Rebound and Bound We Go

by Mike CALAHAN
 

Ah, yes. L’amour, That’s Amore, Gettin’ Freaky, Romance.

When romance comes your way, don’t run from it. Embrace it. Embrace it the way one might a baby cougar: Enjoy it while it seems innocent, but then send it off to the nearest zoo or laboratory the moment its claws become dangerous. It’s true, there are many romances that can cause disappointment, but such is life. There is one to be weary of, though—one to be avoided: it is the one termed ‘the rebound.’

The rebound is the romance that takes place immediately following a strenuous breakup, where the one on the rebound, whom we’ll call X, has had their life turned upside down and is looking for something to hold onto (insert violin strings of sympathy here). There is difficulty in knowing whether or not the romance you find yourself on the receiving end of is a rebound, but there do exist a few telltale signs that, unless you’re in complete denial, you can look for.


First Sign: After meeting X and hitting it off beyond your wildest dreams, you find yourself at their quaint hovel. While X is preparing cocktails for you both, you amuse yourself by perusing the family photos that hang on the wall. “You and your brother are very close,” you say.

To which X replies, “I don’t have a brother.”

“Your cousin, then.”

“I have no cousins.”

“Well, then, you and the mailman are very close.”

Bringing you your drink, X looks at the photo in question and says, after a quick gulp of cocktail, “Oh, that. That’s Y, my ex.” (insert ominous kettle drum or bassoon here).

Unless you’re an idiot, you should avoid asking the natural follow-up question at all costs, much the way you should avoid pulling a cork jammed into a hole in a dam.

“How long have you been broken up?” —You idiot.

“Oh, a few weeks,” X answers nonchalantly. Then, just as you feel a chance to change the topic coming on, adds, “Yeah, we were together for…”

And so, you sip your drink while listening to the Greek tragedy that was X and Y. As the evening goes on, dialogues go from one subject to another, but you quickly find that the mentioning of Y is applicable in every topic of conversation. Disneyland?

“Y and I went there last summer. We had sex on the People Mover.”

Oh, well how about the theories of plumbing? “Y’s father was a plumber. Did you know that the Romans had a system of plumbing? Anyway, that’s what Y said.” The possibility of removing the stain from the drink you just spilled on your shirt? “You know, Y had a shirt just like that.”

I suggest you throw that shirt into the nearest house fire and get out of there. But, if you are inclined to give the benefit of the doubt (or if you’re just blinded by cocktailed lust), you will stick it out a while longer. But, be warned. Keep your eyes open.


Second Sign: Chalking up the first sign to X’s deeming you worthy of interpersonal communication, you convince yourself that X is truly into you, and is someone that should be pursued further. After a few days, maybe even sooner, romantic liaisons proceed the natural route and you find yourself in an intimate situation with X. Afterwards, you are surprised when X, who moments before seemed pleased with your presence, begins sobbing into a pillow. Had you made some terrible error in judgment? Were you that bad of a kisser? You replay the preceding moments in your head (for $.25 a peek, of course), but feel confident that you performed without err. You ask what’s wrong.

“I feel weird,” is the reply.

“Is it because I called you Pumpkin Butt?” you wonder. “It was meant as a compliment.”

“Its….its just that….”

“Yes?”

“You’re not Y.” (insert shriek of flute here)

At this point, it is best for you to retain what little of your dignity remains and leave X for good. You deserve better than that. X isn’t the only fish in the sea. What about the teller at the bank who seemed complimentary after your $200 deposit? Oh, but I forgot, you have a guilty conscience. You’d feel like a Nazi if you left X now, sobbing, sad, alone. Fine, be a Nazi. The Nuremberg trials are long over, you’ll be safe. But, you don’t leave. That’s the type of person you are. sigh


Third Sign: Ten days into the relationship, X says something that throws aside all conventionality of relationship etiquette, that little phrase which has led to more candy heart inscriptions than Mother’s Day and Secretary’s Day combined, that phrase that some people wait their whole lives to hear, that phrase that other people spend their whole lives trying to avoid.

“I love you,” X says with the big grin of a soda pop spokesperson.

“I love you, I love you, I love you,” X sings despite a lack of melody or formal training. Although flattered, you remind X that you’ve only known each other for ten days, but they insist that their emotions are true and you, being the attention-deprived you that we all know you to be, refrain from debating it any further and accept it as truth. (insert waning harp strings here) This third sign is the most important one of all because it represents the pinnacle of your relationship with X: this is the top of your Mt. Kilimanjaro. From here on out, it’s a rapid decay. If I could slap some sense into you from beyond the written word, I would gladly risk the assault charges. X doesn’t really love you, X still loves Y and is trying to fill a void with a Y substitute. You’re the understudy in X’s play. The theater owner has to go on stage before the curtain rises to tell a disappointed audience that Y will not be performing, that the part of Y will instead be played by You.

Let X’s heartfelt declaration of love be your cue to get the hell off of that stage. Run! It’s only a matter of time before X realizes you are no Y and begins auditions for a new replacement. You never had a chance. (insert sad, Chaplin walking into the sunset-like orchestra here)

I hope this will serve as a tool for screening your future romances. If you see any of these signs beginning to emerge, make a hasty retreat and congratulate yourself on a job well done. But, if you see these signs emerge and still choose to ignore them, then you, my friend, are nothing but a damned fool.

Sincerely yours,

A Damned Fool

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