n. def. The hardest thing to do-most of the time, err, sometimes, or …
XX: So, dear reader, I hate to say it, but we’re breaking up. This week’s edition marks our last column, so hold back your tears-or, more likely, your derisive laughter-for just a few moments more.
XY: I’m at a loss for words; you’d almost think I was actually, well, breaking up with a girlfriend. I have the same dry mouth, the fumbling for words that just won’t come, I’m unable or unwilling to make eye contact-yep, I feel like I’m dumping someone. Except this time, I’m dumping someone who didn’t really ask to be with me in the first place (that would be you, loyal reader).
XX: It’s kind of awkward to write this last column, but I guess that’s the way things have to be. Dumping someone will inevitably be awkward-
XY: -unless, of course, you catch your significant other red-handed, in which case anger and passion do most of the work for you. But I wouldn’t wish that scenario on anyone but my worst enemies.
XX: It’s probably awkward for the cheater and his or her fling. But even if the breakup is “mutual” (a phenomenon I’m skeptical of anyway), it’s a difficult situation for everyone involved. What do you think is the best way to break up with someone? Do you do it over dinner, or do you make a special appointment to break up with him or her?
XY: There is something irksome about entering “break up w/ Summer” in your Palm Pilot. And maybe it’s not a special appointment, but if you know for a fact that the only reason you’re heading over to Mt. Holyoke or Smith or taking your Amherst girlfriend to dinner is to break up with her, that’s just calculated and creepy. Yet I also know that breakups in the heat of the moment, spontaneity intact, are a bad idea.
XX: I agree; a screaming match culminating in “We’re through!” is absolutely a mistake, but when the decision to break up has been well thought-out, what the hell is the right move to make?
XY: “We have to talk-today/now/as soon as possible.”
XX: And then proceed to use stock phrases like, “It’s not you; it’s me,” “I love you; I’m just not in love with you,” and “I think we should see other people.” Just kidding. Avoid these trite lines at all costs-otherwise, he might laugh and think you were kidding.
XY: If we’re going to talk about being trite, let me throw my hat in the ring: Honesty is the best policy (unless you’ve been sneaking around with her best friend; then-and only then-lie like a rug). If things just aren’t working-you’ve run out of things to talk about, you feel too tied down, you’ve found someone new, your flame doesn’t treat you right-tell it like it is. Don’t leave loose ends.
XX: So once you’ve broken things off for good (or been tossed to the curb), you would love never to see the person again. At Amherst, however, you’re more likely to run into the ex. Everywhere. But you can’t treat this dude like you would a random hook-up.
XY: Depending on who initiated the breakup, how receptive the other party was and how much time has passed, be prepared to make small talk, stare at your feet, or, perhaps, banter as with a best friend (not that future girlfriends or boyfriends will take very kindly to this).
XX: So I guess this means I still have to say hi to you when we run into each other on campus?
XY: Or we can just bang. (I refer you to our Oct. 20 column on “ex-sex.”)