“I’m fucking crawling out of my skin. I should’ve left you at the flea market.” ~ Clementine, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
My preferred way of ending a relationship, back in the day, was The Ghost Method.
If you don’t know what it means, “Ghosting,” per the official Urban Dictionary definition is:
The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.
I know, I know, it’s shitty….but I don’t love conflict. Or, having difficult, intimate conversations. Or, conversations.
Instead, I preferred that the guy believed me to be an inconsiderate, jerk. Which, to be fair, was kind of true.
But that seemed better than having him think I was shallow for breaking up with him because….no matter how many times I dropped subtle hints about his horrible, tapered and pleated khaki pants….he still continued to wear them.
Of course, it was early 2,000 and my own fashion choices consisted primarily of peasant tops, shiny pants in pastel colors, chunky heeled shoes and all the accessories from Claire’s….but whatever.
Anyway, most of the time, the Ghosting worked. After a few days/weeks of dodging phone calls, the guy would get the hint and I’d be off the hook. Often, by the time I ran into him again, he hated me and wasn’t at all interested in even making eye contact, let alone asking, “Um, what happened?”
Essentially, it would be exactly like it never happened. Most of the time anyway….but not all of the time.
I met Brandon when I was in college, at an off campus party I attended with a friend who was dating a guy, who knew a guy, who knew the guy hosting the party….Brandon.
Brandon was incredibly nice. He was sweet, smart, thoughtful, and handsome. He was respectful and polite, but soooo fucking needy.
And if there is one thing I can’t handle in a guy….besides tapered, pleated, khaki pants, gnarly fingernails/toenails, tightie-whities, and jean shorts….it’s an overly needy personality.
I am not now, nor have I ever been, the kind of person who wants to spend all of my time with anyone. I need space and alone time, like I need air.
Some women might love a guy who calls all the time and always wants to hang-out and showers her with his undivided attention. But that makes me feel like I am suffocating.
I was an individual person, with individual interests and quirks that existed before I became a
better other half. And those things don’t just go away when you become a significant other.
And I was always really upfront about my space demands in the beginning of a new relationship. Saying that I was not a needy woman, was always the truth and not the hook I used to catch the big men fish.
But apparently, though men claim they don’t want a relationship with a woman who will go through their pockets looking for digits scrawled on a bar napkin, or hack into their voicemail accounts (the last time I was dating, it cost a billion dollars to send a text and you only made a call if you were dying) they are liars.
Anyway, back to Brandon. Like I said, he was a great guy, but also a stage five clinger. He wanted to know and insert himself into everything. Like, my Wednesday evenings spent with my girlfriends, drinking Boones Farm, direct from the bottle, while watching Beverly Hills 90210.
And our Caps Competitions, which were held every Friday night, in my friend Kate’s dorm room while we rocked out to music we downloaded from Napster.
He wanted to be invited to brunch on Sunday mornings, with my fellow Alpha Sigma Sigma (ASS) sisters (a sorority we made up as an FU to our colleges greek system) where we met up for $1.00 Bloody Mary’s at a dive bar and commiserated over our bout’s with the Bud Mud’s from the prior evenings festivities.
Worse than all of that though, he wanted to come along, when I needed to withdraw and be alone for a while to recharge and reset. He couldn’t understand why I would want to go to a movie, or go for a walk, or visit a museum alone, when I could have his company. When I tried to explain that it was just how I was wired, the questions would start.
“Is everything OK with us?”
“Did I do something wrong? Are you mad at me?”
“Are you depressed? Is it something we can talk about? You know you can talk to me about anything.”
He had to go.
But Ghosting is always difficult when you’re dating the kind of guy who is likely to show up with a boombox and stand outside your window, a la, Say Anything.
So, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. For days and then weeks, I avoided his calls. He wasn’t a student at my college, so I didn’t have to worry about running into him on campus, which made it easy to be evasive.
Then, one evening, while making some soup on a contraband hot plate I had in my dorm room, I heard a knock at the door, followed by, “Campus Security.”
I immediately began scrambling to hide both the soup and the very hot, hot plate among a number of flammables in my closet before opening the door, prepared to lie, while also praying the room didn’t catch on fire.
Campus Security: Are you James?
Me: Uh, huh
Campus Security: We got a call from your boyfriend, Brandon. He said he hasn’t seen or spoken to you in a number of days. He was extremely worried about your well-being and he asked us to check on you. Everything alright?
Me: Yeah. It’s just that I’m in the process of breaking up with him.
Campus Security: Does he know you’re breaking up with him?
Me: Well, I mean, I haven’t returned any of his phone calls. I haven’t acknowledged the flowers, or the card he slipped under the door while I pretended I wasn’t here by immediately shutting off all the lights, turning off the TV and sitting stone still on the couch until he went away, so I feel like he should….those are pretty solid hints.
Campus Security: Why don’t you just tell the poor guy? He was really worried when he called.
I never called. I’m an ass, I know. But I assumed that the security officer most likely called him back to tell him I was fine, but it was over. So, you might argue that part of my college tuition went toward a security guard breaking up with a boyfriend for me and honestly, it was money well spent.
I imagine that Brandon probably went on to find a woman who loved to be smothered and for this, I would like to tell her, “You’re welcome. I’m glad I tossed him back in for you.”