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It's Not Me, It's You
& Other Tales of Romance
By Christina Hamlett
E-Book (available as PDF files)
About the Author
When you tell your friends that you never even saw it coming, there’s no such thing as a “nice” break-up. It’s a punch to the heart, a crush to the ego and a paralyzing zap to your spirit which – in the weepy weeks that follow those four ominous words “We need to talk” – leave you wondering what, exactly, went wrong in a relationship that seemed so destined for Happily Ever After. To add insult to injury, the person who initiates the split will often frame this decision in the vein of a mysterious flaw on his/her part that no amount of love, time or energy could ever remedy. “It’s not You,” they confess, “it’s Me.” Seriously? How can they even say that with a straight face? Do they really want you to believe that they not only deem themselves so unworthy to remain in the same zip code with you but that you’re also much too kind to ever hurt their feelings by dumping them first? • What they want you to feel is that you should have tried harder to sustain the relationship by being a lot less pedestal-perfect. • What they want you to say is that you’ll do anything – including the forgiveness of shoddy behavior - to keep them around. • How they least expect you to react is to agree with them, for under the laws of romantic attraction nothing is more confusing than having the person you just rejected actually thank you and walk away. “It’s Not Me, It’s You & Other Tales of Romance” is a lighthearted look at how to build a bridge and get over it.
An excerpt from the chapter about my date with The Great Presto aka "The Painter of Glow.": From the enthusiastic reception he received from all of the waiters when we entered the room, I could draw one of two conclusions: either he was much more famous than I thought or else he worked there part-time and this just happened to be his night off. Whatever the case, his wool cape was dutifully caught by one of the staff before it hit the floor and we were escorted to what would be the first of four tables before finally settling on the one which he felt put me (or was it him?) in the best light. “Did I tell you how wonderful their minestrone soup is?” he reiterated after ordering a pot of chamomile tea to take off the winter chill. Although there were actually quite a few items on the menu that I might have been hungry for, my memory was tugged back to an earlier age and a book which - in its time - was the quintessential manual for teenage girls growing up in rich Republican households: “The Seventeen Book of Etiquette and Entertaining.” (1963 by Enid A. Haupt; David McKay Company, Publishers) In addition to broaching such delicate dining topics as “How can I find the ladies' room?” and “What should I do when he pays the check?”, the book boldly addressed the issue of “the young man's finances.” I quote: “If you order the most expensive thing on the menu, you may weaken your date's wallet; with the least expensive, you'll surely weaken his pride.” (This is the same definitive source, of course, which also extolled the virtues of coming-out parties, adding gloves to your ensemble for a “brisk, smart flourish,” and declining any invitations to smoke during a job interview because “it looks too casual.”) Since he had already volunteered so many endorsements about the minestrone, I naturally assumed that perhaps the aura-painting business occasionally strapped him for dinner funds and that minestrone was the best he could manage if he was paying for two of us. “The lady will have the minestrone,” he said when the waiter returned. “Will that be a cup or a bowl?” the waiter asked. “A cup will be just fine,” I lied. Instead of ordering the same for himself, however, my companion proceeded to ask what all of the specials were. The list was lengthy. “I can't decide between the Abbacchio Brodettatto or the Bistecca alla Fiorentina,” he lamented. “The Bistecca is especially nice,” the waiter recommended. Presto scowled. “That might be too heavy. How's your Cuscineti di Vitello?” “An excellent choice.” “What about a salad? Does that come with a salad, too?” The waiter replied that they had an amusing Insalata di Funghi Crudi. Presto scowled again. “Raw mushrooms,” he muttered in unabashed disdain. “I have some unresolved issues with them...” I couldn't imagine what kind of 'issues' a grown man might have with mushrooms. For that matter, I wasn't sure why a quintessential goddess such as myself had suddenly receded into the woodwork as my date yakked amicably with our server about whether he should throw in an appetizer of Anguilla Marinata, Caponata or just stick with the house Bagna Cauda. I caught myself thinking that the Beach Boys could have fun substituting some of the entrees for the lyrics that begin, “Off the Florida Keys, there's a place called....” None of this exchange, mind you, included an invitation for me to expand on my own order. I was almost tempted to pipe up that I would like a glass - nay, an entire bottle - of their most pricey wine to wash down my minestrone. Alas, but it's a curse to have grown up reading Enid Haupt's advice and being enormously well bred.
Former actress and theater director Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author whose credits to date include 30 books, 146 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films and squillions of articles and interviews. She is also a ghostwriter and professional script consultant (which means that she stops lots of really bad movies from coming to theaters near you). She and her gourmet chef husband reside in Southern California with Lucy, the world's cutest dog.
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