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My Favorite Breakups

September 4, 2009

There is a line in an old song that goes like this, “Breaking up is hard to do.” Well, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. In fact, breaking up can not only be quite liberating, it can be a hell of a lot of fun. Now I have had my share of being on the receiving end of “the Dump.” And, usually, being the dumpee was not very fun—there was one exception in which it was pretty fun. In that case, “Victoria” simply beat me to the punch. It was one of the most amicable break ups ever. We broke up in Rome—the true “city of love,” and decided that it wouldn’t be official until after we got home from vacation. After all, “when in Rome…” But, that really isn’t the story here.

There was a period of time after my former fiancée, Pamela, broke up with me that I determined that I would never get serious with a woman again. Now I didn’t say that I wouldn’t “get with a woman,” I simply said that I wouldn’t be all that serious about it. With every woman, I had determined to be honest—to lay all my cards on the table. I was only looking for a good time. We could be friends—with benefits—or, even better, strangers—with benefits. Now for all you psychotherapists out there, I fully understand that this was simply a reaction to some deep emotional wounding, but who says I can’t have any fun during the healing process? But eventually, I realized that I did want a relationship with a woman—a real relationship. And so I began a series of dating fiascos.

It can be very difficult dating in the post-modern age. I even tried the early 90s equivalent of E-Harmony—the personal ad. Wow!!! If I had known what freaks would have called me up, I would have saved myself the time! Well—not really—after all, who doesn’t love having a front-row seat at the circus? One respondent was a young, pretty gothic girl—I love vampire chicks. When we met, I was stunned by her beauty. I was equally stunned by the idea that her idea of a date was getting trashed on “Thunderbird.” I didn’t call her up for a second. The next one kinda lied about her age. She had said that she was 26, but neglected to tell me that it was her daughter that was 26! Although I was born in the sixties, she was probably an activist at Berkeley—an aging one at that! Funny thing was that she kept trying to lie to me about her age, but aside from the graying hair, the deep-set wrinkles, the tell-tale sign was the advanced osteoarthritis in her knees. I guess that mini-skirt no longer suited her. Now I am all for her going after young meat, but that doesn’t mean that I am gonna be on the menu! The third one was a raging alcoholic. That date was at the pub playing pool. She downed three pitchers of Guinness like water. Once the conversation turned to the number of alcoholic blackouts that she’d had, I was pretty sure that was a wash as well. So, I had reached strike three, and called myself out of the Personals Game.

I decided that perhaps I should go about it the old-fashioned way. I would meet some girl I liked and come up with bullshit lines to get her to go out with me. That was when I met “Roxy” (no that wasn’t her name—it was the first name that popped in my weird mind). Roxy seemed like a genuinely sweet girl. But, that was all just a ploy; she really wasn’t interested in me. All she really wanted was someone who would feed her, take her on her errands, and then LEAVE. When she wanted to go out again, it would be the same format: take her out to dinner, give’er a ride to the grocery store, and the leave because she was feeling tired. Like I said, I don’t mind being used, but there has to be something in it for me; and once I realized that there was no carrot, I called it off. So, I went ahead and took her out for one last meal, gave her a ride to the grocery store, and dropped her off. Before leaving and with a gentle tone of finality, I said, “Good-bye.”

“You say that like you’re never going to see me again,” she replied.

Without missing a beat, I calmly responded, “Good-bye,” and drove off.

Now Roxy wasn’t really a bad person, nor was she even my favorite breakup. That prize went to “Sigourney.” I call her Sigourney because she looked like a young Sigourney Weaver—yeah she was pretty hot. Trouble was, she was just a little nuts—no, I take it back—she was full-blown crazy! We met when I was doing my master’s degree. And, for once in my life, I was asked out. Not only was I asked out, but she didn’t look like some refugee from a leper colony. Trouble was she looked more like an escapee from a mental asylum. After all, they look just like everybody else.

I can’t recall what it was that gave me the first clue that something was desperately wrong in Kansas, maybe it when she informed me that she was channeling some being from a distant universe. But when you’re lonely and—well, horny—you kinda overlook some things—like a woman’s sanity. After all, I just chalked it up to her being a New Age chick. Hey, I like vampire girls and New Age chicks, too! It wasn’t until we were at her home having dinner one evening that I began to realize that something was up.

