Ovid's Sappho leaps to her death from the Leucadian Cliffs when Phaeton chooses a younger woman. Other heroines abjure the company of men and enter the cloister, or die of the consumption. The gents fight duels or go off to die in wars...
But this is real life and these are modern times.
In this technologically driven age, the ultimate in dramatic gestures is (cue dramatic music now): Deletion!.
People hook up, break up, and make up via text and email. AIM, Gmail and myspace often supercede the tête-à-tête. I admit, I am not immune this particular phenomenon. I recently found myself in the role of the rejector and watching the drama unfold. I found it to be rather anticlimactic.
One interesting drawback (or advantage, depending on who you ask) to all of this technology is that it leaves a record. One can track the whole process, the whole emotional roller coaster and, sometimes even the advancing level of intoxication. Quite fascinating really (or maybe I was bored and needed a break from photo editing).
The 7 Stages of Rejection
1. Denial and Bargaining:
Well we already covered those (here, if you're curious), so we move right along to...
2. Realization of The Loss sinks in:
Said realization elicits a myriad of conflicting emotions. The confusion which ensues may prompt the first dramatic gesture...
3. The Redistribution of Assets:
This is usually an irrational demand to return borrowed items or reclaim items left behind right now, regardless of time of day or night. This stage is also characterized by a complete disregard for what the other party may be doing (i.e. going to bed).
The rejecting party is usually grumpy at this point and the dismissal is quick, prompting further confusion for the rejected party.
Soon after the brief face to face, comes the regretful sentiment, via text of course. "Hate that it had to be this way."
This stage follows a few hours later---usually around bar-close. Presumably prompted by liquid gumption and spurred by sympathetic friends, comes the snarky verbal attack. The degree of inebriation will determine the format, whether text or phone call.
6. The Last Word:
Also what I like to call "And another thing...". The final point, jab, comment, and just so there's no chance for rebuttal...the final stage:
Ah yes, the final gesture, the ultimate repudiation of the rejecting party, the closing of that final door---deletion from the "friends' list". With the click of a mouse you can erase a person from your life and make a statement.
Call me an old-fashioned romantic, but I think the options in dramatic gestures for the rejected suitor of today are rather limited and lack a certain...panache.