“Let’s stop romanticising the misguided, possibly dangerous actions of spurned men.
On Saturday, the Bristol Post reported the story of how a 34-year-old man was intending to play one of the city’s public pianos in order to “win” back his ex girlfriend. Calling the woman who he’d been dating for four months “Rapunzel”, the stunt was intended to show off how much he loved her.
As is fairly typical in these kinds of stories, the Post branded the stunt as romantic, calling Luke Howard “heartbroken”, tagging his efforts as “dedication” in their tweet. However, in refusing to accept his ex girlfriend’s “no”, and by making a huge public statement demanding that she recognises his “love” for her, Howard’s behaviour is not romantic. It’s entitled – and it’s symptomatic of a wider problem of men’s harassment of their exes.
This is not the first time that women have been told to accept men not taking no for an answer as a romantic gesture. From John Cusack’s ghetto blaster in Say Anything… to the best man’s creepy filming of his friend’s bride in Love Actually, the ideal of a heartbroken man harassing the object of his affection has been sold to us as true love over and over again.
But there’s nothing romantic about refusing to accept that a woman has a right to leave you. It’s not a love story when a woman tells a man “no” and he demands she change it to a “yes”.”
[various posts, originating on a site called The Pool, I think]
I find the reactions in some quarters to this poor, suffering sod most upsetting, What mean-minded miserable buggers there are in this world. HAve they never been dumped? Or even loved?
On what basis are people extrapolating shit about ‘entitlement’, and his not accepting her ‘right’ to leave him? It’s a dumbass gesture born of wretchedness, and I’ll agree the guy seems a bit of a wet twerp, but at most it’s a case of pleading, not ‘demanding’. I see no evidence in article or interview of him not ‘accepting her right’, but he seems to be trying to exercise his own right of appeal (not very appealingly, it must be said). And unless the poor lass lives near the piano or he’s lugging around wherever she goes, he’s hardly ‘harrassing’ her.
Personally, I would support a policy of summary execution for anyone who dumps their partner without good demonstrable cause (though not after such a short relationship as his with ‘Rapunzel’, and with the proviso that the dumpee has to agree to it — and that after a cooling-off period). If I stabbed someone I could cause them extreme pain and some possible impairment, and I would quite rightly be castigated and punished for it, but the wounds would heal in short order, and life continue much as it was. Dumping someone who loves you can cause at least as much anguish, physical pain, and even seriously increase their risk of heart failure, leaving internal scars that time does little more than stick plasters over, and which make successive relationships harder to hold down; but the law doesn’t even get involved unless the sufferer acts unreasonably and illegally. Even then the victim gets all the blame and deprecation, rather than any support or help.
Theologists used to say (maybe still do) that the greatest sin is to break a vow. If free will is the main gift of the deity, we take a great step by surrendering it to a promise. So the greatest insult to said deity is to throw the gift back in Her face by breaking our word. And the same people who demand (and they are demanding) that guys simply accept the pain of being dumped are usually those who bemoan the lack of commitment shown by so many blokes these days. I have heard someone say that their vow to stay for better for worse, ‘didn’t include if it made me miserable’. For fuck’s sake, it’s no vow if you’re only saying ‘I promise to stay as long as it makes me happy’! And anyway, statistics show that a great many dumpers come to regret it later, by which times. I’d be the last to say ‘suck it up’ about any misery it does cause, but to cause even more misery to get out of it is morally no better than stealing to solve your cash flow problems.
But like I say, the guy seems to be making a prize pranny of himself. Stephen Pinker suggested that the irrational actions of the rejected have evolved to make the rejectee scared and more likely to stay around out of physical fear. I rather think they’re there to ensure the separation. Grand romantic gestures, and all the other things that a man or woman will do when scrabbling with bleeding fingertips to cling onto a crumbling cliff, do little more than make us look complete twats that no one could possibly love. That will kill any tendency to guilt feelings in the dumper, so they can go off and mate with some fresh supplier of eggs or sperm. Life, eh?