1. His house was hit by a giant truck, and now his phone is broken.
It’s been 24 hours since you called him, and he hasn’t texted back, but listen, calm down. There is no way this guy doesn’t like you. Look at you. You’re a babe. The world loves you. If you were caught in a tornado and whisked away to a magical, alternate dimension, hundreds of small people dressed in what I think are technically racist (if adorable) ‘German farmer’ outfits would find you and sing for you and dance, and you would not even have to drop a house on a witch. You are beautiful. You are positive. You are so, so smart.
And so, he probably dropped his phone in the toilet.
He saw that he missed your call, and then he saw that really, really funny text of yours (god, you are really a funny person!). He laughed, and laughed, but then he had to go to the bathroom. Still, he wanted to text you back so bad he couldn’t wait to finish going to the bathroom first. So there he probably was, texting away with his pants around his ankles, when a Mack Truck hit his house, probably, the force of which shook him so hard, and was so scary, that he dropped his phone into the toilet, which was really gross. His morning ruined, he set out immediately to buy a new phone — so he could text you back! — but discovered that the Mack Truck was carrying strangely-glowing wastestuff from a nearby government lab.
Some government agents took him to a private, heavily-guarded location to monitor his health before he had a chance to hit the Apple store, and, while really very surprisingly nice people for secret government agents, nobody had a spare phone for him. He forgot to memorize your number, so you’ll just have to sit tight for a few days.
2. A lovable, Dickensian pickpocket stole his wallet, and he’s currently trapped in a musical adventure.
No, stop, hey, he likes you! This guy is trying to kiss you around other people all the time, you said, right? Public displays of affection? Yeah, relax. He’s definitely feeling this.
Then why isn’t he responding?
Oh, well I mean he probably had his wallet stolen yesterday morning by an orphan pickpocket with a corncob pipe. What happened was, probably, he was out for his morning walk before he began his volunteer hours at the local soup kitchen, and he found a small child looking very hurt on the side of the road. When he stopped to see if he could help, because he is a very kind and good person, a different small child came up from behind the pair and vigorously bumped him. “Good morrow to you, sir!” the second child said, and then he vanished around the corner. But your not-boyfriend was not fooled. He knew at once that his wallet was stolen, and he chased the boy around the corner. There, he found a trap door behind a mulberry bush that led to an old wine cellar. He followed the sound of merry music down a long path to a room hidden behind a great wall of wooden barrels, and was quite taken aback by the vision of 13 young boys dancing and laughing and singing.
“You there!” your not-boyfriend shouted to the thief.
“You found our secret hideout,” declared Tomfolio, the pickpocket who was also the leader of the small band of orphan boys. “Impossible!”
Then your not-boyfriend felt a strange tingling. From his stomach? From… his soul? He began to sing along with the orphan children, uncontrollably, and this is how he learned their story.
Turns out, a giant, Arabian gang lord with an improbably large beard and an eye patch forced the orphans to steal until they could afford his ‘protectorship’ fee of one hundred gold rubles. The implicit threat was nothing short of murder, and were it not for the help of a kind-hearted prostitute named Rose, who the Arabian gang lord was quite in love with, he would likely have killed the children already. Your not-boyfriend could, quite naturally, never let this stand. He defeated Tomfolio in a game of life-sized Chess, and he assumed leadership of the orphans, probably.
He renamed the gang the Ghosts of Pearl, in honor of his long-lost youngest sister, Pearl, who he prayed had found an orphan gang as loveable and true as his. He stormed the giant, Arabian gang lord’s castle at the top of an invisible skyscraper, deposed the tyrant, politely declined the hand in marriage of the kind-hearted prostitute named Rose (because he loves you!), and is currently attempting to restructure the Arabian’s massive, criminal enterprise into a force for good.
Most likely, I mean.
3. He was kidnapped.
I see where you’re coming from. 24 hours is a long time. But you’ve been working out so much lately! Look at that bod! Trust me, he wants it.
He was probably kidnapped by Russians, is all. For a certain minority of people this is a normal thing that happens, and that minority of people is ‘spies,’ which brings us to the fourth most probable reason he isn’t texting you back:
4. He’s an undercover operative for the C.I.A., and he’s really busy right now!
Shut up. Your last date was so good! Relaying your dream history in meticulous, years-long detail was sort of an overshare. Or, it was just a kind of really stupid thing to do. You should stop doing that, probably. Not only on dates, but in general. Jesus Christ. Still, though, your not-boyfriend would never, ever abruptly stop texting you back because of that.
