I have been with my boyfriend on and off for fifteen years. I know he loves me, but sometimes he is mean, like today when he kicked me out of the car on the freeway. Should I end it? He is super nice and one time he broke down an Amazon box and put it in the blue bin.
— Walking on the Side of the Highway
Deciding whether to end a relationship is tough. It's more difficult than deciding whether to have children, choosing between chemo or your hair, or whether to get those new tattooed eyebrows.
Let me tell you a story. I had a boyfriend once. We were on and off for about fifteen years too! One time, he kicked me out of his car in the Nordstrom's parking lot, and I had to walk home to Silverlake in my Coclico heels. (I had never downloaded the Uber app. I know it doesn't make a whole lotta sense, but I was afraid to get into cars with strangers.)
Anyhoo, after that I decided to take him to Palm Springs for his birthday. I warned him that he had to be nice to me before the trip, because the hotel wouldn't let you cancel the room fewer than seven days in advance. And he was nice to me — until our trip was seven days away. Then he stopped communicating. No texts, no calls, no emails. Finally I sent him a hysterical Facebook message asking if we were still going. He wrote back, "What time should I pick you up?"
I spent the whole drive to Palm Springs sulking and being super quiet and mean. You could feel the anger swirling around in the car. When we got to the super fancy hotel that I was paying for and he was not, we discussed the fact that he hadn't spoken to me for a whole goddamn week. Preston (totally his real name) said that he was sorry. He said it had nothing to do with me. He said he was just "hibernating" — which is another word for "soul-crushing depression," apparently.
I didn't believe him, but I was tired of talking about it. I had two drinks and felt better, and we had fun. Then in the morning I got my period and I realized that my anger over being kicked out of the car and ignored for a week was probably just PMS! Because as you must know, WOTSOTH, we gals can be kinda cranky sometimes.
We spent Saturday by the pool. I left Preston there to keep our chairs while I went out to lunch with Daniel and David, a couple who moved to Palm Springs and had a perfect house with perfect dogs and perfect decor — you know, kilim rugs and lots of light. When I came back, I began to notice some stuff. He had gained a lot of weight since the last time we had seen each other naked a few months before, which doesn't bother me in general (I like 'em chunky!), but there was something very wrong about this. He had a large beer belly flopping over his swim shorts, but the rest of him hadn't caught up. And his swim trunks were too low; way too low. His belly looked like a flounder hanging over his waistband.
Depressing. You know what I mean, WOTSOTH? Not like someone who was enjoying life and indulging in it, but like someone who was detached from life and the world and any sense of being healthy at all. If this were a hot guy with a floppy flounder on his stomach, then maybe this would be okay. But Preston was wearing his soul-crushing depression front and center.
Sexually, he was out of it too. We had good sex the first night. But the second night, for some reason he didn't want me to put in a sponge — he literally couldn't commit to a sponge. But then inexplicably he tried to have sex anyway, poking me with his half-hard dick. He's small anyway, so something that could have been sexy turned into something super unsexy... poke... poke... poke. This is apparently foreplay.
Ew. I moved away. He got upset.
Somehow we survived that, and then Sunday morning we had breakfast outside our room. He ordered Eggs Benedict and I ordered pancakes. So we're sitting there outside having breakfast, he wearing just shorts and no shirt, looking sad and unhealthy and sweaty.
And then it happened. He took a bite of his Eggs Benedict and slobbered a bunch of hollandaise and runny yolk onto his chest and it caught in his chest hair and he didn't notice.
A line was crossed. Enough. Hollandaise and runny yolk just dangling in a fat, depressed guy's chest hair while he's talking to me and chewing and all that was just too much. The small, half-hard dick poking in my ass was too much. The swim trunks that show his butt-crack. The stained t-shirts.
I just didn't want to settle for this model of guy anymore. It's the same feeling that makes me throw out all my stained t-shirts, or peel off the old wallpaper in my bathroom on a whim. I struggle with the idea that at this age it's too late to make a lot of changes, but I felt like settling for hollandaise dangling off chest hair would be the nail in my coffin.
I want a guy in my life, but I also want a clean and vibrant life. I want to be that girl who is put together, who seems energetic and clean with delicate gold chain necklaces and a pale light pink manicure. I want the opposite of hollandaise in chest hair.
So, WOTSOTH, if has this guy dropped any food into his chest hair? If so, it's time to break up. If not, I'd stick it out.
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Carmelita Whipsnade (totally not her real name, or even her real initials, although she is a "she"; that much is true) works for the Deep State. She lives in Los Angeles and has a dog and half a horse.