It’s true, I love Valentines Day, but there are more than enough forms of media that promote love and happiness and all the things you “should” feel, and do, and spend money on today. So I figured someone ought to cater to the rest of the world. You know, the group of people who spend today trying to figure out what they had liked about that other person in the first place, then start getting anxious, to the point where adrenaline fight-or-flight thoughts kick in, and the simplest escape is not necessarily the most obvious. Heaven forbid someone actually try to use a Montreal fire escape. Fortunately, the house or apartment probably doesn’t even have one, so that’s generally not a problem until there’s a fire. So I suppose it would be much worse if that anxious person decided setting fire to the house was a good way out. No house, no relationship. Quick getaway…Bad idea. That’s where advice becomes essential:
Step 1: Calm Down.
Step 2: Think about this rationally. Paul Simon gives you a few options, but apparently those only work if your name rhymes with a plausible escape route, like “the bus, Gus”. So his 50 ways to leave your lover really only give you three real options. The bus, out the back, and by dropping off the key, and really you may drop off the key and still find yourself in the relationship, so this may need to be combined with the bus option to be completed successfully.
Step 3: Since Paul is potentially a disappointment, consider alternate forms of transportation. Metro, car, plane, train, bike, or a long, long walk. Consider ride share, or taxis, or hitch-hiking. That’s 9 other options. I’m already doing way better than Paul.
Step 4: If none of these options are acceptable, then there are the more traditional, and mature ways of leaving (the relationship, not the city). If it needs to be done on Valentines Day and you can’t fake love through the day, then so be it. Use 1 of 4 excuses/rationales:
- We’ve drifted apart (for long-term relationships)
- I need to take some time for myself
- Thanks, that was fun (probably not so appropriate for long-term relationships)
- I hate children (Abrupt. To the point. Hope it’s true. Probably the best choice)
Do not say the following:
- Maybe we can get back together (…in an undetermined amount of time)
- It’s not you, it’s me (Nobody likes that line, and even if it’s true, just no)
- It’s not me, it’s you…(I dare you. Could be funny)
So we’re up to 13 ways.
Then there are other types of leaving. You can leave the lover:
in a state of…
16 ways! But the state of undress could definitely overlap with “Thanks, that was fun”, and the emotional states could all correspond to the right or wrong kinds of conversations, so maybe these don’t count.
I didn’t make it to 47, but my point is, you have other options. To better understand these options, consider a recipe:
There are myriad ways to make risotto. Sure, there’s the ‘traditional’ ways (“We’ve drifted apart”), which may or may not work out fine, depending on your skill with a spatula (motivational speaking), but there are a million other ways (at LEAST 47) to make the dish which will turn out just fine. Some will be quick and relatively painless and some will take hours and hours, but require little preparation, patience or finesse. As the cook (lover-leaver) you get to choose, carefully.
So here’s a rough risotto plan:
Butter or oil or margarine
Onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, or mushrooms
Arborio, medium-grain, jasmine, basmati, brown rice or barley
White wine, red wine, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
Thyme, sage, savoury, parsley, oregano, herbes de provence, bay leaves, basil, saffron, or tarragon
Optional: Carrots, broccoli, beets, tomatoes, spinach, peas, chicken, beans, marrow, shrimp or scallops
Cooking methods: skillet, large saucepan, slow-cooker
To Garnish: parmesan, romano, firm cheese, nutritional yeast, pesto*, green onions, basil
It’s like a choose-your-own adventure risotto (break-up). You can, for example, choose to sauté some garlic and mushrooms in butter in a skillet, add 2 cups of jasmine rice, deglaze with half a cup of red wine, then transfer everything to the slow-cooker along with 5 1/2 cups of broth (less if you like it less creamy), 2 bay leaves and a teaspoon of tarragon. Cook on low for 8 hours. Don’t stir a thing.
Or you can sauté leeks in olive oil in a large saucepan, add 2 cups of pearl barley, deglaze with 1/2 cup of warm chicken broth and then stir for the next 40 minutes of your life, adding 1/2 c. more warm broth as the last broth addition is absorbed. You should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you make a line with your wooden spoon, then you know it’s ready for more of your 8 cups of broth. You may not need 8 cups, but when it’s just about ready, stir in a cup of spinach (the barley should be tender and the spinach should be bright green, not crushed or wilted, like your lover’s heart).
Choose carefully. Either you’ll be standing over a stove for a long period of time, unable to get away (like an awkward conversation), or your rice won’t be as fluffy as it could be, since jasmine can’t absorb the liquid the same way arborio can (some people are more sensitive to these things). It also takes a lot of attention to know when the rice needs more broth and when to keep stirring quietly (keep your mouth shut). This is not about you, this is about the rice.
My final advice:
Be respectful. It’s impossible to be selfless, as you are presumably going to enjoy the rice (freedom), but there are all sorts of methods. So I beg you, whether or not your one-syllable name rhymes with a method of transportation, to consider more than Paul Simon’s wisdom this Valentines Day. Also, try making risotto. Who knew it was so emotionally educational?
*Pumpkin Seed Pesto:
Blend or process 1/2 c. toasted pumpkin seeds [toast in the oven at 350 Fahrenheit until the pop] with 1 c. fresh basil, 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 cloves of garlic. Add 1/4 c. olive oil and blend again. If not using right away, freeze in ice cube trays and transfer to freezer bag to store. Vary nuts, seeds and herbs as desired)