It wasn’t until I started seeing someone I was on the fence about that I understood what was going on.
The benchee is complicit because he wants Jean, a 31-year-old writer living in New York, thinks women are falling for the bencher’s perceived niceness. “I won’t actually hang out one-on-one because I want to avoid any confusion for her about my interests,” he says, “but I’ll still text with her, often a few days after those botched plans.
“The guys who’ve benched me are always doing the ‘How are you? She’ll say something like, ‘You’re too busy for me,’ and I’ll laugh and change the subject.
So I would ping him occasionally, just enough to pique his interest and dangle the carrot of a possible relationship without ever actually following through with plans.
To use a sports metaphor (my first ever), he would be on the roster but not in play; I’d decided to bench him.
“Maybe they’ll text them to get a quick ego stroke.