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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The War Of The Buttons

'And then we broke up.'


I like being the centre of attention, alright. I'm woman enough to admit it. And when there's trauma in my life, I sometimes like to imagine the worst. Like, yesterday say, when the elevator halted itself a wee bit. Who are you to judge me if for that split moment, I imagined myself several hours later being dragged from the smoke filled elevator by Fireman Hunk, somehow covered in blood and to rapturous applause from the surrounding crowd of spectators and the assembled media? Yes, I like to milk my moments of drama. So as selfish as it sounds, I was quite relishing the melodramatic silence that followed my SHOCKING statement when Bee, my flatmate said:

'Soooo......have you changed your relationship status yet?'

Had I changed my relationship status yet? The more sensible among you might argue I changed my relationship status when I broke up with him. The rest of you are quivering as you realise I had yet to inform Facebook, a social institution even George Orwell would have struggled to imagine. I gulped hard. Everyone's eyes were on me now.

'I..uh...I?' I could feel Bee's laptop blinking at me pointedly.
'Is it not a bit too soon?'
'Babes, it's been like ten minutes' Marcy replied, without a trace of irony.
(Marcy and Bee are the kind of girls who say 'babes' and get away with it. I try to do it too, but every time I say 'babe' a voice in my head goes '....PIG IN THE CITY!!!')
'And, you need to let everyone know it was YOUR decision. You don't want people walking around thinking it was a mutual thing...'
Yes, perish the thought people should think we'd split amicably. To be honest though, I can be as cynical as I like here on my cosy retrospective perch but at the time I was hyperventilating from the scenarios which were quickly playing out in my head. I could envision everyone I'd ever met all being online simultaneously and watching my mini-drama play out on their newsfeeds as they tisked and said things like, 'well, she is ridiculously unattractive' and 'at least he's free from her now to pursue a relationship with that model who's been relentlessly poking him'. My eyes shot around Bee's bedroom for guidance from my assembled friends.
I launched myself towards the laptop. I don't know if you've ever tried to do something in a hurry, but if you do in the future, I do not recommend a swivel chair as your seating of choice. I hold the inelegant shuffling on that blundering chair and some very hectic typing responsible for the valuable time wasting which ensued. And there, when I logged in, it was. He'd beaten me. That ominous little heart beside a changed relationship status at the tippity top of my screen, as if to say, ''THIS JUST IN: CONFIRMATION THAT SAUCY WILL, IN FACT, AS WIDELY SPECULATED, BE ALONE FOR LIFE''.
I swivelled (unsmoothly) back to the girls in horrified despair. They all managed to wipe the alarm off their faces just a second too late before assuring me that:
'It's fine! In fact, it's better this way. Now people will think that you're the mature and confident one who didn't immediately resort to telling the whole world over Facebook'
We were now going to pretend that clearly this was never the plan. As much as I liked to hang on to the idea of my ex-boyfriend sitting in the dark, face lit gravely by the screen, holding back his right arm as his finger hovered over the button to click 'single', barely able to see the keyboard through his tears, (before releasing pigeons to the vatican and a hand written letter to the Queen to confirm the split) I doubted very much that this was the case. As I looked back at the screen again, I had the foreboding feeling that my social network break-up was going to be a lot more stressful than my boring old real-life one.

My love of romantic comedies was not only responsible for my extremely destructive and unrealistic expectations of relationships, it also provided me with a benchmark for what break-ups should be like. I was then very upset with my newfound obsession with monitoring my facebook for post-relationship damage control, instead of doing other very important things; Like eating EVERYTHING. There was a bag of hula hoops lying seductively on the kitchen counter with my name on them. I knew this. Yet here I was quivering in front of a screen, and jumping every time I got a notification. Bit anti-climactic when I realised it wasn't the ex posting meaningful lyrics on my wall. Nor, I noticed, had he 'liked' any ambiguous links alluding to his inner turmoil. (E.g 'Smiling on the outside but wishing you were dead on the inside', or 'Knowin u will neva get ova dat 1 special person....') Eventually I shook off my conceited thoughts and tried to reassure myself that surely I would never go out with the kind of person who would do that kind of thing. Or that to the best of my knowledge, there did not exist on this earth a man who would be driven to such heartbreak over me. Unfortunately...
Bridget Jones-esque thoughts aside, what the christ had happened to me? I was obsessed with my kind of on-screen character. Why was it so crucial how I project myself in this fabricated society? Disgusted with myself, I leant back from the screen and digested fully the complete impact on my life this social media tool had taken. All the pictures I'd strategically tagged, all the statuses I had worded so carefully, all the people I despised but whose relentless drivel I trawled through day after day. And why? Seriously, why? And with that, before I could rethink what I was doing, I took a deep breath, and clicked ''Delete Account''.

LOL JK!!!!!!!

