Theory & Essay

link of the week: “who’s gonna save my soul?”

it’s not you, it’s me

the perfunctory “nice” way to break up with someone, these five words have become the king of all relationship euphemisms, a quick and easy way of masking anything from “i tried, i really, really did, but i just couldn’t get past that bite-sized pretzel stick you’re packing down there” to “i’ve seen your family pictures, and theres no way in hell i’m gonna potentially mix my sperm with your wretched gene pool“.

yes, i’m aware that there are times that “its not you, its me” really means exactly what it says. shit, i’ve actually said that to someone, and i actually was telling the truth, lol. regardless of the reasoning behind it, though, the person who’s being broken up with usually feels as if it is them, and nothing thats said or done can convince them otherwise.

thing is, although we claim to despise this cliche, are we really ready for the alternative? are we really prepared to hear the truth, or would you rather assume what that “truth” might be? would you really rather hear “i never really was attracted to you, but i started dating you because i thought your brother would be a good reference for me to use on my grad school application. now that i’m in school, i really dont need you around anymore. plus, your brother is way hotter” instead of “i need to figure some things out“? hmmm.

these are just a few of the many questions behind the break-up dynamic, a phenomenon addressed by gnarls barkley in their video for “who’s gonna save my soul”

quite possibly the best song of 2008, gnarls barkley examines the break-up act in their usual unusual gnarls barkley fashion, its premise a darkly humorous look at what sometimes happens to the break-upee.

watch.

discuss.

—the champ

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • Kitsune

    That was deep!

    “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

    Guilty as charged…

  • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

    It may seem safer to skim the surface when giving a person the reason why you’re breaking up with them. Tell me the truth–more than likely I knew it was coming to an end before you ended it. Don’t give me no cliche.

    Now some folks can’t handle the truth. When I’ve ended it, I’ve come out and said why. I do recall a time where I did use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and that’s only because he was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings too much. He made a better friend than my man.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I do recall a time where I did use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and that’s only because he was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings too much. He made a better friend than my man.”

      what were your reasons?

      • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

        The Champ there was no romance. I guess I needed a little spice. He didn’t make decisions. Grant it, I do like to have my way, but I also like for the man to take initiative. I don’t like “yes” men. I like a man with a backbone and he didn’t have one.

  • ForReal

    Wow Champ. I’m with Kitsune on that line “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”
    Isn’t that what we all mourn after a relationship…the potential. But it’s crazy cause if it could’ve been great, if it was supposed to be great, then it would’ve been. Period.
    Read a quote once, don’t know who said it, but it roughly went ‘if it was meant to be nothing you could do could mess it up. And if it wasn’t nothing you could do could fix it.’

    • As Is

      “Read a quote once, don’t know who said it, but it roughly went ‘if it was meant to be nothing you could do could mess it up. And if it wasn’t nothing you could do could fix it.’ ”

      I’m feeling that quote! Most def!

      • http://www.blackfemmefatale.wordpress.com Jolie Fatale

        Love the quote… gunna use that one .

        I definitely find myself looking back like woulda shoulda coulda… but i might as well move on!

        we all try to make things look better than it is .. like turning shit into sugar… shaitwill never be SUGAR … but SUGAR can go to SHit

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “we all try to make things look better than it is .. like turning shit into sugar… shaitwill never be SUGAR … but SUGAR can go to SHit”

          this made me chuckle for some reason

    • Kitsune

      “Wow Champ. I’m with Kitsune on that line “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

      ForReal…it’s kinda like…when you break up with someone and you remember all the good times you had. You create this false memory…and then if you hook back up it doesn’t take long before you say “oh yeah…THAT’S why I broke up with his/her ass!” LOL! Chalk it up to selective memory, I ‘spose…

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Chalk it up to selective memory, I ’spose…”

        or good pu**y

        • Kitsune

          “or good pu**y”

          Mmmhmmm…that too. :)

  • Wise Diva

    amazing how we can romanticize the hell out of a jacked up relationship isn’t it!?

    ok and the video ummm, it’s like Quentin Terrintino got kicked to the curb and made the storyboard for this song. I shall never look at broccoli again in the same away *oy*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “amazing how we can romanticize the hell out of a jacked up relationship isn’t it!?”

      or, the flip side, look negatively at a good relationship just because it ended badly

  • http://www.myspace.com/womannaofgod utc115

    wow. that was…………………………….

    “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

    I have not had the ITS ME AND NOT YOU line used on me or neither have I used it on anybody. Its been all truth over here. But truth is the best answer. So we can get to the meat of the problem and maybe it can help them in the next relationship. You never know.

    But what really got me is that she said she was going to take his heart and use it WHEN NEEDED then give it back. WOW. and women do we do this? men do you do this? I hear a AMEN in the corner

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “But what really got me is that she said she was going to take his heart and use it WHEN NEEDED then give it back. WOW. and women do we do this? men do you do this?”

      ……….

