Friday, January 4, 2013

'E' is for Effort. The Cautionary Tale of Smidgen and her Yo-yo Man.

Oh, we got trouble.
Right here in Datin’ City.
It starts ‘T’ and it ends in ‘E’ and that stands for … TERRIFICALLY-EN-noying YO-YO MEN!

Yes, Dear Reader, my hackles have been raised like rabid wolf mother, caught in the midday sun, kicked in the ribs and stung by a wasp.  Not on account of my own misadventures—well, not that I can disclose here—but on behalf of my great friend, Smidgen. 

It is worse than Samantha’s “Friday Night Soup-making-Date-with Mother.” Not So Souper!  Far worse.  In fact, think of an awful date.  Let’s say… being stood up.  Imagine, if you will, the painful scenario: there you are, sitting all gussied-up, your uncomfortable knickers jammed up your crack, your boobs launched skyward, and he still hasn’t arrived.  The restaurant is bustling and the couples beside you giggle, and paw, and order.  You ask for water and play solitaire on your 'I' phone.   Appetizers grace other tables, but you try not to notice; you try to pretend you are not bothered that he hasn’t arrived because you are sure, absolutely positive, that he must be caught in traffic, or off saving the world, or something.  The entrees are served beside you and you regret that all you have had to eat today was a Luna bar.  You’ve been sitting alone for an hour now.  You realize, with an ache, you have told all your friends, nay, the entire Facebook World that you are going on said date.  Shit!  You even told the mouthy hairdresser who spent three hours getting the new shade, cut, blow and curl just right for this evening!  And then, as the table beside you clears and is reset, in walks your Ex, as smiles, as is his way, parading some little bit of Non-English Muffin, who wears the same dress you do, only better.  He waves at you on your own and immediately starts laughing, ordering with largesse, including a drink for you—oh how noble--and they start kissing, nauseatingly, sharing their appetizers as well as their saliva. 

That didn’t happen.  I’m just painting a picture.  But you have to admit, that would be a pretty darn shitty date.  My heart goes out to anyone who has gone to dinner with expectations, has been left dangling, neglected, forgotten, emotionally and mentally crushed.  But that kind of mean neglect is short-lived.  It ends at that non-date.  What happened, no, what  IS HAPPENING to poor Smidgen is worse. 
*Intake of breath*

What in this vast Universe could be a worse slap-in-the-face-with-a-smelly-week-dead-fish than that?  (If you had a worse dating disaster, I’m sorry.  *Head tilt* *Pout* Do share it below so Smidge can feel better.)
Well, Dear Reader, I’ll explain.  You see, Smidgen is being emotionally stood up EVERYDAY.  She is dating a… Yo-yo Man.  He is not a rapper, or a chap who is addicted to mint chocolate biscuits from the UK, or even a fellow talented in the arts of string and spool dexterity, but he is a classic yo yo…wind her in, let her drop, wind her in, let her drop.

Hard hats ON!  Hard hearts? Woof,
Smidge will never have that.
She adores him, she won’t say a bad word about him, but Yo-yo Man is starting to really piss me off on her behalf.  Smidgen is a darling.  It’s an apt name because she is just a sweetie!  She is cute and little, and you just want to give her a hug.  There’s no side to Smidge, everyone loves her.  (She is also: clever, funny, she smells great, she blows at time management and is a sucker for small animals—namely cats.)  She makes her own way, independent is Smidge, and any man would be lucky to have her.

Yo-yo Man seems … okay.  He is not drop-my-knickers-have-my-lovechild funny or handsome, but he is rather nice.  I can see why she might date him to start with, but now?  Now, I am rather at a loss.

You see, he makes no effort.  She is on a string, dangling, waiting for him to roll on in, dazzle her with the charisma she says he possesses, wrap her up in his mighty grip and then, just as things are getting friendly, propel away again, leaving her reeling, feeling inadequate that she can’t keep him for longer; discouraged that he doesn’t want to stay; heart-heavy that he would rather sleep alone than nestled into the soft, clean sheets beside her and her new Victoria’s Secrets purchases. 

We met at our favourite Sunday brunch spot, State St: Smidge, The Empress, The Goddess, The Nymph and me.  It had been a wee while since the five of us had met and news came flurrying from all angles, excited rapid fire of tales of love, of work, of cats, of life.  All angles except for Smidge’s. She was unusually reticent.  It wasn’t until I had finished my eggs benedict, and she had pushed away most of her house salad, that she spilled her sorry state of relations and admitted things were not going as well as she had hoped.  Largely, that her chap had indeed, become a Yo-yo.  A day would go by without even a “hello” text; whole weeks would pass without seeing his face; things that would not seem so bad if he had been aloof from the start, but he hadn’t.

“Think of your relationship as a pie chart.”  I said, trying to present the emotional shituation logically.  “Divide the pie into the slices of time he makes you deliciously, soaringly, climatically happy, and the slices of time he makes you look as sad and forlorn as you do now.  Because I have to say, you look about as pale and puffy-lidded as a Halibut.”   (We are close.  I can say things like that.)