Yeah, as if. If you fell for that then regular reader you are not. My character doesn't have enough substance for such a bold statement. I'll only delete facebook when it's trendy to do it. (aka when everyone else does) Until then, back to Bee's room where I was in the middle of my 'I'maddictedtofacebook' epiphany. 
In walked Bee.
'So babes, have you deleted him yet?'
Deleted him? I hadn't even thought of that yet. Frantic, I checked his profile to see if that quick-witted bastard had beaten me to yet another punch. Slightly sedated, I realised I still had full access to his profile. Dare I delete him? In my head I could imagine him evaporating into a million cyber milli-pieces. 
'Better yet,' interjected Marcy, 'BLOCK him.'
For a moment I conjured up the image of me standing over my concussed ex, brick-on-a-string in my hand. Then I realised what she really meant. I bit my lip. If I'm honest, did I really want to sacrifice the one precious medium where I was guaranteed to be able to keep unrestricted tabs on him at all times? Alright, I realise at the proof reading stage that that last sentence sounds a little Glenn-Close-in-Fatal-Attraction. Anyone who can't admit to having the odd stalk of an ex on facebook, you're only kidding yourselves. Why not tamper with your weighing scales, and buy a treadmill as other additions to your farcical lifestyle? Hmm? Yeah, thought so.
Besides, he'd know I blocked him. Then what would he think? Well, I know what I would think. My self-obsessed reality proof cocoon would try to convince me that images of me having a whale of a time as a new glamourous singleton would have driven him so demented he'd have to purge them from his newsfeed and go drown himself romantically in a remote but picturesque lake. But is he as egocentic as I am???
'Oh Saucy,' I thought to myself with a proud smile, 'no-one is as egocentric as you are'
True, brain, true. But nonetheless, I wasn't taking that risk.

Anyway, if I can't see him, then he can't see me. Then how on earth, dear reader, am I supposed to subject him to my passive aggressive post-relationship propaganda? We had been broken up all of 32 minutes at this point and it had clearly, he'll be delighted to know, taken its toll on me. Frazzled and demented I was now re-examining my profile from the point of view of a stranger and meticulously editing my tagged pictures. I was like my own PR company. Every now and then I would click across one which was not to my taste and experience what I imagine cardiac arrest feels like. (''HOW DID THIS ONE SLIP THROUGH THE NET??! HOW??? HOW!? DAMN YOU AUNT IMELDA, YOU CALLOUS BITCH, AND YOUR 'FAMILY BBQ '08' PICTURES!!!!! DAMN YOU TO HELL!! *untag untag untag*'') I could imagine him sitting back on some bond villian type chair cackling madly as he zoomed in on the offending image and smugly made it his screensaver. I made a mental note to loose the best part of 2 stone before the weekend, buy something ridiculously fabulous which I would never wear, and make plans to go someplace chic and pretentious armed with around seven cameras and some seriously hardcore spanx. Must also download photoshop.
I was going above and beyond the call of crazy.
Manic, I reviewed my profile once more and scanned it for errors. Since the much-anguished "Saucy is now single <3" post, I had received 12 likes. Gushing, I checked them. 10 were from very close girlfriends. Fantastic. Unless I soon announced my transformation into a very much sought after lesbian, he is going to assume I text them all feverishly and made them like it. One was from an extremely random girl whom I haven't spoken to in years (such is facebook). Toyed with fantasy that she was in fact a lesbian and dangerously infatuated with me. I took a moment to prepare my ''alas, we cannot be....'' speech before noticing the final like was from a MAN. Yes, a male specie. Who had, as far as I knew, a fully functioning penis. Unfortunately for him, he liked it in a statement of solidarity as he is a lovely lovely friend. Now he was in the unfortunate position of either looking like my bitchy GBF or some kind of creep who had been long anticipating my return to the market. Sigh. As I was sulking about my lack of offers from suitors (it had been nearly 40 minutes now, people!) I noticed something else very, very wrong with my profile. Where was my little heart! That little heart which had caused me so much trouble in the first place had now vanished completely from my profile. Where is it??? Had I deleted it by mistake?  I double, triple and quadruple checked my settings. No. It seems you can post all the pictures you like of you vomiting onto your bosses lap at the christmas party, or as many statuses as you like about your disturbing obsession with your imaginary farm, but as soon as you announce 'Oh FACEBOOOOOOK! I'm singlleeeeee!', Facebook says: 'Hmm....we might just hide that little titbit of information, shall we?' I silently cursed Zuckerberg, the Big Brother I never wanted for enhancing my already festering Single Woman Syndrome. I sank into the chair, emotionally exhausted. I just broke up with someone, and I hadn't even been able to focus on it because I was spending so much time making sure it was subtly obvious that I just broke up with someone. I still had not eaten any chocolate, for Christs sake. Holy moley.
'You know what,' I thought, 'feck this.'
His profile was glaring straight at me, defiantly, I thought. It was time to do what I do best: self-indulgence.
'You know what Saucy!' I said to myself.
'What?' I replied, to myself.
'He is totally doing the same thing to your profile right now.'
'TOTALLY!' I thought.
And with that, I grabbed 'Love Actually' even though it could not be further from Christmas, a duvet, a bag of buttons and my least attractive pyjamas and clicked LOG OUT.

The Saucy Cow


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