We have lavished a lot of attention on excellent athletes from around the world these past several days. We’ve celebrated runners, lifters, swimmers, ball players and water polo-ers. But let’s not forget the real heroes: Everyone we know stuck in horrible relationships, sticking them out for one dubious reason or another. For too long we’ve avoided these people because they bum everyone out and ruin parties, but I propose we take a moment to honor them instead. After all, lingering in an ill- advised and borderline abusive relationship takes a herculean effort towards a goal that doesn’t make any sense, just like Olympic curling.
Here are my proposed events for the Terrible Relationship Olympics:
The 100m False Apology
Traditionally in Olympic events, the “m” stands for “meter.” Here, though, we recognize achievement in the field of offering weak, halfhearted, and insincere apologies over the course of one hundred minutes. Points are awarded for quantity of apologies offered, level of sarcasm, degree of eye roll, and variety of excuses.
High-level false apology techniques and maneuvers include:
The Non-Apology Apology
(ex: “I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said.”)
The Increasingly Irritated Apology
(ex: “I said I’m sorry. What more do you want?”)
The Apology/ Accusation
(ex: “Sorry you weren’t ready in time and we missed the movie because there was traffic like I said there’d be.”)
We’ve all been on a date with someone we’re not compatible with. Usually, even if both people are interested/ open-minded/ desperate, things peter out after a week or two. That’s not what this event is about. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Anyone can have one ill-advised hookup and break it off. Medals in Staying-In-A-Relationship-That-Clearly-Isn’t-Working go to couples who stay together and miserable in defiance of all logic. He wants a family, but she’s a career woman? Well poke a hole in a condom and miss a birth control pill! We’ve got a contender! Her parents are overbearingly religious, and he’s an outspoken atheist? By God, they could go all the way! He is in love, but he won’t leave his wife and children? These guys are the heavy favorites in the men’s division!
In this event, opposites attract… gold medals!
Synchronized Holding in Feelings
Sponsored by Everything’s Fine brand angel hair pasta, the Synchronized Holding in Feelings event requires tremendous coordination with a partner. For a period of minutes, days, or years, both members of a team withhold opinions and emotions from each other in an effort to manage the other one’s behavior. The trick to this event is keeping one’s opinions contained even under duress. Picture a pot of hot water, simmering just below a boil.
Judges for this event give high marks for levels of passive aggression (“I mean, we saw the movie you wanted to last time, but I’m okay going to another Nicholas Sparks adaptation if it’s really important to you.”), brooding acquiescence (angrily doing dishes in silence), and covert displays of emotion (crying into a pillow while home alone).
The Standing-In-Public Long Argument
Arguing in public is one of the Terrible Relationship Olympics’ most dynamic events. Whether it takes place on the street (summer games) or inside at a crowded gathering (winter games) it always draws a throng of spectators. That’s kind of the point.
Champions in this event excel at bringing their arguments to a high volume and sustaining them over a prolonged period of time. Physical violence disqualifies a couple immediately, but menacing posture and hand gestures are worth bonus points. If one person cries but continues arguing, the pair receives a +.5 (out of ten). If both parties cry but continue arguing, it is worth an automatic gold medal.
Long Jump to Conclusions
Normally, leaps of logic only garner disappointed headshakes and declarations of, “We’ll talk about this later.” In the Terrible Relationship Olympics, though, ill-informed inferences are grounds for celebration. Medal eligible Jumps to Conclusions include:
“Well as long as your cubicles are next to each other, why don’t you just have sex?”
“You didn’t notice my haircut because you don’t care about me.”
“Your friends didn’t put my name on the party invitation so obviously they hate me.”
“Ugh. I know I came home drunk at four in the morning, but you hate when I have fun.”
“We had a pretty good first date. Now you’re my girlfriend!”
I think that’s a solid slate of events for the inaugural Terrible Relationship Olympics. If you are interested in competing, judging, or watching, qualifying rounds will be held outside of every bar in America every Friday night every week forever. Final rounds will take place on car rides and couches from the week before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
The Terrible Relationship Olympics: Where Two Great People Go Horribly Together.