“It’s not that easy.”  Smidge wailed, stabbing her fork futilely at an escapee leaf of argula.  “Because this is a new thing.  He didn’t do this at first.  He made an effort and I felt special, but now… it’s not a happy pie chart.  It’s a shitty poo chart!”

The Empress, the Goddess, the Nymph and I collectively sighed.  Our friend had regressed to high school and he was the cause.  You see, we know what she is worth, we know what she deserves, but Smidge is so distracted by the rose-tinted memories of their romance initially, she cannot make a logical, dispassionate decision.  She will not give up, she will not let go of this man who clearly only wants her at his own convenience, because she’s a naïve trier.  And good for her.  I’d rather be a trier than a wimp, a fighter than a flee-er, an optimist rather than a pessimist; but, if she is making all the effort, if this is all one-way traffic, if he has lost interest after just a month, it doesn’t exactly bode well for a future happy harmonious relationship, does it?

She should be with someone who actively wants to be with her; who wants to do things with her and for her, EVEN if he doesn’t particularly like those things.  He should be so friggin’ blinded by Almighty Cupid that he would do them anyway, and would human torpedo himself to her side at the slightest suggestion of ripping her clothes off and getting her naked. 

To make Yo-yo Man’s distance even more alarming, was the stark contrast to the Empress’s new beau, a sterling chap who is the very opposite of Yo-yo Man; he’s a No-Don’t-Go Man.  Their nascent relationship is already years old in couple comfort; they look and act as if they have been together for decades.  They know each others’ flaws and love them anyway.  They shop together—looking rather like a prima donna and her Body Guard; when she dances, he will, without eye-rolling, hold her purse; he will—on occasion—dance with her; he will cook meatless meals for her, although he is a committed carnivore; he makes an effort.

And I think that is what shocked everyone around the brunch table, especially Smidgen.  As we listened to these contrasting tales of togetherness and separation, I saw Smidge’s eyes well with tears (or dust and allergies), and I knew that she got it too.  It’s about trying, about effort, and Yo-yo Man just didn’t care enough for her to make an effort. 

Maybe she’ll give up soon, cry a little more, hold her head up and get on with things.  We did converse just yesterday, as cities away we both lay on our respective couches watching Jerry Maguire, text-commentating on when Tom Cruise got weird and about Renee Zellwegger’s character’s lack of fashion sense, and she texted with many exclamation marks that she had completed assembling a flat-pack desk thingy from Target.  “I did it all myself!!!!!!!! I did it without *****.  I don’t need him to complete me.  I complete me.”  That’s the spirit, thought I.  But my Romantic Self spasmed with sadness, I don’t want Me to be the greatest love of my life, and I know Smidge doesn't either.

I know she’ll be fine, but it is an interesting concept, don’t you think?  Being constantly left dangling, without plan or agenda, is far more hurtful than being stood up as one’s Ex and his Muffin exchange bodily fluids an arm’s reach away; it’s mentally more demoralizing than a couple’s Christmas squabble; it’s there, chipping away at her confidence with every hour of every day he doesn’t bother.

So remember Datin’ City Folk, if you truly like this one, make the effort.  Go out of your way to bring her/him a coffee; text her to ask how her day is going/text him to ask if he has eaten; make plans; do things that you wouldn’t normally do; meet her/his friends.  It shouldn’t be hard, it’s easy, because you will want to.  That drive, the desire, that pounding in the depth of your stomach that scares and delights and fires you to make someone happy, makes even difficult tasks a pleasure.

Post Script: In researching whether to spell yo-yo with or without a hyphen, I stumbled upon the Urban Dictionary's version of Yo-yo: abbreviation of "You're Own Your Own."  How apt.  Poor Smidgen.


  1. This might be my favorite post! I am way too old to put up with anyone's nonsense anymore. If someone doesn't want to be with me - I don't want to be with them. I LOVED the post you put on FB around Christmas. Was perfect. I am willing to go to the ends of the earth, and thus, want the boy in my life to do the same. I have many (many) flaws. Who doesn't? I don't want to be alone either, but sometimes, I'm better company than others.

    And I wonder - Since Smidgen is already taken, what nickname will you come up with for me? I could give you material for the next 6 months lovey....

    1. Oh Kara! That is chocolate and vodka to my eyeballs! I'm lapping that right up and needed it today.
      I agree entirely with you. In my thirties, I feel far too advanced for game play--I'm sure all the matchmaking guffs who make tons of money by telling women just to be mean to men, would disagree--I just want it to be genuine and natural. If I want to call or text, I want to feel I can, not that I am counting who's turn it is. But, poor Smidgen gives, gives, gives, without agenda or game play, just kindness and enthusiasm, and it's like watching an excitable puppy getting whacked on nose. Pretty soon, the puppy will just limp over to it's basket and not try to play anymore. She is being punished, but she's not doing anything wrong.

  2. As always, Eleanor, you have written words well beyond your years upon this Earth should allow you to.
    You write and I will happily continue to read.