How to Live a Life Without Love
Culture / June 2, 2011
By Connor Doyle
Rule #1: Fuck Shakespeare.
You take more time than you need to get your stuff out of her apartment. She’s gone to a movie with her friends, Joe and Katey- Karen- Kristina- the one who always has her underwear sprouting out from the top of her jeans, and although you could be done in a half hour you wait until she gets back so you can make a big deal about walking out the door and maybe hitting her with one last snide comment before you’re gone forever. It’s not that you’re bitter about it ending, you just want her to suffer for all the shit she’s put you through lately. This way you win. She feels bad and you get to be the one who was royally screwed over and is legally allowed to bitch about it now. That’s a win. That’s definitely a win.
Romanticism be damned. You know a little poetry, not anything to boast about in front of people, but you get what most of that stuff is saying and you know who Sylvia Plath is, so you’ve earned that cocky “Love set you going like a fat gold watch” strut you’ve been boasting lately. Point is you don’t want to put airs on things that don’t deserve them. This should be short and succinct. She’s done you wrong. You’ll be happier without her.
You linger specifically over the copy of Romeo and Juliet you bought for Christmas.
You’ll listen to music, sure, but just regular rock n’ stuff. The first few notes of “Lay Lady Lay” or “Time To Say Goodbye” already boils the ocean swelling in your stomach. Avoid any romantic affiliations, they won’t play here, she’s not worth it. You always suspected she was kind of shallow. You two were only together because you were into the same stuff. It’s what you like, not what you are like.
Rule #2: Understand That There’s No Hidden Meaning.
She comes back and is pissed that you’re still there, her twenty-something face morphing to match the demented features of some tortures Succubus. You know all she talked about with her friends was how cruel and arrogant you’ve been. When you hit her with that one-two jab about how her last few relationships before you ended she gets this look in her eyes like she’s either gonna cry or bust. She sets into the passive aggressive routine and just as you’re in her doorframe with your shit in your arms she flings “I guess we didn’t really get the chance to know each other,” and at first you become all reluctant to leave, but then you’re enraged because you thought she might be looking for a second shot at you. She’s not. She just wants you to squirm.
Still, you put your shit down and engage her.
Rule #3: Never Engage The Enemy.
The majority of the next hour is delegated to last weekend’s tiff about that time she thought you said you wanted to sleep with Rebecca. This isn’t an argument, it’s an argument about an argument about something you may or may not have said once, more than a month ago, and it makes you think that even talking to her about this brings you down to her level. But you don’t leave. If you left now she might actually still think she’s in the right.
You say something about getting the chance to actually sleep with Rebecca now, which is meant to be a biting commentary on how ridiculous she’s being for getting all uptight about one little remark, but it turns into a catastra-fuck when she uses it to confirm all her suspicions and justify her position. Well Christ, you spit, and tell her that she never understood what you were saying. You call her dumb and ignorant. And what the shit is this now? Tears? She’s a crocodile all of a sudden, and you’re stuck feeling the full rainbow of emotions; anger, disgust, regret, lust. An apology worms your mouth open, leaps out and eviscerates all over the carpet before you can stop it. Now not only have you lost any semblance of being the righteous one, you can never bag Rebecca, because then she’d win.
Rule #4: Take Good Care of Your Hands, You’ll Need ‘Em.
Now things have gotten a little calmer. You sit beside her, even think about putting your arm around her but that wouldn’t do any good for either of you. You try to work some double-sided comments every time you say something but you doubt she’s even paying attention, so instead you try to make her less upset and start listing all the things you’ll miss, not about her so much as just about being in a relationship. Most of all, sex, but you specifically list other things as well, like holding someone and sharing a bed. And maybe everything isn’t as loud now, but you get a little depressed because you really will miss all of those things. Who knows when you’ll actually have a woman again, someone to love again. That’s why you got together with her in the first place. Your last girlfriend dumped you and you didn’t want to be alone.
Rule #5: Beware The Quiet Times.
So now it’s just you and her sitting side by side on her couch and feeling sorry for yourselves but not for each other. She gets to talking about what’s been going through her mind lately and what kind of life she’s been leading and what might be down the road, and although you find it all kind of boring and narcissistic you suddenly start finding out a lot about her that you didn’t know.
She says something about something to do with ‘why so pale and wan, fond lover?’ and that really grabs your attention. Looking over her features once more you detect a layer, a strand that you hadn’t noticed before, a deeper meaning in those otherwise straightforward lines. The thought strikes you to kiss her on the cheek and offer to give things another try, but you don’t let it linger for long because she could turn you down and then she’d have the upper hand, wouldn’t she? So instead you sit there thinking about how you never did really get to know her.
Rule #6: Never Get To Know Them.