Life

Glamboozling: what it is and how to deal with the dating trend if it happens to you

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Megan Murray
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All dressed up with nowhere to go? You’ve been glamboozled. Stylist’s digital writer Megan Murray investigates this disappointing dating trend.

Glamboozling: to the uninformed eye this dating term doesn’t mean much. In fact, it’s quite baffling – could it be the name of a character from the kid’s TV show Wacky Races, or a new drinking game? However, when you read more about the context for this confusing moniker, I think you’ll not only understand it, but maybe even have experienced it yourself.

Well, I for one know what glamboozling is because it happened to me.

In the summer before my second year of university I met a guy at a music festival. He was working on a stand and waved me over to try out the electricity bike that they were encouraging people to use to charge their phones with, and I happily obliged. He was funny, warm and good looking, and as my friend and I walked away, I wished I’d asked for his phone number – especially as he’d mentioned that he too lived in London.

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Cut to a month later and it’s the first week of university. I’d settled into my new flat on east London’s Brick Lane and went on an inaugural night out with my new flatmate to a club around the corner. As we twirled on the dancefloor, a familiar smile caught my eye in between the strobe lighting, it was the same guy from the festival. I bowled over, spurred on by the it-must-be-fate feeling of the situation, and tapped him on the shoulder. He recognised me instantly, shouting “hello cat face!” (I’d been wearing face paint at the festival), and we spent the rest of the night dancing and talking.

It turned out he also lived in the area, hence his appearance at a venue so close to my home, so we met up a few more times in the coming weeks and things seemed to be going well. That is, until he glamboozled me.

Up until now our dates had been in the daytime; casual coffees or walks around east London. But this time we’d arranged to go out for drinks on a Friday night after I’d finished university and he’d finished work. I was excited, but the only problem was I hadn’t heard from him since Wednesday evening. Arriving home I felt unsure of what to do. Should I get ready in case he suddenly messaged half an hour before the agreed meeting time to let me know he was on his way? Or was it a bad sign that we hadn’t spoken in a few days, and he wasn’t going to show? 

My eternal optimism told me to get preening and that his name would probably pop up on my phone screen at the last minute. So, 45 minutes later I was sat in my flat, hair and make-up done and waiting to put my shoes on. I could have, of course, messaged him. But at 19 I didn’t have the confidence to be assertive in that situation. I feared at that late point it would make me look in some way silly or desperate. So, I stayed quiet, waited another hour, and proceeded to wash my face and surrender to my pyjama drawer, feeling very sorry for myself. 

Been glamboozled? Go out with your friends instead.

He messaged a few days later to say he was sorry, life got busy, blah blah blah. We didn’t end up seeing each other again. I, dear readers, had been glamboozled.

In the plainest of terms, glamboozling is when you have agreed to go on a date with a potential love interest and at the last minute, after you’ve got yourself all ready to go out, they cancel on or ghost you.

Even if they have a good reason, being knocked back just as you’re about to leave the house is a rubbish feeling, and incredibly disappointing.

Naomi Walkland, associate director of EMEA Marketing who works with dating app Bumble, makes the point that cancelling at the last minute on plans isn’t exclusive to dating, in fact, we’ve probably done it ourselves to friends and so we should try not to take it personally.

“Glamboozling happens to everyone once or twice. We’ve all had to cancel plans last minute or been cancelled on – life is unpredictable – so don’t be too disheartened if it happens to you,” she says.

Instead, she advises looking at the situation with a positive, pragmatic mindset: “One way to look at it was either this wasn’t the right person or tonight wasn’t the right night for your love story – but another night will be!

“The old adage ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’ exists for a reason, so don’t waste a moment moping and instead throw yourself into another adventure for the night. Reclaim your time and head to the cinema and see the latest film, take the gym class that you’ve always wanted to try or give your friends a call and head out for cocktails. We also hear constant success stories of couples meeting up and falling in love after a person flaked the first time, or that after being cancelled on their next date was ‘the one’. Anything is possible, so onward and up!”

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While psychologist, author and couples therapist, Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari, says that this could be a helpful forewarning of what that person would be like if things were to go any further: “Your initial mind-set if you get stood up or cancelled on last minute might be ‘I’m not worthy/ I will never find someone/they’re all like that’.

“Replace those thoughts with ‘this experience tells me more about that person’s personality than mine/it’s probably not even about me, and isn’t a reflection on all humankind’. Ultimately, it might hurt now, but you’re far better off not starting a relationship and becoming emotionally involved with this person, only to discover their unavailability. S/he has actually done you a favour and saved you a lot of potential heartache.”

She also says the way to deal with this moving forward is to look at how you’re meeting people and think if there’s another strategy you could try: “You can learn from this experience – your sources and strategy for finding a partner might need to change. Was it arranged via a dating app or through a mutual friend? Did you talk on the phone before or on FaceTime? Think about what that experience was like and whether you might need to switch it up for next time. Generally speaking, the more you know about the person (whether from direct contact, via social media, talking on the phone, or through the friends and family who introduced you), the less likely you are to be glamboozled.”

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Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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