Wednesday, November 09, 2011

COLUMN: Single

Well, Quad Cities, I'm in a bit of a pickle.

Let's say -- hypothetically, of course -- that you're an aspiring humor columnist with humble dreams of global adoration, world conquest, and riches beyond all imagination. And let's say that you've spent the past two and a half years charming the socks off your readers with innocent tales of burgeoning young (or at least middle-aged) love. Let's say that it's to the point, even, when strangers stop you on the street to ask when wedding bells will ring for you and your dream girl.

How, then, should one handle breaking the news that The World's Most Perfect Relationship Ever has gone down the drain like a half bottle of Plumber's Helper?

I suppose the best way to save face would be to paint the newly labeled ex as a She-Devil incarnate, and regale you all with the many ways that she done gone and done me wrong in a charming yet biting Hank Williams kinda way. That the poor hero of the story (that'd be me) went and foolishly gave his heart to the female Vordemort, yet somehow -- with the utmost conviction of personal strength and character -- made it out the other side wiser and world-weary with a little charm and a lot of style.

Too bad that'd be a lie.

It is true that I have sadly parted ways with She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named -- but it wasn't anybody's fault. Truth is, it had been coming for a while. We're just two different people who turned out to be too different of people. And yeah, it's a huge bummer. No one was a hero and no one was a villain. It was just the culmination of a lot of issues and a lot of hard work on both our parts. At the end of the day, I still love her and I hope she still loves me. We're working hard at staying friends, and while a reconciliation down the road is doubtful, I've definitely seen weirder things happen, so who knows.

In the meantime? Bachelorhood, thy name is Shane. It's been a while, and not much has changed. I've had little to do over the past month except weigh the pros and cons of single life, so let's run through the checklist:

PRO: I can eat what I want, when I want.

CON: Except when the refrigerator is empty, which it now always is, because I haven't mastered the basic art of cooking or caring for myself. I've also discovered that when you're in a relationship, you eat out often at moderate to fancy restaurants, and I fear I've developed a taste for the stuff. Problem is, I have a hard enough time eating lunch at a diner by myself -- I couldn't imagine rocking a steakhouse solo. I've tried carry-out a few times, but it's not the same. So if any of my friends are looking for second or third wheels for dinner, call me up. In the meantime, I've been having an awkward and beloved reunion with my true soulmate: the Taco Bell drive-thru.

PRO: I can watch whatever shows I want to watch whenever I want to watch them. (Also related: I will never have to sit through another re-run of Law & Order (her fave show!) ever again.)

CON: An eight-hour marathon of "Storm Chasers" sounded way better in my head than it turned out to be. And TV's boring when you only get to share it with your cats.

PRO: I can decorate this house however I want. Down with the holiday-themed hand towels! Off with the doilies! I now have a fully-finished man-cave basement to go with the rest of my man-house!

CON: I now have a fully-finished man-cave basement that I never go down into because I can't hear if someone's trying to break in upstairs. Having a paradise escape retreat only works if you have something in your life worth escaping. And it always used to smell like flowers in here for reasons I've never been able to figure out. Now it just kinda smells like feet.

PRO: I never have to spend my weekends at one of her extended family get-togethers!

CON: I really like her family -- and Lord knows there's a BUNCH of them. I feel like I just broke up with 27 people at once, most of whom can cook like the dickens, too.

PRO: Whenever I would write a column about the two of us, she'd demand on reading it before-hand, often insisting on changes to anything she disapproved of. No more of that poppycock.

CON: Without her inspiration, I fear lots of columns about cats, crankiness, and the catastrophes of single life in my future.

I'm trying to look at it like the story arc of "Friends." When the show started, everybody loved Ross because he was the lovable hapless loser. Then he hooked up with adorable Rachel and everyone cheered. Then it got kinda stale, so the show broke 'em up. And then they paired Ross up with a hot (albeit kinda bitchy) British chick. Well, just for the record, I'm a sucker for a British accent, so if that's you, get in touch. Of course, then the British girlie left Ross at the altar when he accidentally said Rachel's name during the ceremony, so that's no good.

Who knows what the future holds? For now, I'm just trying to keep my head above water. If I stay lucky enough to keep getting this coveted piece of Sunday newspaper real estate, you're all invited for the ride. Wish me luck.

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