My friend Greta is facing an interesting dilemma. She is trying desperately to get her girlfriend to break up with her, but her girlfriend refuses to go along with the plan.
'Why don't you just tell her that you don't want to see her anymore?' I asked as Greta unveiled an elaborate scheme designed to get Delores to hate her.
'But that would make me the bad guy,' Greta whined. 'And everyone would be mad at me for hurting her.'
Greta has the misfortune of being romantically involved with a really nice woman who everyone loves. Delores is a doe in human form—big, watery eyes, tiny hooves, and all. And what kind of monster would break up with a gentle creature of the forest?
Delores is the type of person who always volunteers to help you clean up after a cocktail party. She remembers the names and birthdays of your pets. And she describes your mother as 'charming' even after mom smashes one of Delores' handmade origami sculptures under her highball glass and then uses the crumbled paper to mop up the spilled bourbon.
In other words, Delores is exactly the opposite of Greta's type. Greta prefers women who like to throw their considerable weight around and bare a striking resemblance to Mr. Potatohead. Her last girlfriend spent an evening biting the bottoms off fancy chocolates and carefully replacing them in their box with the eaten-side down. Then she presented the box of candy to a friend as a hostess gift. And, she didn't do it to be funny, either. She did it because she is mean, cheap, and has no self-control.
The only reason Greta became involved with Delores is because she initially misread Delores' genuine shyness as a symptom of the special brand of sociopathic detachment that typically drives Greta mad with desire.
But we're not here to judge Greta (as much as we'd like to). We're here to help her. And what she needs is advice on how to get her girlfriend to break up with her.
You'd think that getting someone to fall out of love with you would be easy. All it would require is doing all the stuff that made them fall in love with you, only in reverse. But it's never that simple. Once someone is in love with you, they'll put up with almost any type of nonsense. They'd rather have a bad version of you than no version of you.
Greta handed me a paper with a list of ideas on how to get Delores to hate her. It included a lot of tired notions that would do little but leave her with a hangover and a few social diseases: drinkin' and drugin'; infidelity; vacations with both sets of parents. What the list didn't include was the only thing dastardly enough to end the relationship: brutal honesty. But since that clearly isn't an option for my cowardly friend, I had to think up something else.
I looked over her ideas and finally said with a shrug, 'Have you considered chronic incontinence?'
'No!' she said, her eyes widening with delight. She grabbed a pencil and jotted it down on her list. 'That just might do it!'