  • http://naturallyalise.blogspot.com Alise

    I have learned one thing in my years of dating and relationships and that is how to get over a relationship, and simply the answer is to just get over it…that’s all…. and I can deal with or without an explanation, just rip the damn band-aid off and not do the slow lingering ass breakup, I’ll take a cliche over that any day…

    • Elle_6

      “and I can deal with or without an explanation, just rip the damn band-aid off and not do the slow lingering ass breakup, I’ll take a cliche over that any day…”

      I mainly agree with this sentiment except, I am a truthseeker, I really would like to know if I had been dating someone who was dating me for the graduate application hook up, cause that just means that I am not as good a judge of character as I previously though… and um, that is a problem!

      But that lingering is for the effing birds, son. I don’t wanna feel like we’re breaking up EVERY single time we speak.

      • Conscience

        Who speaks after a breakup. When I am out I am OUT.

        Aside from a head nod and a wassup if I happen to run into her in public.

        • Elle_6

          No, not AFTER the break-up… I mean during the break up. I like abrupt endings to shit, no need to let it linger and discuss it til we’re both blue in the face.

          I HATE that.

        • http://goodeness.blogspot.com GOODENess

          (raising hand)

          I won’t call you…but if you call me I entertain you for like a day or two just so you can get your closure…but after that…you are in the DNA section of the phone and get no love…what can I say..I’m a considerate dumper and shit!

          • http://nextbigthing.blogsome.com Hostess

            “Date me! I’m a considerate dumper.”

            Ha!!! I’m so telling someone that. I don’t know who, but dammit, I’m going to find a way to work it into a conversation. In fact, I think I shall list it as one of my strengths!

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              “Date me! I’m a considerate dumper.”

              definitely a t-shirt

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “Who speaks after a breakup. When I am out I am OUT. ”

          i’ve still never been broken up with (knocking on wood) but if it did happen, i cant imagine the “why” mattering, and i would never ask

          • http://www.myspace.com/chicanextdoor Miss Patterson

            “but if it did happen, i cant imagine the “why” mattering, and i would never ask”

            riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. you better knock on that wood a little harder.

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              i’m serious though. at that point, the only that would matter is that for whatever reason, she doesnt want to be with me.

              its kind of like when you approach a chick at the club and she tells you she has a boyfriend. whether or not she’s actually telling the truth doesn’t matter…all that matters is that she wants you to think that she has a bf, a code for saying “i’m not interested”

              • http://www.myspace.com/chicanextdoor Miss Patterson

                ehh….agree to disagree. i have a hard time believing one can be that flippant about the end of a serious relationship, esp if you thought you were ‘in love’ with the person. even if you don’t ask the ‘dumper’ personally…it will continue to be nagging question in your mind how your love became suddenly and fatally unrequited. it’s just human nature in my opinion.

              • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

                “even if you don’t ask the ‘dumper’ personally…it will continue to be nagging question in your mind how your love became suddenly and fatally unrequited. it’s just human nature in my opinion.”

                oh yeah…i’d definitely wonder, but i cant see myself asking them.

  • genius khan
    • http://www.myspace.com/chicanextdoor Miss Patterson

      this is hilarious!!! where on earth did you find this? my favorite: the pie chart with “doin’ it” ” and “talking” (awkward right before doin’ it conversation). brilliant. if only it were this easy…lol

    • JBoogie

      Oh, my, this was PRICELESS!

    • miss t-lee

      Is this work safe? I wanted to click, but I’m not that brave.

      • http://www.myspace.com/circa1908 Intellectual Hedonist

        if by work safe you mean that there is no nudity or blatant sex~yes

        • miss t-lee

          Thanks IH…
          this was hilarious.

      • http://www.myspace.com/chicanextdoor Miss Patterson

        it’s safe.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      yeah…im always a big fan of any thing that applies pie charts and percentages to boning

    • Leila

      Funny:)

  • superwoman

    yeah well -this unwillingness to communicate can get ridiculous. i had a guy i was flirting with just disappear on me, then resurfacing about 6 months later wanting to pick up where we’d left off… when i was like WTF, he was like ‘well, i didn’t want to to break up with you, coz i actually DID want you, i just wasn’t ready for a relationship – and i’ m incapable of lying, so i didn’t want a confrontation where it’d come out that i still DO want you – so i disappeared. but now i’m ready…’

    i was like ‘um – no, papa, i cannot hang – your behaviour is beyond foolish.’

    i mean, REALLY – the cheek!

    • http://goodeness.blogspot.com GOODENess

      ‘well, i didn’t want to to break up with you, coz i actually DID want you, i just wasn’t ready for a relationship – and i’ m incapable of lying, so i didn’t want a confrontation where it’d come out that i still DO want you – so i disappeared. but now i’m ready…’

      booooooooooo! just cuz you ready, does that mean I am? no call/no show will get you replaced on ANY job…I’m sorry that position has been filled…even if it hasn’t…you abandoned your position, you were fired and therefore in-eligible for re-hire…LOOK!… ROCKS!… KICK ‘EM!!!

      • ForReal

        LOOK!… ROCKS!… KICK ‘EM!!!

        I smell a t-shirt…

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “well, i didn’t want to to break up with you, coz i actually DID want you, i just wasn’t ready for a relationship – and i’ m incapable of lying, so i didn’t want a confrontation where it’d come out that i still DO want you – so i disappeared. but now i’m ready…’”

        so you’re saying its not okay to say this, ever?

