Text message the latest way to leave your lover


Paul Simon sang in 1975 that there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. He was right and then some. But there is one way that Neil could not possibly have imagined when he wrote those lyrics nearly 40 years ago.

You see the latest way to leave your lover for those technologically-savvy, but gutless in my opinion, people is by text message. I guess it’s just the modern-day equivalent of the Dear John letter, but with a more rapid-fire delivery time and a less grammatically correct command of the English language.

Apparently, more than 20 per cent of UK under-25s have been dumped by text and I’m sure those figures equate in the Aussie environment as well. How do I know this? Well, because it’s happened to me.

But what does one do in such a situation? Searches on the internet haven’t helped much with pointers on how to respond to an undignified dumping by digital device. Do you not reply, pretending that you never got it, so that you can tell all your friends that it was really you who broke it off? Or do you do the grown-up thing and call the person hoping to discuss (like, in real life) why over a 24-hour period everything suddenly went pear-shaped?

Now to me that sounds like the most mature thing to do – but the horrors of modern technology means the dumper can just choose not to answer their phone (unless you sneakily block your number first). There can be no more frustrating thing for a journalist than to be left without an explanation. And having to deal with the “silent treatment” makes me want to seriously rethink my attitude towards the tall, fair, hairy blokes I usually go out with.

I also think I need to do something about my cooking ability, because obviously the thought of me cooking roast pork – which was only being cooked after it was won in a meat raffle at the pub mind you – was too much for this bloke to bear.

Cooking a roast obviously means more than I realised. Perhaps he thought I was going to propose over the apple sauce? Maybe he was Jewish and just hadn’t told me? Or perhaps it was the realisation that with my birthday coming up, he might be expected to buy me a pressie.

But I must admit one good thing about having had no explanation is that I can just make it up (see above for example), which is really kind of fun and rather cathartic I might add. But deep down inside I think it was just that he felt such an affinity with Paul’s song that he thought he’d live it out and: “Hop on the bus, Gus; You don’t need to discuss much.”

This blog first appeared as a column in The Toowoomba Chronicle in 2003

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