because a lot of people can act charming just for sex, but only a certain breed of total phony will cry love.
It happened to writer Gabrielle Ulubay, who wrote a Modern Love column recently telling the story of a bewildering mosting where the guy acted like he was the luckiest man on earth because he’d finally found the peanut butter to his chocolate.
“I think you’re the girl of my dreams,” he told her. “I can’t believe we met on Tinder.”
Please note that he did not say this before they had sex. He said it after. After they had sex, and after he stayed the night, and after the next morning, when he said he wanted to hang around, and then spent the entire day with her. He portrayed himself as not likely to go looking for casual sex, making their casual hookup seem extra rare. And he kept planting the seeds of mosting by complimenting more than her looks or the sex, but her character and her appeal as a rare breed of perfect woman. He told her how ladylike she comes off. She told him he was a real gentleman. And he kept pouring it on with completely unnecessary thickness. Ulubay writes:
“Wow, you’ve got a beautiful smile,” he said, idly stroking my waist, my stomach, my hips, my thighs. “You’re really the full package.”
“You don’t have to say that.”
“I know I don’t,” he said. “But I mean it.”
He told me I was smart, funny, creative. “You’ve got good karma, Gab,” he said.
Them’s future boyfriend words, not hookup dialog. Ulubay doubted that he could possibly mean that so quickly, but writes that while she “hadn’t been looking for romance,” and was full of skepticism for his obsequiousness, his strong words made her consider that maybe they really had found the needle in the Tinderstack.
Then, she never saw him again. Because he ghosted. Correction: He mosted.
In an advice column by dating coach Evan Marc Katz, he tries to explain why some dudes feel the need to virtually propose to you on the first date, then go MIA. Katz says it’s a combination of things: feeling a strong chemistry, projecting a huge fantasy onto the woman, being lonely and desperate, being inexperienced — “People who are more experienced at dating are more likely to not get too high with a promising prospect or too low at a disappointing one,” Katz writes.
But the reason they ditch is because, somehow, they were just “in the moment and weren’t thinking things through.” While I think he’s going far too easy on the over-the-top schmoes who shoot love first and ask no questions later, consider the other option. Dude really means all the Casanova shit, and now you’ve got some guy high on puppy love who won’t go away. Or, more likely, it turns into a several-night stand, where he sticks around and keeps up the charade of being your boyfriend, but never actually wants to be your boyfriend.
While, of course, anyone retains the right to be charming or be charmed, we should make clear divisions about an individual’s ability to make extreme declarations of falling hard for someone on such short notice.
There is still a reason to play it cool and hang out a few times before jumping into whole-package-dream-girl territory. And if it doesn’t work out, so be it. In other words, ghosting worked just fine. No need to most.