Monday, March 23, 2009

Both Sides Now

Over the years, I've talked all my girlfriends through breakups. We started to classify them as either amicable splits, or "F*ck you Lucy" breakups. The former is where each person leaves the relationship with decency intact, and at least a slight amount of respect for their former partner. The latter is based on a song by the Minneapolis hip hop group Atmosphere of the same name. Over the years, midwestern guys with no previous interest in underground urban music have stumbled across this song and, in some way or another, informed their ex-girlfriends that they resemble the bloodsucking, life-ruining woman it details.

They can peel the pieces of me off the grill of her truck, Slug says midway through the song. The image of Lucy staring down her ex as she revs the engine of her F-150 is enough to make anyone hate her. Someone this sadistic can't be real, but I know Lucy. At least, I know girls who have been accused of being Lucy, girls who have been told thank you very much, f*ck you very much by guys they previously loved/liked/tolerated.

My college roommate’s heartbroken ex had the lyrics to the song on his instant messenger away message for weeks. When he wasn't venting via AIM, he was informing us through his facebook status that she had taken everything from him. F*ck you for defining my existence, it declared after he saw her at a party with a male friend. Mixed signals for a guy who was still calling her every night sobbing, no?

My best Lucy moment came in the form of a mix cd from my ex months into the longest breakup in modern history. We had always shared the same taste in music, so I didn't think twice when I received a CD via snail mail and popped it into my computer. God bless the week you went away, Ryan Adams sang miserably to me. All the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face. I yelled for Tali to come counsel me on the situation and began clicking through the remaining songs.

Lucy made an appearance on the 18 song mix, which was less than shocking. What was even better was Damien Rice's "Rootless Tree". A song that begins beautifully but ends with Damien Rice screaming F*ck you! F*ck you! F*ck you, and all we’ve been through! over and over again. It's like he wrote the first half when he was a little sad, and the chorus when he found out his girlfriend had been boinking his kid brother. If that's not helpful, picture the song "Somebody Kill Me" in the movie The Wedding Singer. The sentiment is the same, but it’s only half as funny when it's dedicated to you in real life.

I was supposed to feel guilty listening to this perfectly crafted blame mix, but I felt a flood of relief. What should have been a huge moment of anguish was really just one final reason why I couldn't date this kid. He loved the dramz and I was desperately trying to claw my way back to normalcy.

Lucy has lived on over the years, as we all shared moments of anger and bitterness from guys that we didn't think had it in them. "You forgot to be honest with me", "You didn't even give up on US you gave up on ME", and the always popular 2 a.m. “Game Over, Flip” text message. Lucy has not made any of these moments easier, but she has given us a point of reference. If she doesn’t make a direct appearance, or the bitchy accusation is less intense than Slug’s clever-but-cruel rhymes, we call it a draw.

Why am I bringing this up? I am currently taking part in my first ever truly amicable split. That might be a premature statement, but I am fairly certain that there will be no angry lyric slinging between us. One of the many fabulous qualities of our relationship was the quiet, communal contempt we shared for the hyper-coupling obsession that surrounded us. I'm not sure what you call that- realism, cynicism, self-preservation? God forbid, a subconscious adherence to man-hating, 3rd wave FemiNazi doctrine? I don't know what to call our dynamic, or even if it is worth defining now.

I do know that he isn't comparing me to some psychobitch in a dirty pickup, stiletto paused over the gas pedal as she aligns her wheels with his sneakers. I'm not Lucy, and that feels really fucking good.


Teresa said...

Does Lucy wear hotpants?

If so, she totally doesn't look as good in them as you do.

And I ruv you, in case you'd forgotten.

Gina Marie said...

I just realized that my Senior year "Slutty Penguin" halloween costume consisted of a blazer and black biking shorts... so, pretty much I DO have a hotpants lifestyle. SUCK IT, right wingers!