The Boston Phoenix
July 20 - 27, 2000

[Out There]

Really mad libs

Breaking up is hard. But it's easier with a template.

by Kris Frieswick

Breaking up is hard to do, but I'd venture to say that being the dumpee is easier than being the dumper, and here's why. As the dumpee, you probably don't see it coming. There you are, just going about your daily relationship business, perhaps feeling a little uneasy but you're not sure why, when suddenly, wham! Your life gets thrown into a tailspin when your lover announces that he/she is outta there. You get to be the victim. People feel bad for you. You can eat two pints of Ben & Jerry's every night for a week, hang out in your bathrobe watching your Blade Runner video over and over and slowly ripping your ex out of every photo in the house, and no one bats an eye, 'cause you got dumped.

But the dumper has an awesome responsibility. As the dumper, you have to make the big decision. You've probably been stewing for quite some time about a problem with the relationship that you have not felt comfortable discussing with your lover. Or you've been getting increasingly annoyed with a personality trait so basic to your lover's identity that trying to change it would be like asking him/her to lop off a limb . . . for instance, a penchant for sci-fi movies starring buxom androids. Eventually, after one Blade Runner screening too many, you snap and you make the decision to end the relationship. That's when the real heavy lifting of the break-up begins.

There are so many decisions to make. When do you do it? Morning, so he'll be in pain all day? Evening, so she loses a good night's sleep? Where should the dumping take place? At a restaurant, where your lover may or (horrors) may not be deterred from throwing a huge fit? In your own home, where your lover may linger after the deed is done, or possibly exact some property damage on the way out? In a car, where he or she may respond to the dumping by driving you both into oncoming traffic? At the lover's dwelling, where the dumped will forever live with the memory that "this is where I was sitting when it happened"? Most important, what do you say? You can't say, "You're a pathetic loser." That's not going to do anyone any good. And you absolutely cannot say, "It's not you, it's me," 'cause everyone knows that's bullshit.

I can't help you decide the whens, wheres, and whys of your split, but, as a veteran of far too many break-ups, I can give you a little help in the "what" department.

In my experience, there are really just three basic break-up speeches. The speech you choose will depend on the specifics of why you're leaving, and that's something only you can decide. Below, I've provided outlines of those three speeches. Inasmuch as each break-up possesses its own unique details, I've drafted them in a familiar and easy-to-use format (a/k/a the Mad Lib) so that you can insert the details of your particular relationship as needed.

The `I can't imagine marrying you now or ever' speech

You know, [lover's name], I think you're a really [adjective/complimentary] [gender]. But I don't think I'm ready to be in a [adjective] relationship. It's not that I don't [verb/affectionate emotion] you, but I feel a little [adjective]. Maybe I'm not over [previous lover's name]. Maybe I'm just [verb]ing for something [adjective]. I don't know. I just think we should stop [verb]ing each other. I hope you understand, and won't be too [emotion]. Please tell your family I said [declarative phrase]. I will always have a [adjective] place in my [body part] for you.

The `Sick of waiting for you' ultimatum

[Lover's name], we've been together for [number] [unit of time] now, and it's pretty obvious you have no intention of [verb]ing me. In fact, I think you've been [profanity] [verb]ing my [body part] for too long, and I think I've [profanity] [verb]ed for the last time. It's "[verb] or get off the [noun]" time around here, Mr. [sarcastic nickname]. If you won't [verb] me, there are plenty of [adverb] [adjective] [gender]s out there who would be [emotion] to [verb] me in a [short unit of time]. Here's your [noun/personal property]. I'll be by on [day of week] to pick up the rest of my [noun]s. And as they say, if the [noun] don't [verb], you'll know it's me.

The `I caught you with someone else, you scum-sucking pig' rant

Say, [lover's name], where were you last [day of week]? (Wait for lying response.) That's funny, I could have sworn I saw a [gender] who looked exactly like you at [location]. But then it couldn't have been you because the [gender] I saw had [possessive pronoun] [body part] all over an [adverb] [adjective] [gender], and they looked like they were about to shove their [body parts] down each other's [orifice]s. (Wait for denial.) You lying [noun] of [noun], do I look like some kind of [profanity] [noun]? Why don't you pack up your [noun/personal property] and your [profanity] lying [body part], and don't let the [noun] [verb] you on the [body part] on your way out, you [extreme profanity] son of a [animal]'s [genital]. If I ever see your [adjective] [body part] within [unit of measurement] of this house again, I will [verb] it off with a [noun], do you hear me?

Kris Frieswick can be reached at

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