Ever have one of those relationships where you’d like nothing but just to get out alive, yet the other person seems hell-bent on working things out, no matter what the sacrifice? It sounds kinda funny, really – one would think that by following the typical procedures of not cleaning up after yourself, slacking a bit on the hygiene, and generally being an ass whenever humanly possible, it should be easy to shake the grasps of just about any significant other…hell, most of us have done this on accident at least a few times without even knowing it! But then again, there are some people who are so damn persistent with this whole dating thing that they won’t even let you break up with them, as if they’ve got some trump card hidden up their sleeve which will make everything happy and sane once again. A friend of mine used to date a girl like that…

They started out as the happiest couple on the block, always holding hands and gazing dreamily into each other’s eyes – it was enough to make you sick, actually. They were in love, and the world was their kingdom, and several other euphemisms that folks tend to apply to these types of situations (which I can’t seem to remember this moment…) applied to these two. That is, until things began to change, and by things, I mean her. All the things which she at one time thought were so cute about him suddenly repulsed her – his tongue piercing, the way his pants hung around his knees, his thick, carpet-like back hair. One day his beer disappeared from the refrigerator, his cigarettes were missing from even the front pocket of his work shirt, and his cable subscription no longer included those five channels that play nothing but the deleted scenes from those Girls Gone Wild tapes all day long. Nights out with the boys became a thing of the past and he soon found couples square dancing and couples bingo and couples bowling penciled into his calendar. He was watching his manhood trickle away by the claws of this beast of a girlfriend he had found and something needed to be done quickly.

I sat him down one evening and told him what he already knew had to be done. It was going to be tough, especially since they’d been together since high school and the fact that they’d been able to keep things going even two years into college would’ve been an indicator that maybe this was the woman for him…that is, until she took off the mask and displayed her true form as the spawn of Satan himself. Yes, that was it – he’d break up with her the next evening, there would be a day or two of tears and remorse, and he’d be free to come with the rest of us to the concert that weekend. The plan looked good on paper – not completely perfect, as no break-up could ever go perfect – but a lot of planning went into the whole thing and we were confident that it was just the trick to get my friend his cahones back. I guess there was one tiny bit that we had somehow bizarrely overlooked…

“I can’t go to the concert this weekend. She said no…” he reported back to me the following evening.

“Come again?” I asked, having been blown back into the state of confusion. “I didn’t realize that she actually had a say in the matter, seeing as she’s not your girlfriend anymore.”

“Well, that’s the thing,” he began to explain with a certain uneasiness in his voice that told me instantly that the shit had officially hit the fan, “we’re not really broken up…yet, I guess.”

“What do you mean you’re not broken up yet?!” I interrupted, suddenly greatly disappointed in my once-masculine friend. “What the hell happened???”

“I don’t really know, man. I went through everything, told her that things weren’t working out and that we should see other people. She stayed pretty quiet throughout the whole thing and then after I had finished, she just calmly said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’

We were both puzzled and stumped. Could she even do that? Maybe there was something that one of us had missed, but after analyzing the entire situation for well over a case of beer and three packs of Marlboro Lights, neither of us had the faintest idea of what had happened, or how it had happened, or where our shoes had gone, but that was the least of our concerns at the time. He was in a relationship with a woman, but he didn’t love her anymore and wanted to leave her, and she wouldn’t let him. Whew – I could use a drink just thinking about it…

This little scenario played on for several months, during which he would refuse to acknowledge her existence for weeks on end, leaving his phone off the hook and working as many late hours as he could get away with before sneaking out to the parking lot, just hoping that she wasn’t already there waiting for him. The baffling story had been apparently contained between the two of us, as any conversations between our mutual friends simply turned up that the two of them were doing fantastic and had never been more in love, or ‘Never been more in hell!’ as he referred to it. Finally one day he had decided that he just couldn’t take it anymore. She had showed up at his office with lunch – lasagna – which was actually one of her specialties and quite delicious if you could manage to get past the whole psycho-thing long enough to enjoy the entire meal. Instead of eating the meal at his desk though, he suggested that he clock out early so that they could go enjoy it in a more romantic setting. He drove to the top of Lovers’ Leap where they had first kissed; only this time he had a different look in his eye. He tells me that he didn’t mean to do it…not completely, anyways…but as they stood there overlooking the city, he gave her one final kiss, wished her goodbye and pushed her off the cliff.

Nah – just kidding, although many a time we’ve both agreed that it would’ve been a great idea! Fortunately, it never came to that. All it took were three address changes, a new name, a job relocation, a fake accent and an all too-real handlebar moustache which he relentlessly claims is really part of the whole disguise, even though I’ve yet to have been able to approach him without keeling over laughing. This just goes to show you that love can be a dirty game, but you never know how messy things can really get until you try to get out of it. I can’t tell you all to simply avoid the game entirely in fear of situations like this because it’s just way too much fun to be giving up altogether. I guess all I can tell you is to always stay on your guard, never under any circumstance let them come between you and your beer, and most of all – be careful.

Be very careful!!!