The Embarrassing Truth: A Look at West Elm Caleb, His Tik Tok Victims, and Modern Dating

Written by Ann Burns

January 27, 2022

When the Villains are Beautiful

The past weekend, news stories lit up with tales of the nefarious West Elm Caleb. Who is this Caleb, and what makes him so dubious?

Caleb is a New Yorker on Hinge (a dating app– proving that dating apps are a dark pit of doom). He is guilty of ghosting women, dating multiple women, and lying to women about his relationship status (saying he’s single when he’s seeing other women; claiming to get off dating apps when he’s addicted to them, etc.).

All of this is cheap behavior. The women who had the unpleasant experience of dating or “talking to” Caleb rallied together via Tik Tok to bash his indecent behavior.

Many people are speaking out against these unhinged women— almost to the point of praising Caleb as a legend. Heaven, forgive the odious comments one reads on the internet.

We need to ask why these women are offended.

First, ghosting is a common, albeit tacky and rude occurrence in online dating. Is it shocking? You are pursuing an unlimited number of matches; it starts to feel like online shopping. So, you throw a bunch of candidates in your cart and then forget about half, discard a few, and so forth. Not appropriate etiquette, but I think, to a certain extent, it goes with the territory of modern dating apps.

The primary issue seems to be the lying and serial dating components, which are deeply problematic. In some ways, I feel bad for these women. But as one girl confessed, matching with Caleb was “getting another guy for her arsenal.” 


Do we see the hypocrisy?

Caleb has women in his arsenal.The women have men in their arsenal.

The women are offended and ready for battle– and my pity starts to seem a little misplaced. Oops. 

The issue isn’t so much Caleb or even the women, but rather that modern dating has become so unhealthy and so poisonous that people resort to Tik Tok for healing.

But in all seriousness, dating has no meaning today. There is no point in modern dating. Once upon a time, people courted because they were ready to marry. It was intentional. They had a goal— find a spouse.

Today people use dating apps to hook up, be validated, practice pick-up lines, partake in casual sex, maybe have a relationship (but to what end…?), and so forth. If marriage is not the goal of dating, your relationship will fail. You are building a “use, abuse, and move on” mentality that is seriously damaging and, if anything, hinders you from preparing for an honest, meaningful relationship.

I remember talking to a girl who was nervous about making sure no one came near “her guy.”

“Well, we are talking.” She said anxiously. I took her at face value. Talking. Maybe they got coffee? Maybe he called her up one day to ask her how she was doing? You know, talking. That’s sweet, I thought, basically imagining Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland getting a milkshake at an ice cream parlor.

Soon I realized she meant they had numerous slumber parties, but they weren’t dating. It involved no commitment. Their “talking” dissolved, and all that was left was the rubble of wounded hearts and damaged souls.

People use the terms “talking” and “hanging out” to denote something cool and casual, but they mean something incredibly intimate and serious. And who are we kidding? What does this kind of disconnect do to our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing?

Women have so much influence in the dating world, and yet we’ve traded it in under the guise of empowerment and have only been left deeply, deeply wounded.

When we are so ready to rush physical contact and reduce ourselves to a sleep-over machine on the first date, we reveal how little we care about ourselves. You don’t carelessly throw sacred things around like confetti. They’re much too valuable.

If we set the bar in our dating life at the bare minimum, are we going to be shocked when we receive the bare minimum?

Recently, I talked to a young man who decided to take an intentional break from the dating scene. I asked him about it, and he responded, “Honestly, I can’t just go out with a girl. When I do, I am almost immediately asked to do something against my morals— and I don’t even know the girl. It’s not worth it. I want to find a virtuous girl— someone I can marry.”

Eek, bleak view, but I admire his ability to recognize that dating just for the sake of dating is a lethal vat of despair — especially in our hyper-sexualized culture.

We don’t need to conform to society’s insidious dating expectations. We don’t need to lower our standards, forgo our self-worth, and risk our souls just so that we can have someone to text. The cost is not worth it.

Instead, as women, we can raise the bar and demand that virtue takes precedence when it comes to finding a potential spouse— not a hang-out pal.

While this will significantly reduce the options for finding a match, it will also open wide doors to men of character and virtue. Because good men do exist, so let’s raise the bar and make dating classy — not trashy. You have more influence than you realize.

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