**Editors' Note: Infamous CoatCheck Girl sent us this guest post. Thanks ICCG!**
Classic literature is littered with tragic unrequited loves and tales of spurned affections. Often the stories end with the scorned lover making one final dramatic gesture.
Ovid's Sappho leaps to her death from the Leucadian Cliffs when Phaeton chooses a younger woman. Other heroines abjure the company of men and enter the cloister, or die of the consumption. The gentlemen fight duels or go off to die in wars...
But this is real life and these are more modern times. In this technologically driven age, the ultimate in dramatic gestures is (cue dramatic music now): Deletion!.
People hook up, break up, and make up via text and email. AIM, Gmail and myspace have superceded the tête-à-tête.
I am not immune to it.
I am sure I have hit "send" when I shouldn't have, but I try to be aware of something many of us often forget. All of this--- text, email, voice messages, it all leaves a record.
I have found myself in the role of the rejecting party more than once, and have begun to notice a common process, or what I call The 7 Stages of Rejection.
Stage 1. Denial :
This first stage embodies the term "selective hearing". You can be nice: "I'm just not ready for a relationship right now" or you can rip off the band-aid quickly and painfully: "Hell will freeze over before I'll date you!" Either way, all they hear in their heads is "I still have a shot!"
Stage 2. Acceptance:
The realization may finally start to sink in after a few dozen emails and text messages go unanswered. The impassioned pleas of "i can change, I'll give you space...you can still date other people if you want...!" have been sufficiently ignored, and so we enter…
Stage 3. The Redistribution of Assets:
The irrational demand to return borrowed items or reclaim items left behind--- right now--- regardless of the time of day or night. That lone mismatched sock, that guitar pick under the couch, suddenly becomes the one vital item they can't live without, and which you (the rejecting party) are now holding hostage. The exchange of goods might be a fine stopping point, a dramatic gesture on its own. But coming face to face with the object of affection only serves to prompt…
Stage 4. Sorrow: The regretful sentiment.
"I hate that it had to be this way.", sent via text of course. Oh, it’s weet, but give it time. Soon to follow is…
Stage 5. Anger:
This one happens a few hours later---usually around bar-close. Prompted by liquid gumption and spurred by sympathetic friends, comes the attack, the snarky comment. The format, whether text or phone call, will be determined by the degree of inebriation. Then...
Stage 6. The Last Word:
Also what I like to call "And another thing...!". That final word, jab, comment, and, just so there's no chance for rebuttal...
Stage 7. Deletion:
Ah yes, the final, grand gesture, the ultimate repudiation of the rejecting party, the final closing of that door---deletion from the "friends' list", the address book. With the click of a button you can erase a person from your life and make a statement.
Call me an old-fashioned romantic, but I long for the days people when just had the decency to keel over from a broken heart.