Guys do this thing, once or twice in their life, where they decide the person who just broke up with them is The One. The one to beat all other ones. I don’t know, women probably do it too. I blame John Cusack. The countless hours we’ve spent watching the Cuz go crazy for the girl who dumped him, travel across the world for the girl who dumped him, hold a boombox over his head for the girl who dumped him. I think somewhere between Say Anything and Serendipity, it started to feel like a pretty good idea. That maybe if we make a gesture that’s just the right level of insane, she’ll see the error of her ways. Of course, what we don’t realize is that there really is no right level of insane. 0% insane, that’s what we should be shooting for. But instead we go big or go home — because living your life via t-shirt axiom is always a smart way to play things. Here is a list of some of the things we guys do. All of them are a mistake.
Leave Flowers on Her Car: Once in high school I decided to win over a crush by leaving a rose on her car in the middle of the night, coupled by an irresistible mixtape of love songs by Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Billy Joel. Because nothing turns on a teenage girl like music made by one gay, one fat, and one drunk old man. But music selection was not my greatest problem. I also decided that a red rose would be too conventional, so in an effort to make a splash at the florist, I bought a yellow one instead. Yellow roses, in case you didn’t know, are for friendship. Not sexy sexy, just friendy friendy. So, booyah on that one. Additionally, I was so nervous on the midnight mission to deliver the flower, that instead of putting it on her car, I accidentally left it on her Mom’s station wagon. So — just to recap — that’s wrong flower, wrong music, wrong car. How she was able to resist my charms, I’ll never know.
Start a Tumblr: There is no reaction one can have after reading bitter prose about a breakup other than, “Yikes.” It’s just weird. And I know you say you’re writing it for yourself, that it just feels good to get your emotions on paper, that you need a creative outlet — but it would still be creative if you left it in the drafts folder. She’s not going to stumble across your musings and realize the depth of your affection, she’s just gonna say, well, “Yikes.” Here’s a good test for your Tumblr: if it doesn’t sound at all weird to put the words “Dear Diary” before your entry, then you should probably keep it to yourself. If nothing else, think of your poor friends who have to click “like” and then hope you don’t ask for feedback in person.
Call Their Phone and Hang Up: Phone angst was so much easier before caller ID. In the good old days, you used to be able to get dumped, wish it hadn’t happened, then call the girl one, or two, or 22 times just to hear the sound of her voice. Then, when she answered, you could hang up in dignified anonymity, like a respectable human being! Now caller ID has ruined the whole thing. I don’t know why this feels like an important gesture, harassing the person you’re trying to win back, but apparently it does. As if one day she’s going to answer the phone and say “I know it’s you, because it’s not like my dry cleaner just decided to randomly start prank call me, but your dedication to annoying me and acting like a child has totally won me over. I love you, let’s do sex, asap.”
Grow Facial Hair: “I’m gonna wear my anguish on my face. She will see it and realize I am in pain, while also simultaneously realizing that I look amazing with a goatee. This is the greatest plan I’ve ever had.” This, sadly, is another one I’ve actually done. I don’t remember the relationship, but I do remember trying to grow a beard in defiance. Unfortunately, my facial hair capabilities trend distinctly Amish: thick, burly, orange hair under my chin, but only random patches on my face. A friend saw it and asked, “Hey, did you just break up with that girl?” “No!” I said defensively. “Why?” “Oh, because people always grow beards after break-ups. Also, when did you become Amish?” I was home shaving in under five minutes.
Pull a “Say Anything”: Proof that this is all Cusack’s fault, we have the greatest take-me-back gesture of them all: playing “In Your Eyes” from a boombox hoisted above your head. First of all, this one has logistical limitations. I mean, where do you find a boombox nowadays? Sure you could modernize, but holding a laptop above your head doesn’t hold quite the same romantic impact. And second, who wants to be won over by something they saw in a movie? I mean, it kinda reduces the sincerity of your display, right? “Oh, you copied that thing that everyone knows about, that is so nice.” I mean, why not just pull out a sweet quote from Casablanca, or, I don’t know, Must Love Dogs? I will say though, that if you’re gonna play music, Peter Gabriel is the way to go. Beats the heck out of Rod Stewart, believe me…
I’m sure I’m leaving some out. What’s the weirdest way someone’s tried to win you back?