My friend Cindy was good and tired of Roger, who was at least 20 years her senior and an arrogant ass who couldn't understand the jokes she told or how to date a modern woman.
Roger was the typical old-fashioned male chauvinist misogynistic cretin. One day at dinner, Cindy ordered fried chicken only to have Roger snap out to the waitress "No, she doesn't want that. Get her grilled chicken instead."
He then turned to Cindy patronizingly and said in front of all of us "It's just not good for you, sweetheart."
"Nonsense," said Cindy stoutly, and she proceeded to order the fried chicken.
But Cindy wasn't always resolute. She and Roger had a stormy relationship. Back and forth like a nauseating trip at sea, they fought like feral cats. There were times she gave in, there were times she didn't.
Roger had been a financial adviser in his less golden years. And, true to any used car salesman of the 1970s, he had the same transparent sales pitch. "Do you want to make some money? Do you?" he would start out.
I could always picture the person at the other end of the phone call thinking "Wow, what did *I* do to deserve this? I had a choice at the beginning: Pick up the phone or let it ring through to voice mail..."
Of course I never saw Roger make a sale, despite how loudly he praised himself.
When Cindy was finally over Roger, she decided to make it easier on herself. Instead of breaking up with him, she was determined to make him so sick of her that he would break up with her and thus save her the trouble, the recriminations, and the late night phone calls.
"Hey Roger," she said one day as he was droning on the phone with her. She had him on speaker phone and we were laughing silently, hoping that he couldn't hear us. "Roger!"
Roger kept droning on, because he believed that everyone was as equally captivated with Roger as he was. It was beyond belief that anyone might find him dull or annoying.
"Roger!!!" Cindy said loudly. "Listen to THIS!" And she let out an immense, long burp.
Roger kept talking.
She tried it again.
Roger kept talking.
Another time she met Roger at his condominium, just as he was walking out the door, talking on the phone loudly.
"No, no, no," he was chiding his helpless victim. "You can't make a sale that way! Listen to me, OK? You'll never lose a sale if you just say 'Do you wanna make some money? Do you?'"
Cindy actually collapsed laughing in the hallway, leaving Roger very bewildered. You would think at this point that he might realize how ludicrous he appeared to us all, but he never seemed to get it. He looked like Robert Culp, which was somehow even funnier.
One day he called Cindy and ordered her to have dinner with him at his condo. "I've got the wine chilling, and the steaks are on the grill," he announced.
For some reason, that became the hill that Cindy was willing to die on.
"I'm sorry, Roger," she said, "but I already have other plans."
How dare she? Roger could barely believe it. He was God's gift to women, and Cindy was not worshiping at the altar. So, he broke it off, fully expecting her to call the next day, begging and crying.
The next day came and went, and then the next. And the next. Finally he called her to ask her out to lunch, as if nothing ever happened.
"We're broken UP, Roger," Cindy explained. "That means I move on, and you move on. Remember, you broke up with me."
The only problem with Cindy's plan is that if a guy has chosen to break up with you and realizes the error of his ways, you have to work pretty hard to keep convincing him that he was right. So as time went on, Cindy reiterated to him again and again that he was absolutely right in breaking up with her: She was thoughtless and rude and way too immature for him.
One day I came across her talking to him on the phone. "No really, Roger," she was saying. "I wish you all the best in the world. If she's an alcoholic and you think that you can help her... What? You've only dated her twice and you've already told her to move in with you? Well, what stopped her? Oh, I see..."
When Cindy got off the phone, she was laughing. Roger had finally gotten more than he could handle.
Although he'd declared his undying love and dedication to fixing an alcoholic he'd just met, Roger was absolutely shocked to encounter her boyfriend when he went over to her house with the belief that he should force her to move out. The boyfriend made it clear in no uncertain terms that Roger was to leave, instead.
And so Roger left.
He had finally gotten the hint, and it came with a knuckle sandwich.