Draw-out \‘dro\ \’aut\ n. pl draw-outs : An event that prompts you, dear lady, to prolong a relationship you know you ought to end.
If there’s one sure thing besides death and taxes it’s that you, whoever you are, have, at some point in your romantic career, drawn out a relationship longer than was healthy. You’re not to be blamed. It’s a simple law of nature: Relationships never end when they’re supposed to. We all need food and water to survive, we all need a month or two or 20 between that first “Uh oh,” and the final trigger pulling, when we put the stiletto to the metal and fly the coup to Single Land.
But the Draw-Outs … oh, the Draw-Outs. They’re the delightful little excuses that keep us keeping the relationship on. A Draw-Out can be something like, “Oh, it’s Christmas.” Or, “Oh, I’m in a wedding this month.” Or, “Oh, I just endured a phone call with my mother in which she said the word ‘cystic’ and then ‘ovaries.’”
The question, then, is “For how long?” For how long will your Draw-Out keep you in the game? The answer is dependent upon you, of course, and your personal ability to cling. I, for one, am highly clingy. Nay! Expertly clingy. And a gal like me? Well, let’s just say that I can Draw Out these suckers like it’s my job. No one drums up Draw-Outs more absurd, more niche, more pathetically impressive than yours truly. So do I gift unto to you my top five Draw Out greatest hits that you may feel free to avoid.
1. The Elbow-Length Gloves (1996). It’s my senior of high school, and finally – after three years spent boyfriend-less – I have a boyfriend, Adam. And, more to the point: I have a date to senior formal. I plan my outfit with the sort of attention to detail other women apply to their weddings. And its piece-de-resistance, if you will, is a pair of elbow-length, red lace gloves. Are they hooker-like? Indeed. But that’s beside the point. The point is that I’ve never felt as grown-up as I do in these gloves. I love them. It is for these gloves that I live and breathe.
But let’s get back to Adam. Adam is both a) Not up to par when it comes to oral sex, and b) Obsessed with the size of Michael Jordan’s calf muscles; he speaks of little else. So there’s this one Friday night, a month or so before the dance when he is performing oral sex on me — not inexpertly, that I could forgive; but unenthusiastically, which I cannot forgive. Once I insist that he cease and desist his unenthusiastic performance, he launches into a lengthy monologue about the Bulls, more specifically, about Michael Jordan’s calfs. And as it’s all happening, all I can think is, I just can’t go on. And then: I must go on. And then: I will go on. I’m wearing those gloves with a man on my arm if it kills me.
2. A Broken Toilet (2001). I’m living in this Brooklyn apartment with a toilet that clogs if you do so much as sneeze around it. My (quasi) boyfriend, Gabe, does have a history of cheating on previous girlfriends, yes, but he’s amazing at fixing the toilet. More to the point, he already knows about the toilet, and I really don’t want to explain the mess of it to someone else. So I keep him around as my (quasi) plumber.
3. A Brother’s Wedding (2006). My younger brother, an individual better looking, more successful, and generally just more pleasant than myself, gets engaged. Does one attend this wedding alone? No. One does not. One holds onto her boyfriend, Dan, like Dan’s the edge of the cliff she’s about to slip off of. She does this despite the fact that Dan is, admittedly, chinless, and possessing the Western hemisphere’s most mind-freezing case of halitosis.
4. A Couples’ Foot Massage (2007). While living in New York, I fall for An older man who lives in Portland, Oregon. We “date” for a year, by which I mean I fly out to Portland every three months to learn how inept I am at outdoor activities.
Now let me say: I do believe that opposites attract. I do believe there is that couple out there: A New Yorker whose notion of the outdoors involves a Panera sandwich and a city park, and who lives happily ever after with a man who likes running, skiing, tennis, etc. It’s just, I didn’t think the Older Man and I were that couple. Whenever he dragged me along with him, running let’s say, he’d get exasperated with my ineptitude, and leave me behind. That was the clue I ought to go. But I couldn’t go yet, you see, for as a birthday/six month anniversary present, The Older Man booked us a couple’s foot massage. Now: Let me now tell you what appeals to me more than having my feet massaged: NOTHING. I was locked in. It would’ve been easier to leave if I’d been wearing a straight jacket.
5. Female Pattern Baldness (2009). I go home to visit my parents one weekend, and in the days and weeks that follow my return to New York, I receive articles in the mail from my mom, ones she’s cut out from various medical journals on the subject of female pattern baldness. And why? Because my mother, on my most recent visit home, claims to have a noticed a thinning effect near the crown on my head. “Anyway, I’m sending you these not to be insensitive,” she writes, “but because I want you to understand THAT HELP IS OUT THERE.”
You’re 29, your hair is thinning. So on the subject of your current boyfriend: Is he amused by the magnificently vivacious way you dance at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs? He is not. But do you stick it out with him for nine more months because apparently you are balding and surely NO ONE ELSE WILL HAVE YOU, AND FOR THIS YOU BLAME YOUR OVERBEARING JEWISH MOTHER?
Why, yes. Why yes you do.