We had just finished talking about finances—God knows why I allowed it to go there—when I told her that I would be leaving for an extended stay in China to continue my studies. She told me that, if she had my student loan debt, she would not do anything until it was paid off. In fact, she said that she would eat nothing but Ramen until she could pay it off. Now, while my student loan debt was fairly high, it was pretty much the same as anyone else who had gone through medical school. I replied to her that if I followed her route—that of eating only Ramen until I paid it off—that I would probably die of malnutrition first. “After all, these student loans are like a mortgage—only they can’t repossess my head!” I had told her. She didn’t seem to appreciate my witty thought on the situation, and proceeded to compare my student loans with a guy she had dated who went into bankruptcy over waterbeds, motorcycles, and was now in prison for drunk driving and domestic violence. Now I had never touched her—all I did was go to college!

“Well, if you’re going to go to China, I don’t think I will see you when you get back,” she informed me. So, without missing a beat, I put down my dinner fork, got up as if going to the bathroom, and walked out of her apartment. She called me as soon as I got home, “Why did you leave?” She really didn’t seem to get it.

“Well,” I said, “I thought if you didn’t want to see me when I get back, then why see me now?” I left it at that. She called me a couple days later saying that she was sorry, and asked if we could still go out. Being a forgiving sort of guy, I foolishly consented. This time, I had her over for dinner at my house. While at my place, we kissed for the first time. So, naturally, we took it outside—for a walk (now, what were you thinking). As we walked, I grabbed her romantically to give her another kiss, but this time she turned away. “What?” I asked.

“Your breath,” she replied, “it’s kind of heavy.” I didn’t really know what she meant by that. If she had simply said that my breath stunk, I would have understood. But then she proceeded to preach to me about taking better care of myself. Now, little did she know that she had hit on a sore point. When I was a child I was somewhat hearing impaired, and I also had a breathing problem. As a child, other kids used to make fun of the way I breathed. I thought that she was talking about that. Unfortunately, by the time I met Sigourney, my hearing was perfect. I heard every fucking word she said. While she prattled on, I started walking home. She finished about the time we got home. As we approached my front gate, she asked, “Well, do you have anything to say to what I just said?”


“Well, good-bye, then”

“Good-bye,” I responded with a tone similar to what I had told Roxy.  “Faster than a jackrabbit on a date,” I walked inside my yard, closed and locked my gate, went inside my house, locked the door, and turned out the lights all before she had even left. Hey, I was sleepy, and didn’t have time to fuck around over somebody else’s issues—I have enough trouble with mine! I had already gone to bed, when the sound of a car horn repeatedly honking captured my attention. I looked out my window—it was Sigourney. I went outside to see what she wanted now, and so did my cousin Jeanne who decided that since I—being a man—wasn’t allowed to kick Sigourney’s ass, she would do it for me. I called Jeanne off—God I love her—and went to talk with Psycho Siggie. She said that she was sorry for what she said, and how she acted—I assume she was including the honking thing in her apology too. She wanted to come in and stay the night. So, being a gracious host, I welcomed her into my home, and gave her the couch! Hey, she did piss me off, and if a woman can withhold sex, then I can withhold my good lovin’ too! After all, I guess I wasn’t that desperate.

The next morning, we got up, and Sigourney suggested that we go out for breakfast. She decided that it would be nice to go to IHOP. It is pretty hard, by the way to eat healthy at IHOP (yes this seems irrelevant, but you will understand this interjection later). So, we went out to eat. I had the standard eggs, sausage, and pancakes (I know, this seems irrelevant, but you will understand too this interjection later). After having our breakfast, we went out for a drive, and then back to my place. Now I was feeling in a pretty good mood, and felt like listening to some music. My good buddy, James Brown, seemed like a good choice. After all, I was feeling good!

“You know, I gotta go. I just can’t handle this music. Maybe it’s our difference in age, but I can’t stand this stuff,” Psycho Siggie informed me. You see, she was a few—not a lot—of years older than me.

“You know what, James Brown was jammin’ with this tune when you were in diapers, and your momma probably liked him! If you wanted me to just change the CD, then say so!” I retorted.

