Welcome to Dump City: population, you.
Of course you didn’t see it coming. You went great lengths to acquire that special, imported loose-weave, yak-hair micro-mini. You even bought a rose at the gas station before picking her up and going to the hot-rod truck-and-tractor pull. You were so busy manufacturing the romantic symbolism of the present she gave you (a case of Mountain Dew — she’s so thoughtful, she remembered my favorite) that you didn’t notice her muttering, “I can’t take this anymore” and “Shoot me now” throughout the evening.
You, my friend, are a moron. Glad you could join us. The post-Valentine’s break-up is an annual tradition for the perpetually clueless love-monger. Soon, you too will take the event in stride. Now that you’ve established a pattern of relationship behavior, it will be almost impossible to break it. Sure, you’ll notice the patterns and identify your most obnoxious qualities — but so what?
If you’ve successfully hooked up with women by trading life stories on the world’s longest date, why would you try anything else? It worked, dammit! Never mind that you used up every interesting aspect of your life in three dates? (Note: you can extend this to four or five if you include made-up stuff based on characters on TV, independent movies and Archie Comics.) And knowing you’re doomed as the relationship limps into the winter holiday season in an excruciatingly boring, yet comfortable rut will only make you depressed.
Sustained happiness depends entirely upon making a splash at critical junctures in the relationship. This includes buying the right birthday, Christmas or anniversary gift, making an appropriate thoughtful gesture once in a while, and bantering with wit and verve when meeting her friends and family. “My, you look nice today, Mrs. Cleaver,” is good. “Would you like to buy some unbelievably expensive cutlery?” is bad.
News flash: You’ll never succeed. Think about “Groundhog Day,” the movie in which Bill Murray is a jerk who relives the same day about a million times until he becomes a decent, non-belching human being. Even though only Murray can remember what happens, which means he can essentially know everything about everyone by talking to them the “day before,” he still needs about 1,000 chances at one conversation to impress Andie McDowell. In fact, Murray needs to read the canon of French poetry and become a concert pianist in addition to being a great humanitarian to finally win McDowell over.
Down in the dumps? Get comfortable — you’re going to be there awhile. You abandoned your friends in order to spend more time irritating your girlfriend. They no longer miss your zany one-liners, or your presence. And forget about dating for a while. It’s no secret that confidence attracts women, and 98 percent of your confidence was a function of dating such a swell girl.
With nowhere to go, no one to meet and nothing to do, you can ride your depressive downward spiral all the way to the bank. Only in the weeks following severe heartbreak does this fantastic opportunity to streamline your life and save money for those golden years come around.
Face it: Savoring succulent steaks and exotic delicacies, appreciating the fine arts and theatre, staying fit and generally enjoying a happy, healthy life just isn’t efficient. Doctors who recommend a healthy variety of food and physical fitness are simply shills for corporate farmers and that Tae Bo guy.
Listen to their wacko theory of health: Eat loads of food, especially those expensive fruits and vegetables. Exercise a lot to speed up your metabolism and burn off all those calories so you need to eat again.
Sounds like a scam to me. How inefficient can you get?
Now that you’re practically in a despair-induced coma and can barely move, let alone exercise, you have those shameless doctors right where you want them. Your metabolism is wonderfully low and, because all food now tastes like stomach acid, the five-for-$1 generic macaroni and cheese tastes just like lobster. If you play your cards right, this can last two weeks.
Drinking alcohol provides the empty calories you need when you get too tired to actually chew your food. Beer also complements the 12 hours of televised basketball games you can watch every day until the end of March.
Combing your hair, brushing your teeth, washing your clothes and all other activities known as grooming should be stopped immediately. Toothpaste, gel and detergent will nickel-and-dime you to death. Combined with the rest of your efficient lifestyle, it will make a big difference. Realizing your newfound wealth will immediately put a skip back into your step. But you must not forget the lessons learned from your hellishly streamlined, efficient lifestyle: Avoid heartbreak at all costs.
Those of you hell-bent on dating again should focus on the part you are good at — the beginning — and make sure it ends quickly. If things start to get serious, have her over for dinner, plop a copy of “Kids” into the VCR and say it’s your favorite movie. The scene before the opening credits features a smooth-talking, high school lothario making love to a 13-year-old with all the tenderness of a Navy SEAL doing push-ups. Many people, including the woman I took to the theater, have called the movie a lame excuse to film soft-core kiddie porn. If this doesn’t scare her away, she probably isn’t the girl for you, anyway.
If you’re determined to start another real relationship, at least be efficient. Establish a screening process. Resist the urge to pick up your date — there are too many first impressions to make if you’re invited into the house. Parents, roommates, pets and co-workers will judge you, and you know you can’t fool them all.
But if you meet her somewhere else, you can stake it out in advance and improve your chance of not looking like a total dork. More importantly, you can take down her license plate number, crunch it through the Department of Motor Vehicles and eventually find out her birthday. If it’s between Valentine’s Day and Christmas, you have 10 months to develop a bond strong enough to withstand even the most inept, chuckle-headed holiday snafu. If her birthday is anytime soon, you should cut your losses and say no to a second date and avoid the fatal faux pas.
Take my advice, and history might not repeat itself. Or try harder to become a thoughtful, caring, interesting and fun human being.
The choice is yours.
Ed Day’s column usually appears on alternate Thursdays. He welcomes comments to [email protected]