And so he’s probably a spy. He woke up yesterday morning and discovered a manila envelope marked with a fat, black “X” on his nightstand. He was afraid that this would happen, and he cursed himself for believing, if only for a few weeks, that he could live a normal life. Duty is sacrosanct, and this is a man with a code. He vowed to protect the nation, and so protect the nation he would. He tore open the envelope and emptied its contents onto his bed: foreign currency, a fake passport, and a one-way ticket to Moscow.
He reached under his pillow and grabbed his pistol. It was time to go to work.
5. He’s a very well-trained operative for a hostile foreign nation, mission: you.
Wait, he texted you “how’s my favorite person this beautiful morning?” with a SMILEY FACE last week? Yeah, the only way we can read behavior such as following up a text like that with radio silence as anything other than sociopathic (also possible, yes, but not probable) is if he mistook you for a much-feared undercover nuclear physicist, codename: FLOW, and is on a mission to secure your trust, learn the secrets of your life’s work, and bring those secrets back to his home country. Also wait oh my god he has very fair skin and burns easy. Shit. Shit, shit, shit.
He is probably a spy… but for the Russians. His American accent is perfect because he was raised in a small town designed to look exactly like the suburbs of Steven Spielberg’s internationally-beloved E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, populated by the Shadow Kremlin’s stock of American turncoats living an experimental, simulated American life for the dual purpose of studying our culture and, you guessed it, raising effing spies.
Yup, I bet his handler discovered that you aren’t, in fact, the much-feared undercover nuclear physicist, codename: FLOW, and tried to call your not-boyfriend back to their headquarters in Russia. When your not-boyfriend refused, the handler realized that his operative had fallen in love with you for real, which the motherland could not stand. So he sent a squad of cleaners to ‘neutralize’ the situation, which translates roughly to: murder you, murder your not-boyfriend, and murder everyone who has ever seen the two of you together. The only reason you aren’t already dead is your not-boyfriend has been stealth saving your life, more or less constantly, for the past 18 or 19 hours.
Like, right now. He’s probably saving your life right now while you’re reading this. Look outside real quick. Do you see what looks like a ninja knife fight?
6. He has become unstuck in space and time.
What was the last thing he wrote to you? The very, very last thing? He loved that link you sent him to the Miley video, you said? Wait, but he used all caps for the word ‘love,’ like ‘LOVE’? Oh, yeah, there’s no way in hell he wouldn’t be texting you right now if he could. You guys are IN IT.
And so he probably became unstuck in space and time by a seemingly-all powerful superbeing named Yama Yamabata, the immortal product of a singularity event from a dimension that human beings can’t comprehend who has been worshipped as a god by indigenous Brazilian tribes for the last 1,000 years at least. Yama Yamabata is finally putting into motion the series of events that will lead to the spiritual ascension of the human race, and he required an intermediary to speak on his behalf. He removed your not-boyfriend from perceptible reality, imbued him with powerful new cognitive ability, perfected his biology, and only just woke him from a day-long regenerative cycle. Your not-boyfriend is just seeing now that he missed your call!
I bet he’s writing you a text message now. But you might not get it for a few hundred years or until this afternoon or maybe tomorrow — super hard to account for the impact of non-linear time on dating.
7. He is a figment of your imagination.
How similar are you, did you say? You keep telling me that you have a lot in common, but is it in a good way or in kind of a creepy way? Whoa. Yeah, that sounds really similar. Damn, alright, here’s what I’m thinking: he definitely likes you. But have any of your friends actually met him? Just a few last weekend and, as a group, you barely spoke with each other? You’ve met plenty of people important to him — roommate, friends, colleagues, a sibling even — but he’s not met anyone really important to you? Hmm.
Okay I think he’s probably a figment of your imagination, and you’re having a schizophrenic breakdown like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. Every time you’ve ever hung out with him you’ve really been alone, talking to yourself. You live in a very liberal city, so none of the strangers nearby interrupted the conversation you were having with… yourself. They thought that they were a little more ‘sanity privileged’ than you, was all, and who are they to judge your life?
This isn’t a matter of your not-boyfriend being a bad texter. This is simply a matter of your conscious mind having a much easier time engaging with a fake person when projected onto the canvas of reality (feels like: hanging out in person). Texting with your not-boyfriend is an active conversation between your subconscious self and your conscious self, a fully internal activity. Your brain finds this exhausting and so doesn’t like to do it. The bad news is you’re going insane, but the good news is you’re going insane in a very practical sort of way!
I don’t know, though. God, dating is such a nightmare. Just get wasted in the park with your friends and give it another day, maybe.