Thursday, March 19, 2009

the grand gesture

Not to sound like Carrie Bradshaw again, but I've been thinking a lot (meaning, I've been thinking for the last 10 minutes) about The Grand Gesture and its implications in relationships. Recently coming out of a long-term, quite serious, emotionally taxing and wholly chaotic relationship myself, I've been contemplating all of the things that one must go through to get over and move on afterward. But with that comes thoughts of "what if...?" The biggest "what if...?" as of this moment is "what if... he showed up with The Grand Gesture?"

The Grand Gesture, according to a focus group of me, is something that is done out of selflessness, regardless of potential impending personal humiliation, to show the vast dedication that one has to making the situation work. No matter how bad it could have been, no matter what you've gone through; this is the one last chance the person has of making things work.

In my dating history, which has been enormously flawed and ridiculously time-consuming (I haven't been this single in over a decade, which I discovered the other day with a calculator and some self-therapy), I've been privy to at least three of The Grand Gestures.

The Grand Gesture part 1: My high-school boyfriend and I broke up at the Dairy Queen (I wish I could make this up) after a tumultuous three-week argument with my parents, where they felt as though he was becoming too controlling in my life. In retrospect, they were right in feeling that way. Also in hindsight, I was mid-adolescent and looking for anything that would validate my existence outside of the family. In other words, both parties had good points. After the steak finger break-up (mmm... steak fingers and gravy...), my not-so-much-boyfriend decided to have a volatile and tearful discussion with my parents about exactly why we should remain together. I sat idly by and watched, thinking that whatever he was offering wasn't worth the drama that would ensue. We were finished.

The Grand Gesture part 2: My college boyfriend and had been having difficulties with our personal relationships and were in the process of breaking up. The sexual chemistry was incredible - I still credit him (silently) with teaching me everything I know about pleasing a penis - but we were from different worlds. His was a world inhabited by self-aggrandizing assholes; mine wasn't. But The Grand Gesture came when we went to a university baseball game and he had the entire stadium serenade me with "Happy Birthday, to the girl in Section 2, Row 3 in the pink shirt." I was happily embarrassed by the limelight, but sat idly by and watched while thinking that whatever he was offering wasn't worth the drama that would ensue. We were finished.

The Grand Gesture part 3: My later college boyfriend and I were separated by a summer of an internship (on my part) and summer school (on his part). He came home with me in July and met my family, and they deemed him "too quiet and intense." Personally, I preferred these characteristics, as "too quiet and intense" translated to me as "the guy who gave me seven orgasms in one day without taking a break to discuss our relationship status." To this day, my friends simply refer to him as "Seven". I eventually realized that my parents were smarter than I was, especially considering they didn't have The Orgasm Fog to cloud their judgement. We moved toward a break-up and he decided that the only way to salvage the relationship was to show up in my home town, search for my parents throughout an entire day at their infernal small-town hot-spots (home, place of business, workshops, what-have-you) so that he could read for them a few excerpts from The Song of Solomon to describe his true feelings for their daughter. When he called to tell me this tale, I told him to drive himself the 101 miles back to his house and get his ass home. When he tried to explain himself later, I sat idly by and listened while thinking that whatever he was offering wasn't worth the drama that would ensue. We were finished.

So now, as I sit and wonder why I didn't get The Grand Gesture, I'm confused. Why would I even want The Grand Gesture? It hasn't done well in the past. The last long-term boyfriend (three-and-a-half years of relationship turmoil) resulted in a mix CD tucked under my windshield wiper and a bouquet of flowers in my doorway. Neither worked. Why would I daydream about my most recent ex showing up at my doorstep with a pained look in his eyes, then us kissing and ripping off clothes without even saying a word? The Grand Gesture doesn't work. It never has. It's always been a last-ditch effort to salvage something that was sinking too quickly to save in the first place.

So with that, I write this post. The Grand Gesture has been made in the past, and has been done so to show selflessness, regardless of potential impending personal humiliation. To show the vast dedication that one hast to making the situation work. But honestly, were any of them selfless? Were any of them done in abandon of personal and social implications? Is anything? And honestly, whatever he'd be offering wouldn't be worth the drama that would ensue.

We are finished.

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