Spring has arrived. It is finally here in full force, and at Yale, spring it seems, transforms this campus. All the attractive people begin to emerge. Those people whose pages you dog-eared in the Rumpus’ 50 Most Beautiful People issue, those people really do exist.
Alas, they only appear in the spring. All of a sudden everyone is sporting a new wardrobe — tits and ass galore! Tube tops make cameos as mini-skirts. Shirtless Adonises stroll calmly down Broadway. People giggle, sections move outside — a warm breeze floats through Cross Campus, just barely rustling the leaves of the trees. Everywhere I turn it seems that an Abersnobie and Bitch (uhhh– I mean Abercrombie and Fitch) photo shoot is taking place, (so we’re a little fatter, no biggie). Take a deep breath. Ahh. Do you smell that? Yes, that’s right, the trees have begun smelling like semen again.
Look around, what do you see? Couples. Couples. Couples — everywhere. When spring turns up, people start mating like bunnies. Everyone does a 180 and goes National Geographic on me. Discovery Channel up the wazoo. People frolic in the grass, kissing, loving one another, gazing into each other’s eyes. Everyone is so happy. So pretty. So horny. It’s enough to make me dizzy.
So dizzy, in fact, that I want to vomit. This entire campus is on an odd drug cocktail of Viagra and Prozac. Meanwhile, I could use a Valium and a Martini. Seminars should not involve writing 25-page masterpieces. Why? Synonyms for “seminar” include “discussion,” “round table” and “colloquium.” None of those words also mean “25 pages.” Thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to decline.
Thus, I am here to burst your bubble! I encourage you to look beyond spring. Look far beyond, summer is coming — you’ll have to break up with your mate. We learned that long-distance relationships don’t work September of freshman year. It’s college lesson number one.
What’s that? You really like each other? You’re going to stay together? OK, you’re a little more optimistic than I thought. Let me turn your attention to December 2002, yes that’s right. Tan — gone. Tits — hidden under a sweater. Ass — huge. So huge in fact, that you’ll be able to see it from the front.
But never fear. Breakups will come if you bikini wax or if you don’t. To prepare you for this, I have compiled a user’s guide. A little “Breakup 101,” if you will, to dispel a few breakup myths, suggest some key pointers.
Contrary to popular belief, breaking up is not hard to do (as the song tells us). Instead, it is a mere exercise in both creativity and lying.
Much like any class in the English, history or political science majors.
When you break up, you are officially prohibited from telling the truth. You cannot tell him that you are not in love with him anymore. That you don’t find her attractive. That he farts in his sleep. That the sight of her feet repulses you. That you have been sleeping with everyone in his college. It’s not allowed. It’s insulting. Plus, who tells the truth to the people they love anyway?
Especially if you want to keep them for any significant amount of time.
Thus, lying is necessary.
The prime breakup lie involves using ourselves as the person to blame — we assume the role of the breakup culprit. This is the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” cop-out. We all know that we’re breaking up with the other people PRECISELY because it IS them who’s the problem. They are the ones who suck, are crazy, or are annoying. If you really liked her, you wouldn’t be breaking up. And if it WAS you and not him, HE would be breaking up with YOU instead of vice versa. The reason that this style is often employed is because it’s almost foolproof. The other party needs to be a breakup expert to foil this plan. If she promises to change, it doesn’t matter, it’s still YOU that’s the problem. If he agrees to back off a little, that’s fine, but again, HE is not the problem, it’s YOU.
Remember that if you have a real psycho on your hands, breaking up in a public place is the best thing to do. That way, she will be deterred from prolonging the process. A large lecture, like an introductory econ class may be a good place to cut ties. A dining hall might also be ideal, but make sure to have bused your trays — food in close proximity of the breakup scene is a bad plan. If the other person insists on creating a commotion, he will most likely start yelling — when this occurs, make yourself appear to be a sensitive individual and begin crying immediately. Who cares what your ex thinks of you, all that matters is what everyone else thinks, and you’d damn well better look like the victim.
If you are extremely imaginative, a good breakup method might be to employ a few literary techniques — similes, analogies and metaphors. The basic goal with this resourceful approach is to confuse the other person as much as humanly possible so that instead of focusing on the breakup itself, she is trying to figure out WHAT exactly it was that you said.
I once dated a boy who employed this technique. When we broke up, he told me that our relationship reminded him of “an 18-wheeler barreling down a steep hill, instead of cruising steadily along the highway.”
This was his opener. Later on he juxtaposed our bond, which he found to be reminiscent of chicken wings (this is apparently bad) to peanut butter (which is actually what a relationship is supposed to be like). At first, I blamed his lack of coherence on the fact that he was foreign and in reality, he didn’t speak English very well. I was mistaken — he was just far sneakier than I was, and learned of the confuse-the-living-crap-out-of-your-mate-technique before I had.
Yet another innovative method similar to the one above is to make wildly absurd claims involving your relationship. For example, my best friend, Alison, in high school dated a Funk-Master-Sketch famous in many New York circles. When he cut ties with her, it was extremely traumatic. He was her first — everything. It was a beautiful relationship, really it was. On the fateful day of their parting, after he tore her heart out, stomped on it, and spit at it, he asked her the following question: “Are you planning on sleeping with anyone in the next year?”
Through a stream of tears, Alison looked up at him, confused and shaken. She replied that she really didn’t think it was ANY of his business. Then she inquired as to why he was asking. His answer made no sense at all whatsoever. He said: “You know, sex was kind of like our THING. I just think you should hold off in respect of that.”
I’m not even going to attempt to mock that response because I think that it does such a good job all on its own.
My favorite type of break up is the Ambiguous Breakup. This kind leaves room for continued hooking up and perhaps the possibility of a relationship later on. Really, it’s a well-constructed plan to continue getting ass while lowering your level of commitment with said person while waiting for someone better and more attractive to come along. At that point you can pretend that you had broken up ages ago, and you’re not really sure why you kept getting calls. This type of breakup involves using a great deal of contradictory statements. Here’s an example:
“I like you but we shouldn’t go out anymore. We’re dating, but we’re not going out. We can hook up with other people, but we can also still hook up with each other. We can sleep together, but only sometimes. We’re breaking up, but we’re not exactly breaking up. Get it? I like you. I really do.”
As you can see, a great deal of possibility remains, yet the room for a clean break later on is not eliminated. This plan is genius. A breakup masterpiece really.
Other breakup techniques I have been told about are equally creative.
A list titled “55 Reasons Why You’re a Bitch.” Way to be dir
Ceasing communication entirely. No calls. No talking. Pretending as if the other person has died.
Changing your sexuality. Break on through to the other side!
And, of course — telling the truth. Straight up and to the point:
“It’s over between us. It’s just not working out. Why? Oh, well, (sigh) the truth is that it’s not you. It’s me. I swear.”
Natalie Krinsky will appear in the Harvard Crimson this weekend. Bring it.