Breaking Up With Me is Not Hard to Do: Part One

In this column, names have been changed according to a very intricate system that I have devised involving taking the name of each girl, finding their name in the title of a popular song, and replacing the name with the singer/songwriter’s wife or daughter or backup singer. Thanks Wikipedia!

My best friend is getting married in less than two months from now. Other than signifying the coming of the first of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, it also means that there is a bachelor party to plan. In reviewing what I knew of my friend’s life, I realized that most of it revolved around his experiences, for good or ill, in the complicated world of dating. For the past 12 years or so, I along with all of my friends, would enjoy being regaled by the onslaught of his hilarious misadventures with the opposite sex. As I sat at my computer, reviewing these accounts and how I could best retell them at a bachelor party in a way that would make him cry in front of all attendees, I began to think of how they compared with my own dating and breakup stories.

Now, it must first be said that I did not enjoy the act of dating as it involves an uncomfortable interaction with a member of the opposite sex who was probably embarrassed to be seen with me anyway. I found it much more logical to keep all of my social interactions within the comfortable confines of The Sims. Because of this, I have had very few girlfriends when compared with most, and, as a result, I have very few breakup stories. But as with most things in my life, the tragedy involved in these stories is epic, and therefore, worthy of review in the form of a three-part blog entry.

My first interaction with a member of the opposite sex came at the tender age of four. I was running around in my front yard, torturing insects as kids are wont to do, when I noticed a line of boys leading into my next-door neighbor’s backyard. I sauntered over to it suspiciously and then asked my friend what the line was for. “Jennifer is giving away free kisses!” he exclaimed, a smile beaming across his innocent face. Though I still ascribed to the notion that one needed protection to avoid the dreaded KTA (Kissing-transmitted disease) of cooties, I was also easily swayed by the presence of a group of my peers in a line, and so I joined in. I spent the next few days wondering how many babies Jennifer would eventually birth as a result of this pre-school pimping.

Luckily, I made it into elementary school without having to pay for any child support. But, I also awkwardly fell for a string of girls who would eventually crush my little heart. In first grade, there was Lisa who I fell in love with because of the Mary Lou Retton shirt that she wore three out of the five days of the school week. Though there was no official proposal of commitment, she knew that, by sitting kitty-corner from me in class and having her coat-hook directly next to mine, we were destined for each other. My heart was broken as I walked into class after a riveting game of Four square and saw her carousing with Gary, the kid who spread Elmer’s glue on his fingers and then spent quiet-reading time eating the dried product. Last I heard, they were living happily in Washington with 5 kids, one of whom is an Olympic hopeful in the all-around competition for 2012,

My first official and formal request to “go out” (a term once held so sacred which is now laughable as actual “going out” was strictly verboten until the age of 16) came in 2nd grade. Our class sat, along with the rest of the school, on hard-backed chairs in the gym as we watched Flight of the Navigator. I sat directly behind Kamea, a girl who even in second grade made me appreciate the motion of the Laotian. I took out a piece of paper and a pencil that I had squirreled away in my pockets. I used that paper to eloquently express the intricacies of my love in the best way I knew how.As was the custom, I passed this note to Kamea’s best friend, who sat next to her. It may have been easier to just pass it to Kamea herself as she was sitting directly in front of me, but I knew that to accomplish these things, there were channels that one must go through. Through a series of note passings, a “maybe” was eventually changed to an “o.k.” answer as to whether or not she would go out with me. We never spoke to each other during the transaction or afterwards. I suppose that, legally speaking, we are still going out with each other.

One year after another, various girls were secretly adored. There were other requests, namely in fifth grade when I asked Amy if she would be my girlfriend. She returned the note which I had carefully folded up to resemble a heart (complete with aortic valve, I was a "gifted and talented" nerd after all) and wrote at the bottom these words which, paraphrasing one of my favorite musicians, Eric Elbogen, are the five worst words in our language:I, of course, was perfectly content with just being friends as I had so few of them anyway. Sure, I would have to put off (for now) the hand holding, kissing, and eventual matrimony, but my heart jumped at the idea that she would still want to at least be friends with me. For my younger readers, I will impart unto you this knowledge now for your future reference: this phrase does not mean what you think it means. You break it down semantically and, yes, I agree, there is little dispute over its meaning. However, Amy felt differently and told me so during one of my several attempts to play pogs with her at her house.

In sixth grade, I began my first relationship with a girl who I would actually end up speaking to. I became committed to Barabra because of, oddly enough, another attraction to the odd choice of apparel. On the first day of school, Barabra came to class wearing a necktie, but one that was slack around an unbuttoned collar. The other kids in the class made fun of her apparent confusing of gender-specific clothing. I, being the young Tim Gunn of my elementary school, defended her fashion-consciousness. Thus began the kinship between us. Her friends would come to me later with the hoped for “yes” response to my inquires as to her interest in me as a boyfriend. We would spend our recesses indulging our wildest lusting by holding each other’s hands and walking around the schoolyard.

One day after school, she walked over to my house and showed me an explicit passage from a Steven King book. I had no idea why she would do that, and I began to distance myself from her and her liberal ways. The relationship ended the way it began. Her friends ran up to me while I played tetherball and informed me that she was now going out with Dan, who held her hand like I never could. Just then, the tetherball crashed into my head and sent me sprawling to the floor. As I lay there I saw triplicate images of Dan and Barabra holding hands and laughing at me on the ground. I not only questioned the idea of true love, but I began to realize that if such a thing did exist, I would never be a recipient. This epiphony came just between my tetherball competitor’s announcement that no “headsies” would be used in the next round and my quiet sinking into unconsciousness.


Rachel said...

I just want you to know that I get nervous when I write comments on your blog due to the level of your literary genius. Here I am, in awe. Bravo! (Are those the real notes from your elementary experiences?)

Marsha said...

I'm anxiously awaiting Part Two. And -- is any of Part One actually true?

Cameron said...

Ok, so the notes are re-creations of the actual notes I passed in school. I probably do have the actual ones kicking around somewhere, knowing me.

And, Marsha, all of these stories are entirely true. I can't make this stuff up. Except for pogs. I never really played with pogs.

And Rachel, I am far from a literary genius, but thank you. I still end sentences in prepositions. So, feel free to write whenever you would like to.

Camille said...

This story is bringing many a traumatic elementary school experience back...being alternately thrown to the ground and kissed by one boy and then punched in the stomach by another in first grade (no wonder I have issues), ridiculous games of kissing tag in second grade (followed by a wasteland of no kissing for about 20 years) pulling in fourth grade..."going steady" with someone I don't think I ever uttered a word to in fifth grade! Yikes.

And it's perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition, so your literary genius remains intact.

my secret word verification is 'frifi'--I don't even know how to begin to fashion a story out of that!