I was sure I was flirt-texting with The One. Until he saw me on Instagram

It would be a small wedding. Nothing gaudy or over-the-top. Maybe we'd even elope.

Admittedly, we'd only been texting for 24 hours, but I was sure this was The One.

It began at a celeb-studded non-event in Beverly Hills the evening before with a few other journalist friends. All pomp and circumstance, no substance. One of my colleagues — we'll call him Riley — was there with me, stalking celebs and dreading the non-story we were going to have to turn in the next morning. He'd always been flirty with me, but then, he was flirty with all the women I knew on this side of the red ropes.

During the dinner portion of the evening as I sat next to Riley, I asked for his number. I promptly texted him my name after he gave it. My phone vibrated. "Oh heeeyyyy," the screen read.

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A few boring speeches later and after the entree was served, Riley got up to make the rounds to see who was hobnobbing with whom. I scarfed down my food, as I generally do when free fare is placed before me. Realizing Riley had been gone for some time, I texted him to ask if he'd like me to save his food in case they tried to take it away.

"Only the good stuff," he joked.

"It's chicken," I replied.

"Put it in your purse."

All right … now we're having fun. You know, Riley was flirting with me extra tonight. He'd even put his hand on my leg affectionately at one point.

We went back and forth for a bit and got naughty. It was fun and funny. I could totally date this guy.

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After the event ended and we headed out to valet, I walked out with Riley and giggled that we could probably stop texting now and just talk IRL ("in real life").

Riley turned to me completely confused.

"What are you talking about?"

I explained again that we could just stop the texting shenanigans and flirt in person, since we were obviously into each other. Again, he was dumbfounded and looked at me with confusion and possible dread. I handed him my phone. He scanned the texts and looked up to tell me it wasn't him.

My face went white.

Who had I been texting? Who was responding so quickly? Who was calling me a "naughty wizard" out of the blue and joking about treehouses?!

Riley was beside himself laughing. I was laughing too, because, well, what else was I going to do?

As I got in my car, the hilarity started to wear off. Who in God's name was willing to text so candidly with a person they'd never met, had no idea what their age was, gender, race, location, anything? Nothing. They knew nothing about me and I knew nothing about them.

So naturally I thought: This was it. I was sure the mystery texter would end up being my husband. We'd have the best "meet-cute" story in history.

When I got home I texted: "Who is this????" I added blushing emojis to get my point across.

"It's Boris," he said.

We were in full joking repartee at this point. It continued into the next morning and then the next evening. We joked about Russians, talked gravely about the terrorist attacks in Paris; he told me how he'd just cooked his first salmon ("Garlic salt season pepper in a cast iron skillet on stove top for 2 min on each side. Finished in the oven with a soy sauce and brown sugar glaze."), and we eventually exchanged demographics.

Me: "32. Single. White. Female. Accomplished."

Him: "30. Single. White. Male. I'd like to think I'm accomplished. And I can cook."

I was mentally picking out my wedding dress. Maybe a barn wedding with Mason jars instead of wine glasses. And tea lights strung up in the beams.

And then it happens. He asks for my Instagram name. I barely hesitate, because at this point all demographics match up, we obviously share a sense of humor and a sense of humility, so even if he doesn't look like Ryan Gosling I'm fairly certain I'm at least getting a date out of this.

We exchange Instagram info and promptly stalk each other. He's cute, built, on the tall side, sails, has fun-looking friends. I'm beside myself.

"You're cute!!!" I text.

Nothing.

Ten minutes later. Nothing.

I'm beside myself. But the other side this time.

"Omigod," I text, "you don't think I'm cute."

"That's quite an assumption," he says a few minutes later.

"You didn't text anything back. What else am I to assume?"

"Don't be such a diva."

Then he tells me he's heading to bed.

There goes my elopement to Thailand.

I made an attempt to reach out to him the next day. Nothing.

I feel it's important to note at this point that I'm attractive. I'm no Eva Mendes, but I'm above-average decent-looking, if that's OK to say about oneself. I showed his picture to a few friends to make sure I was in his league and he was in mine — we were, they assured me.

So I couldn't understand why he'd stop our banter, why he didn't want to meet.

Maybe he died. This is generally what I think happens to guys that stop talking to me.

But my best theory — since I live in Los Angeles and have been dating here for seven years now with no luck at all — is that I wasn't hot enough. I wasn't a 10. I wasn't a model or an actress with perfect hair and size 0 jeans; that a common sense of humor and humility and matching demographics just weren't enough and he figured his model would be waiting for him at his next Tinder swipe.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he did die.

The author is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles who writes for Vanity Fair, Mashable and Variety. You can stalk her on Instagram at @tiniv11

L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. We pay $300 a column. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.

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A version of this article appeared in print on April 09, 2016, in the Features section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "A mystery of texts and subtext" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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