“I don’t love you anymore,” my boyfriend of two years said, as I put my spoon into the face of my Friendly’s Cone Head Sundae™.
This did not compute. Even Satan himself could not break up with his girlfriend while enjoying a Friendly’s Cone Head Sundae™, an innovating concoction where a scoop of ice cream was covered in a hot fudge-dipped sugar cone, given whipped topping hair, and an adorable Reese’s® Pieces® candy face©™®.
“I don’t understand. What did I do?”
“You didn’t do anything. I just don’t…love you.”
“Then what did I do to make you fall out of love with me?”
I’m unsure how I was able to speak, considering the amount of over-analysis my brain was doing at that very moment.
Did I leave any sanitary napkins or tampons in public view? Not possible, I double wrap them.
Did I fart in his general direction? Nope, I avoid raw onions on dates.
Have I gained an ungodly amount of weight or forgotten to shave? Nope, still the same curvy lady that’s smooth as a baby’s bottom.
“No…” he replied, staring deeply into his milkshake.
This is not happening. I am not going to go home tonight with the knowledge that a man drinking pink goop out of a glass marked “Fribble®” dumped me.
I tried to compose myself as much as I could, but the tears were already running down my face.
“Donny, I would like you to bear in mind that I’m a little shocked, considering just this week, YOU helped me get a passport so we could spend the summer together in Italy.”
“Well, I just got to thinking. It’s just like….what’s the point? It’s not like it’s going to work out in the end anyhow. We get together and you seem like you’re having fun, but I know you just want to be drawing and watching shows where the stupid space puppets talk through the whole movie.”
“Mystery Science Theater?!” I screeched, startling a woman at an adjacent table. She gave me the stink eye.
“Yeah, that’s the one,” he said. “I just don’t get it.”
“That is hardly a reason for a breakup!” I lowered my voice as much as a person with a Hungarian temperament can in this situation, which is not very much at all. “We don’t need to be together all the time – I have my own life, you know. You can go play hockey with your friends while my friends and I watch MST3K.”
He shuddered. “Even the abbreviation grates on my nerves.”
“FINE! I will watch ‘the show with the talking space puppets’ in secret, in the dead of night, with earphones, if you DO NOT BREAK UP WITH ME!”
“I’m sorry to interrupt. Miss, you have chocolate sauce on your elbow,” said the waitress, as she handed me a wad of napkins.
I tend to flail my arms a lot, even in normal conversation, and this gets rapidly accentuated when I’m excited and/or upset. I had already knocked over a salt shaker and a small glass of water, so it’s not surprising that my elbow and half the seat were covered in hot fudge.
“Um…is there anything else I can get for you?” the waitress asked. She shot me the secret “OMG, are you okay?” look. I shot her back the “OMG, do you have any cookie-dough-flavored poison back in the kitchen because this guy is seriously not leaving the restaurant with all of his organs in their original condition” look. (It’s a highly-technical facial expression that has been passed down by my family for generations.)
“Just the check please,” Donny replied, completely oblivious to the growing hostility in the room against him. He took a big sip of his horrible pink milkshake and continued, “The thing is, if we stay together, I know that we’ll get married, and that would be really bad.”
“I thought ‘marriage’ was the whole purpose behind ‘dating’.”
“I am not leaving my high paying job for you.”
“I never asked you to be unemployed! Remember, since I go to ART school, ‘employment’ is on the Top 10 Things I Look for in a Man…”
“Seriously, though. If we get married, you’re going to stay in Pennsylvania. We’ll settle down. You’ll probably get pregnant and-”
“But neither of us wants kids! Donny-”
“-I’ll still have to go away on business all the time-”
“-condoms, the pill, IUDs,-”
“-so you’ll be stuck home with the kid-”
“-vasectomy, tubal ligation, tight underwear-”
“-and then you’ll start to resent me-”
“-female condom, the rhythm method, yellow 7 or 9 or something, I don’t remember.”
“Stop making lists of things, it pisses me off.”
“Stop breaking up with me, it pisses ME off!”
“Listen, Stephanie,” he said, taking my hand into his. I thought I was going to pass out. “If you settle for me and don’t move to Los Angeles, you will hate yourself. You will hate me.”
“I hate Los Angeles.”
“You’ve never been to Los Angeles.”
“I don’t care. I hate it. And I’m doing fine out here! I’m only 20 years old, and I run an animation business – here! In Pennsylvania! I don’t really have many clients, but…I have a registered LLC!”
“I know. And as much as I want to, I just don’t care. I’ve tried to understand the art thing and I just don’t get it. And that’s why I don’t love you anymore.”
He stood up, threw $40 down, and walked out of the restaurant.
“But….I still love you,” I said to Mr. Cone Head™, who had melted all over the table, which was now a disastrous pool of my drink spills, food splatters, and tears.
I tipped the waitress generously.
Suffice it to say, this did not help my abandonment issues. I avoided all Friendly’s Restaurants and dates that involved food shaped into faces. It was not until the summer of 2012, almost exactly TEN years later, that I entered the doors of a Friendly’s. I had received a completely irresistible coupon and my thriftiness outweighed my irrational superstitions.
I impulsively ordered Mr. Cone Head™. He was just as I remembered him. It dawned on me that it might just be Mr. Cone Head™ – not Donnie – that I should have loved all along. Mr. Cone Head™ is consistent. He’s funny. He’s sweet. And he’ll never dump me in a Friendly’s because the poor guy has no mouth.