UGH ROMANCE IS THE WORST. dating and mating and caring and sharing are the most terrible things i could ever imagine. here's how it would go if you and i started dating but then were forced to break up because you are probably the asshole and obviously not perfect me:
i will delete your number from my phone the instant i feel like things are going south. not because i don't want you to get in touch with me. because ALL I WANT IN THE WORLD is for you to get in touch with me. and tell me how pretty my hair is or how beautiful my eyes look when magnified by these coke bottle glasses. this is purely a measure to prevent me from making the horrible mistake of texting you my innermost sadfeelings. everyone knows that those are to be eaten, not blathered incoherently into my soon-to-be ex-lover's voicemail.
when the guillotine finally drops, i will unfollow your twitter. there are very few hilarious people on the old tweeting machine. you are not one of them. that is perfectly acceptable. i was mostly following you to keep an eye on your @mentions, anyway. i'ma also block you on facebook because omg TAGGED PHOTOS, welp. maybe you bitches are smarter and stronger than i am with a better grasp of restraint, but fuck if i ever could just cold turkey stop internet stalking somebody even if he'd just shattered my soul into a billion tiny little pieces. like, i am literally taping the heart fragments back together with my dominant hand while scrolling through his tumblr with the other. it's so gross and lame but if he's subtweeting about me i really need to fucking know it, okay?
my version of the story will make you look like an asshole. i, on the other hand, will look like a fucking rockstar. or maybe a kicked puppy, depending on the emotion i'm trying to elicit from my audience at the time. but you won't have to worry about that, because you're never going to hear about it. i haven't ever been in the kind of relationship where we had mutual friends who had to pick sides or whom i had to worry would go back and tell dude that the hot dude i started posting on instagram two days after we broke up is really my goddamned nephew.
seriously, though, it's cool. the worst thing i'm going to do is throw all that shit you left at my place in the dumpster and tell everyone who used to see us eating scones together at ennui that you died. i'm not going to get a discover card in your name because i have your social security number nor will i send menacing letters to your mom's house because that asshole never liked me anyway, i'ma just be over here listening to this ani difranco playlist i made and washing my hair with my tears. and that's fine as long as you 1 never text me about coming over to "watch jimmy fallon" (oh, fuck you) or 2 remember every place i like to go and never show your face there. we may not have mutual friends, sir, but I GET CUSTODY OF MOTHERFUCKING BIG STAR. you also may not show up at: maude's, au cheval, little goat, scofflaw, lao sze chuan, lula cafe, longman & eagle, southport grocery, m. henrietta, metropolis, kuma's, carriage house, fat rice, parson's, the aviary, ruxbin, trenchermen, the publican, union pizza, the bedford, state and lake, hopleaf, the whistler, tiny lounge, empire liquors, the scout, m lounge, garcia's on western, the jimmy john's in downtown evanston, holiday club, the roger's park giordano's, the walgreens on irving park and sheridan, every cvs on the north side, bar deville, antique taco, danny's, matchbox, lady gregory, branch 27, five star, the tamale cart on the corner of lunt and clark, sushi samba, untitled (in case i ever decide to go there), pops for champagne, or any mcdonald's drive thru north of division. as a matter of fact, you should probably just fucking move. CHICAGO IS MINE.
i do one outside thing every summer, and every summer that one thing is to stand outside for four or five hours at the silver room block party. it's the funnest thing in the city, especially if you like watching happy brown babies drunk on sunshine dancing to soul music in the middle of the street. it's also the sexiest party of the summer, as it is always teeming with the kind of black people who wear headwraps in real life and make vegan meals and are really opinionated about which is the best dead prez record. needless to say, this motherfucker is a veritable hotbed of handsome dudes i once upon a time made out with, and every year i am forced to make small talk with some shitbag i let feel me up two years ago who doesn't have the good sense to cross to the other side of the street when he sees me loading up at the beer tent.
it can't just be me. why can't all of our exes just do us the favor of never leaving their houses ever again? or, at the very least, not set foot in our territories?! i'm not going to the comic book store, bro, so why the fuck are you at this artsy theater? YOU DON'T EVEN LIKE SUBTITLES, MAN. you're only here because you thought i'd be here and you only thought i'd be here because i took you here before. at least that is what i'm telling myself while trying not to move my bag too much so the staff won't notice how much wine i've hidden inside as i awkwardly hug you and your new girlfriend hello. at the block party i ran into zac, who immediately started making fun of my "silly girl jokes" while wearing what appeared to be pajama pants at 4pm on a saturday in public. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! this is why i want to burn shit to the ground, because dudes who don't even fuck that good think they can take cheap shots just because they used to have a key to your old apartment. i would have cut his throat and shit down his neck if i weren't such a refined bag of manners. here's my survival guide for how to get through running into someone who used to see how hairy your butthole is.