“I just gotta go.”

“Good-bye,” I replied with that familiar tone of finality (this time it was final). This time, I had decided that there is only so much craziness that a guy could take. It was over. A few days later, I decided that I probably ought to inform her. “Sigourney, we gotta talk.” (Yes—I finally got to utter those words that strike fear in the hearts of every man!!!) “I just don’t think we should see each other any more.”

“Okay, but I just have one question I want to ask you.”


“Is there any medical reason you had what you had for breakfast at IHOP the other day?”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“I mean, is there any medical reason why you ate what you ate—after I talked with you about taking better care of yourself and all?”

“First of all, you chose the place, not me. Second of all, it’s none of your business.”

She persisted, “No, really is there any reason?”

“Let me put it this way…I just broke up with you, so it’s none of your business…”

“That’s just denial…”

“No, it’s called a boundary…You know a line in the sand with a big sign saying ‘don’t go there.’”

“No…It’s denial…”

I had had enough, the gloves were off. “Let me put it this way: not only do I not want to see you any more in the dating sense, but I don’t even want to see you anymore in the ‘view with my eyes’ sense. Let’s not be friends…In fact, let’s be enemies and spread bad rumors about each other.” (Yes, I did say that.) For once in my life—well maybe twice—I thought of the perfect thing to say at the perfect moment to execute the most sublime and penetrating retort. I felt like I was speaking for every man on the planet that at some point was fed the line ‘we can still be friends, though can’t we?” It was a moment so perfect that every man who was ever jilted could enjoy it by proxy…

She was silent—I continued. “Now you took a couple of books from me the other day, I would like them back.”

“Couldn’t I just read them and return them later?” She asked.

“No, your keeping them would keep open potential lines of communication, and I want to sever all ties.”

We agreed to meet the next day at a local restaurant so that she could return my books. I went early so that I could finish my lunch before she got there. After all, I didn’t want to date her anymore. Why should I have lunch with her just to end it? I was sitting back drinking my soda when she arrived. I decided that I would say as little as possible. After all, I am pretty sure that I had said more than enough the day before. She gave me my books. “Thank you,” I said calmly.

“And I found this article in a magazine that I thought you might like,” she added. It was obvious she was feigning an apology. I wasn’t biting.

“Thank you,” I calmly said again.

“And I made this for you in art therapy,” she said as she handed a project that would have made Freud blush. Even the most anti-Freudian would not have failed to miss the obviously phallic motif. It was a piece of construction paper upon which, a one-foot long rolled tube was glued in a semi-erect position. I was flattered.

“Thank you,” I said accepting her kind work of art. And then I was silent.

After a few moments, the silence was more than she could bear, and so she said, “I gotta go,” and left.

As she walked out, I said once again with that all too familiar tone of finality, “Good-bye.”

I thought it was the end, but it wasn’t. I went to China, and forgot all about her. It was while I was there that I met Melissa, the woman I was to later marry. I returned from China, thinking of her and not my dating fiascos nor my favorite breakup. But, Sigourney was not through with me yet. She must have marked on her calendar when I was to return, for no sooner that I walked in the door, the phone rang. She still wanted to go out with me. I didn’t get it, I thought I was pretty clear…Maybe the same reason that she created that wonderful work of art had to do with the reason she called me as soon as I returned. I was flattered, still. She wanted to go out to dinner with me, but was concerned that while I was in some “third world country,” that I might have contracted a contagious disease. But, disease or not, she still wanted to go out to dinner. But, because of her fears that I might have a disease, she suggested that we sit at different tables—her at one end of the restaurant and me at the other. I tried to point out the obvious logistical problems about dating-at-a-distance, but she persisted. I then added that it really was no use because I wasn’t interested anyway. “Besides, I met someone else in China,” I informed her.

“She’s just using you to get a green card!” she exclaimed.

“She can use me all she wants,” I replied. Like I said, I am not above being used, just so long as it’s on my own terms.

I only saw her one time after that. Melissa was with me about 5 or 6 months pregnant. Psycho Sigourney saw me—and my pregnant wife too—and tried to pretend not to notice.

==Wishing you all Happy Endings,

Xian Tan Ju Shi

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