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  NIGHTSPOTS

Dateland
by Jennifer Parello
2009-12-09

This article shared 1982 times since Wed Dec 9, 2009
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I was walking through the grocery store and, somewhat fortuitously, found myself in the canned vegetable aisle. I desperately needed an idea for this column and I thought I landed on one when I spotted a can of baby lima beans. This discovery came immediately on the heels of an encounter with baby spinach in the produce aisle.

So, initially, this column was going to be about how it's sad to see baby vegetables die so young. And it was going to be really funny. I know this because as I thought about baby vegetables dying before their time I clutched my side and laughed out loud right there in the canned vegetable aisle.

But as I was standing there, making a fool of myself in front of a display of unamused baby peas, an old girlfriend breezed past me and, suddenly, this column took a much darker turn.

I did what I always do when I see an old girlfriend in the grocery store: I scurried off to the liquor section and hid in the beer cooler until the coast was clear.

As I waited it out in the chill, I reflected on why it's always me who's running into the cooler. Why don't they hightail it away from me? The obvious answer, of course, is that I'm a coward. But I hate obvious answers.

I've heard tell of a great lesbian land where all ex-girlfriends become best friends, spend holidays together, and merrily share custody of beloved pets. In this mythical place, your cooled passion forms into a platonic ideal, after a respectable period of bitterness, regret, and interference from meddling friends, of course. You no longer are encumbered with the fights and accusations that come with every breakup and you return to a happier, calmer place—a place that allows you to remember all the reasons you liked each other before you started arguing over messy sock drawers and whose turn it is to clean the litter box.

But, as I mentioned, this place seems firmly rooted in lesbian mythology, the same magical thinking that makes lesbians embrace mullets and stoned wash denim as acceptable fashion choices and romanticize menstruation as a mystical gift from the Goddess.

In my world—the real world—ex-girlfriends don't want anything to do with me. I have one ex-girlfriend who is now a friend. And I mean that in the most removed sense. After years of not speaking to me, she "friended" me on Facebook. She is now able to follow my personal life without the bother of having to talk to me. In the olden days, this used to be called stalking. But now it's social networking. But, still, I'm flattered and happy she wants to track me from a distance.

I ended a long-term relationship in the past year and it was a dreadful experience. It was my decision, my fault, and, yeah, I'm the bad guy. ( I've learned a lot about how to be the perfect villain, though, and will share tips with you in future columns. That's me: always trying to look on the bright side! ) And, now, after the dust has finally settled the thing I regret the most is the loss of our friendship.

I'm not sure why friendships often toss themselves on the burning pyre of the carcass of a romantic relationship. Maybe, like baby vegetables, the friendship is too tender and innocent to survive separation from its birth force.

Which is why I left the beer cooler and returned to the canned vegetable aisle, where I exchanged a can of baby lima beans for the full-grown, adult version. Because it's so sad when they die so young.

Hey, I wrote a book! You can buy Dateland on Amazon.


This article shared 1982 times since Wed Dec 9, 2009
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