1 can you run away without looking like a dick? if dude has seen you already GAME OVER, sister. you have to just stand your ass right there and shift awkwardly from foot to foot while waiting for him to say something dumb and overly familiar. especially if, god forbid, he is MAKING HIS WAY THROUGH THE CROWD TO SPEAK TO YOU. then there is absolutely no escape, unless you're goddamned harry potter. i like to use the time spent watching someone i used to love walk in slow motion toward me thinking about all of things that make me the most happy: tiny baby animals, overpriced lipsticks, welsh rarebit, ice cold allagash, elastic-waist pants, and raised toilet seats. that way i'm in a good mood when he says something like, "still walking around with gravy on your shirt, eh?" and am less likely to burst into tears.
2 politely ask him how he is doing and try to sound like you're interested in any other answer than "actively dying of cancer." but don't say some nasty shit like, "you still fucking that baldheaded bitch i saw you with on facebook before you blocked me?" because then you fucking lose. keep in mind that BITCHES IS WATCHING. and i know, baby. we are all just wounded little creatures trying to land a solid punch before some shitbag kicks us in the back of the knees when we least expect it, but you have to resist that urge and think like a motherfucking sociopath. smile, nod, and ask about his mother. while smiling and nodding. and trying to relax your hands, which have undoubtedly balled into fists at the sight of his smug face.
3 when he asks how you're doing, try not to brag too much even though i totally deserve to because FUCK HIM. this is a tough one. what i wanted to say: "YOU REFUSED TO EAT THAT PASTA SALAD I MADE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY THAT ONE TIME BECAUSE YOU SAID IT LOOKED GROSS AND YOU BROKE UP WITH ME IN A TEXT BUT BITCH I WROTE A BOOK IT'S AT #1,253,864 ON AMAZON'S BESTSELLER LIST SO DIE IN A MOTHERFUCKING FIRE YOU ARE TERRIBLE AT CUNNILINGUS YOUR HAIR LOOKS LIKE SHIT." what i actually said: "i'm cool, bro." and then i almost chewed off my own fucking tongue while trying to smile like i actually meant it.
4 don't start thinking about how good he looks now. is that a distinguished touch of gray in that handsome beard? did he really just say he started doing crossfit? GODDAMN I LIKES ME AN OL' SEASONED PIECE OF TOUGH-ASS MEAT. especially when it's 6'5" and smelling like a heady combination of egyptian musk and rhinocerous pheromones. also, he should stop smiling like that before i hike my dress up and slide this diaper to the side in the middle of the goddamned street. man, isn't it just easier to get back into bed with someone who already knows your roadmap of weird scars and strange growths? i hate explaining all of my gross bruises and skin disease to some new person. "no, that's a bug bite that never properly healed. yes, my baby toe curls that way naturally." being a person is totally exhausting. and ugh, don't even mention the shitting. i also like knowing that i'm probably not going to get murdered. MUST RESIST BUT HOW.
5 right before you suggest that maybe you guys should meet up for some casual, friendly drinks, remember the last fucked up thing that asshole did to you. i mean, don't reminisce to the point that you boil your internal organs with toxic rage, but remember that time he called you in the hospital after a brutal endoscopy whining about how he couldn't come visit because he was so busy and never signed up to be with someone who was so sick all the time anyway? YEAH, THAT THING. doesn't look so appealing anymore, now does he? i'm rul good at this part, the remembering all the bad shit part, because i basically catalog the infractions against me over the course of any interpersonal relationship for safekeeping until a motherfucker fucks with me and i can use those memories to keep myself from lending that asshole fifty emergency dollars. or giving in to some "for old times sake" comfort sex. i'm pretty much the worst. but that shit comes in handy, for real. all i have to do is think about how dude was supposed to move in to this giant, expensive place i only rented because he vowed to go halfsies and when he didn't i spent an entire year lonely as fuck stealing cable and eating ramen, then i magically don't want to fuck him anymore. do i hope he gets disemboweled by a grizzly bear with acid-tipped claws? SOMETIMES. will i ever let that dude halfheartedly mash his genitals against the inside of my thigh again? OH HELL NAWL.
i made it through mostly unscathed, though. smiled at a lot of babies, gave a lot of lukewarm hugs to dudes whose balls i've already seen. i even managed to play nice long enough to instagram how much i don't care about that dude anymore and can totally pose for a convincing selfie. deceptive smiles that say, "see! here we are! a grinning pair of happy exes pretending one never sent the other a dog turd hidden in a heart-shaped box! we are so evolved now! this is totally how romance works in the future! breaking up is so hilarious and amazing!"