        • JBoogie

          Hell nah…immediate and automatic forfeiture of all rights and privileges he might been extended at that point.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            lol…ok

    • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

      ” i had a guy i was flirting with just disappear on me”

      Superwoman sounds like he actually thought he could pick up where y’all left off. Men like that can’t be depended on. What if you got serious? Would he leave you at the altar?

  • As Is

    I would want to know the truth! Especially if things were peachy Monday-Thursday, then on Friday, you talking about, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” WTF? Oooh, sorry, flashback! (Regrouping) Ok, but yes, I would want to know what went wrong. It can definately teach my something about myself and the type of men I attract/don’t want to attract for the future!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I would want to know the truth! Especially if things were peachy Monday-Thursday, then on Friday, you talking about, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” WTF? Oooh, sorry, flashback! (Regrouping) Ok, but yes, I would want to know what went wrong. It can definately teach my something about myself and the type of men I attract/don’t want to attract for the future!”

      in situations like this, usually he had issues before, but those issues were either kept to himself or ignored by you.

      he didnt just wake up one morning like “you know what, i think i’m gonna hit the gym after work, buy some new toothbrushes, and maybe break up with as is”

      • As Is

        True. He did say, “sometimes, I can be a real
        d!ckhead and just don’t want to talk to anybody. But, I care about you too much to let that happen, so that is somthing I can work on.”
        So, I let him do his thing. Work on it, give him space when he did get in those moods and what not, but if everything was peachy those days, and then you realize you can’t do it anymore? You could have told me that Monday night! That’s all I’m saying.

  • shay

    i always get dropped off, i guess people feel like i cant handle the truth, whatever that might be. i feel like its kind of rude to just leave someone without saying why, but thats just me.

    • http://nextbigthing.blogsome.com Hostess

      The fade, or the dropoff as u call it, is a sign of immaturity. Most likely it has nothing to do with you but what THEY are incapable or unwilling to do. Breaking up and telling the real truth can be uncomfortable. Weak people can’t do it.

      Many men are allowed to get away with this because women don’t want to appear to care. So when we see them in public, we’re all cordial and shyt. But I have a different take. When someone dies, they literally just disappear. So when someone decides to do the drop off, in our minds, we need to pretend they died. That way, when we see them, we’ll be shocked, suspicious, calling Ghost Busters, and plain unfriendly.

      It may sound harsh but it works. I had one die on me earlier this year. I mourned for a day, mentally sent cyber flowers (erased all of his numbers), and moved on.

      • V Renee

        “mentally sent cyber flowers” – LMAO. Loves it!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=73903598 Dom

        ” So when someone decides to do the drop off, in our minds, we need to pretend they died. That way, when we see them, we’ll be shocked, suspicious, calling Ghost Busters, and plain unfriendly. ”

        Lol! I like this, but I feel that its always much better to just say hi and keep it moving. Acting all unfriendly just shows that you may still be hung up on them.

        • http://nextbigthing.blogsome.com Hostess

          But being too freaking cordial says, “It’s ok what you did. I am stupid enough to still offer you my good vibes–which we both know you don’t deserve.” I don’t get why we care what it looks like to THEM. A person needs to do what makes THEM feel better not what makes the OTHER person think they feel better. I say, if you want to look pass them like they’re Casper, do it. You don’t owe it to them to make them think you’re cool with them and their weak behavior.

          Are you friendly to someone who tried to steal from you, skip in front of you in line, push you on the subway platform?? Hell, are you even friendly to the cashier at the Piggly Wiggly who was rude to you the last time you were there?? So then WHY would you want to be all smiley and “Hyeee” to someone who hit you with the relationship ‘fade’?

          Now, I’m not saying to walk up to the person and pour a drink on them. But pretending they’re dead speeds the healing process like nothing else. Why? Cus when someone’s dead, there’s no talking, no wondering, nothing. They’re dead, you’re not. Now let’s go for ice cream!

          • JBoogie

            “They’re dead, you’re not. Now let’s go for ice cream!”

            Love it mayne!

      • em

        I totally agree with this and I find it extremely difficult to be cordial in such a situation; so I don’t. Nothing to see here, let’s just keep moving…

      • shay

        oh yes, honey.. i have many a dead man walking.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “i feel like its kind of rude to just leave someone without saying why, but thats just me”

      even if the why is “the thought of being with you sexuality makes me dry heave?”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=73903598 Dom

        Damn! Thats a harsh ass ‘why!’ Better to leave some things unsaid.

      • shay

        lol yes. some people dont know that they have certain issues because you act like you dont notice them. like for instance, body odor. what mofos seem to not get is the fact that if they can smell it, i can smell it too, so they need to work a little harder, change soap, change diet, whatever, to get that straightened out. if you dont tell them they have a problem, they think u dont notice it, and go on with their funky selves, but, like the truth, their funky self is a hard thing to tell somebody about…
        *i think that qualifies as a rant*

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          *i think that qualifies as a rant*

          it does. i’m guess you had an issue with a smelly suitor in the past?