Dumping-by-cell: Is breaking it off over the phone okay?

Hello, old sports:*

I'll tell you some of the gory weekend details below. But first ... let me get to the topic that seems most in need of addressing today.

Saturday night, I was at a party at The Norwood, where I met a groovy woman who mentioned she'd gotten engaged on Valentine's Day. (She introduced her boyfriend to me as her fiancee, and he seemed a little sheepish. "That word always seems so ... formal," he said. "Can we try something like 'boyfriend I'm engaged to?'") The news of their V-Day bliss reminded me about a much less happy V-Day story: A friend of mine got dumped on February 14--dumped that very afternoon, just in time for her to cancel the reservation they'd made at some nice little French place; dumped after six months of dating (and about six months of friendship before that); dumped ... OVER THE PHONE.

If you ask me, the most egregious element of this story is not the timing (which is bad enough) so much as the method: The phone? Really? After they'd been spending almost every waking minute together for the last six months? Now, that's a slight exaggeration ... but since they're both creative types, with irregular schedules, they definitely enjoyed a lot of face-time. (Not to mention a lot of abdomen-time, if you catch my drift.)

Upon hearing this story, I expressed my outrage. "I think that if you've gone on, say, five dates with a person, and you've had sex, the onus is on the dumper to make things right in the world and do it IN PERSON. Doncha think?"

The words were barely out when I remembered a hipseter-artist dude, from the South, who lived kinda close to me, in Brooklyn. He was adorable, with tousled brown hair, and boyish looks and charms; and he was always making jokes, which he'd deliver as if he was hiccuping up one frog after the other--like he was surprised to see what came out of him. We seemed to spend a lot of time kissing on street corners; I remember one time in particular, when there was a light spring rain and he took off the red rain hat I was wearing, and pulled me closer by the collar of my jacket. (Sigh.) And since he was Southern, he was given to adorable gestures, like calling to make sure I got home okay. (I love that stuff.) And since I dig modern art--and since his father was a literature professor, his mother a writer, and he liked to read--we had plenty to talk about.

But ... he'd quit his "real job" to pursue his artsy dreams, without much of a plan about how he was going to make a living, and he was always so broke that it made things tense. The whole thing just didn't feel sustainable. Plus, for whatever incomprehensible reason, I didn't feel much chemistry. (Maybe because, unlike some people, he didn't pick me up like a loaf of French bread, swing me under his arm, and make off to the bedroom with me? Which is my issue.) ANYWAY ... we had five dates, and it was the day after the fifth that I went out on my front stoop with my phone and broke it off. It was an uncomfortable conversation, and I remember being incredibly relieved when it was over--relieved I'd done it cellularly. The only thing I will say in my own defense is that we hadn't had sex. (Note French bread problem mentioned above.)

I'd barely had time to remember all that when my friend, on the other end of the line, answered: "I dated a guy for 4.5 years. We were almost engaged ... and then I broke up with HIM over the phone."

Oh, sheeeeet.

Irregardless** ... I'm going to stand by my pronouncement that if it's been five dates, and there's been full-on sex, and you can tell someone's feelings are going to be hurt--don't you think you'd make the world a kinder, gentler, more dignified place if you just human-ed up to the situation, and did it in person?



PS: The weekend: I hung out with good ol' Jake Stein and his buddies on Friday night--including some guy who writes for The Economist. The plan was to play ping pong, which I thought I was going to hate, but I instead I loved. ... I also stopped by to see my new apartment. It was a little scary--a little like the morning after a drunken hook-up--where I was like, "Ugh! What was I thinking? This situation looked so much better before!" Because while my new place is in a neighborhood that's hard to beat, and in an old New Yorky brownstone--which is what I wanted-- the bathroom is kinda dilipadated ... and so is the kitchen ... and there's about half the storage space (maybe less than that) of the place I'm leaving. But I guess I just need to buck up and learn how to put in some shelves, hmmm?


dear commenters:

-Jessica: I think one always has to tread carefully at the gym, because if it goes poorly, you can't escape into the anonymity of the city. Cf. here.

-Morning Glory: I like your story! Thanks for reminding generalizations only do us so much good. And I'm glad you like the blog!

-Dan: you did help shed light! by saying, "be aware of the possibility he might just be in it for the cash ... but not necessarily."

-Edwinna: I think we really need to hook up some kind of audio device, so I can get your advice piped into my brain on a daily basis.


*I was looking at The Great Gatsby over the weekend, and noticed that he calls everyone "old sport." Which I kinda liked. How do YOU like it? And is it a wise idea for me to link myself to such a tragic figure, doomed by love?

**I know "irregardles" is gibberish. I was just using it to sound silly--as I do sometimes feel silly when I am bloviating about this or that.

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