Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Variations On The Canon Of McVie

Let me down easy, no big song and dance. No long faces, no long looks, no deep conversation. — “Tell Me On A Sunday”

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(And to think that a couple of hours earlier, I was agonizing over what to write about for a new episode of The McVie Show.)

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For years now I’ve been hearing the words, “Let’s just be friends” from guys whom I wanted to be more-than-friends with. I remember the first few times I heard that line, it was a pretty straightforward sentence consisting of four words with a contracted “let us” at the start. After a few years I realized that “Let’s just be friends” was turning out to be the consistent line I’d hear again and again. It became some form of McRule of Attraction—tell a guy you’re interested and you get that line slapped in your face. (Well, to be fair most of them deliver it not with a slap but with a gentle pat on the cheek, like, “There, there, now.”)

As I grew older I chose more articulate guys. Thanks to them I heard variations on the canon: We’re better off as friends. I don’t understand why you’d be interested in me; you deserve someone better. I see you as a great acquaintance. As far as I feel like I can willingly be with you, that’s where I see my sentiments draw the line.

Alas my own experience of passing on such wonderful copy has been woefully limited to just two. I think I used the awfully trite, “I don’t think this is working out,” and its not-so-creative variation, “This isn’t going to work.”

Not surprisingly the two occasions I had to let someone down, I found it relatively easy for me to execute the line (my default manner is to begin diplomatically then, if the reception is favorable, end with matter-of-fact clarity). I guess my years of experience on the receiving end have converted the phrase “if I were in your shoes” into something more than just lip service; I literally owned the shoes they are wearing.

Also I did not feel guilty afterwards. Again, years of experience has taught me that by turning them down early, I spared us both from protracted awkwardness and shortened the “hoping-where-there-is-actually-no-hope” period.

While it may be so for me, I do realize that it is unfair of me to expect that others would understand, much less emulate, me. That would be hubris on my part. Instead, I must always remind myself of something that I read in someone else’s Facebook just a few minutes ago, when I was in the middle of hammering out this episode of The McVie Show: It takes true inner strength, wisdom and maturity not to be bitter, not to be rude or haughty, not to retaliate. Don't demean yourself. Be kind. Take the high road.

Oh man. The road I took is so high, I’m gasping for air.

* * * * *

Long story short, another one bites the dust.

Don’t wish, don’t start; wishing only wounds the heart…. There’s a girl I know; he loves her so. I’m not that girl. — “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked

5 comments:

gibbs cadiz said...

awww. :(

citybuoy said...

that song from wicked always makes me sad. i hope u feel better, joel. :D

daredevilry said...

sorry to hear that it didn't work out.

Andrew said...

Thanks, I needed this also. As another cliche goes, it's not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up.

Anonimus said...

Sana ako maka-experience din ng ganyan. Hindi ako magaling sa breakups eh.

So far ang mga naging experience ko pa lang eh yung nasa territory ng.. (Anonimus) "P.I. mo... and kapal ng mukha mo wag ka na bumalik dito. Pag nagpakita ka pa uli ipapapulis kita.!" Eh bumalik pa din, ayun. Nahalata tuloy na scripted lang.

Meron naman isa, ganito. (Anonimus) "Eh bakit ko naman kelangan magreply sa text mo, obligasyon ko ba yun?" So nag-email na lang sya.

Nung nagkaron naman ako ng saucy-saucy recipe, hindi na nya ako kinausap uli nung sinabi kong "was it ever really us?" Pero hindi na kami 'us' nung sinabi ko yun ha. Uso kasi sa mga saucy-saucy ang breakups. Romanticized. Much-anticipated. Palagay ko nga ito ang high point ng relationship for them.

Parang you can't wait to break up kase may excuse ka nang mag-shopping ng mag-shopping at kumain ng kumain. Dba? Although syempre hindi mo aaminin yun. Magsisinungaling ka kahit sa sarili mo. Or mag-organize ng inuman at lahat ng friends obliged to go kse nga moment mo yun. You need to let it all out.

Or... excuse para magblog ng mablog ng mga kasawian sa pagibig at mga leksyon sa buhay na natutunan. Titigil lang pag binasagan ng plorera sa ulo.

In other words, maraming paraan para ma-achieve, at pag na-achieve i-celebrate, ang minimithing breakup. Palagay ko si McVie ay walang mithiing makamtan ito.