We had an oops this last Wednesday nite. We were supposed to meet a new couple at a swinger friendly bar we frequent and Marilyn had come down with a fever. I texted the couple (don't you love that texted has become a real word), along with a few others from the bar we usually see to let them know that we wouldn't be out that night, apologizing profusely, then we relaxed, stayed in, and Marilyn went to bed.

The next day I got an email on our favorite Lifestyle site from them, saying that this was a first, that they'd never actually been stood up by a lifestyle person before, and that we should've at least texted to let them know. I felt terrible. I'm 90% sure I texted them first, but ultimately, I don't know. I went through the apologies and assured them that we really wanted to go and that we would've been there had this illness not smacked us across the faces.

They said they understood, and that we could meet another time, that it was okay and that they hoped Marilyn felt better. (She didn't, sinus infection, but that's a story for…well…never.) But then they said the most heartbreaking thing, something we we ourselves have said. “Cooper, if you don't want to meet us, please just say so.” I again assured them that NO, it was really just a sudden illness, and we planned another date.

But it really got me thinking about how hard this is sometimes. Since a lot of this lifestyle is based on a superficial attraction at first, that can make any form of rejection feel far more painful than it would otherwise. So my thoughts have turned to the subject of cancelling. We had to cancel, in all, three dates this week. Wednesday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. (I know, I know, we're sluts.) All because of illness.

Friday's was again a last minute, since her fever had subsided for a while, but as this was a couple we've known for quite a while, a phone call conveyed our disappointment, their disappointment, and our assurances that “sometime soon…” But after the disaster that was Wednesday, I wasn't about to let another first date become an issue. I emailed our Saturday couple three times, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, letting them know about the possibility of a cancellation on Thursday and Friday, then letting them know that, no, we wouldn't be able to go out with them on Saturday, but suggesting another date.

This seemed the best way to go, because it got rid of that terrible questioning: “are they just blowing us off?”

Because that becomes the real question. When a date or meeting gets cancelled, or the couple is a no-show, it instantly becomes “what did we do wrong” for a lot of people, myself included. And I've cancelled dates for reasons as simple as being in a really bad mood from a long day at work, and not wanting a new couple to meet me under those circumstances.

I'd imagine it's actually very rarely something that the other couple did wrong, and very commonly in fact “It's not you, it's us!”

Cold feet are a big reason, just not being able to bring yourself to do it, to meet these people. We almost cancelled our first date in fact, and a year and a half later I'm SO glad we didn't. But it happens, and never have I cancelled a date because I don't want to go meet somebody, or go see somebody, it's always been because of me, because of Marilyn, because of us…or sometimes because of happenstance.

I'm guilty of it too, so I guess do as I say instead of as I do…try not to let it worry you too much. Complete no show/no call is a terrible thing, but I can assure you it also can happen on accident (again, we're SOOOO sorry!) so I'd say give the benefit of the doubt. But if you missed a date, even accidentally, you damned well better make the next one! (We'll be there this time, we promise!)


About Cooper Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.


  1. Miss Rose O on

    Great post Cooper and we couldn’t agree more. We have never had or been a no-show but we have had those last minute cancellations that turn into unanswered texts and emails as the people drop off the face of the earth. It is difficult to not think that it is something we did but you are probably right… cold feet is frequently the reason.

    For the people who have done last minute cancellations who maintained communication… it is always that damned Real Life stuff – sick kids, sinus infections (yes… we totally understand and hope Marilyn feels better), and sadly sometimes something worse – car accidents, deaths in the family. This is a great reminder about how important honesty and communication is in the lifestyle… not just between you and your partner but also the people you share your life with.

    • Absolutely. And don’t be cagey about it. Even if you have cold feet, go ahead and say that. Most likely the other couple will be bummed, but will say: “Well, why don’t you let us know if you’re interested again…”

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