Even when you’re not actually in a relationship.
“How’s your personal trainer going?” I asked a social acquaintance over lunch, remembering from our prior meeting that said acquaintance had more interest in the ‘personal’ than the ‘training’ part of the arrangement.
“Did you ask him out for coffee in the end?”
She sighed and said, “I had to break up with him.”
Excellent news, I thought, briefly overlooking the terminology. Now she can ask him out without breaching the delicate fiduciary nature of their arrangement. Or, in simpler terms, now she can hit on him without him feeling sexually harassed, and her feeling like a prostitute.
“Great! So are you going to ask him to do something?”
Another sigh. “Well… no… I can’t.”
“Well… I told him I couldn’t see him any more because I bought a house, so I can’t afford sessions any more.”
“Have you bought a house?”
Like all breakups, this was off to a fantastic start, beginning with lies, deception and mutual delusion. He thinks she’s a financially secure, intelligent, property-purchasing woman. She thinks this is somehow better than just explaining to him she couldn’t afford personal training sessions any more.
“And he asked me where I bought into? So, I told him Toowong and he asked what street! So I lied again and told him in that street next to the Regatta Hotel. And he said he goes out there all the time.”
“You do realise he was asking probably because he’s interested in you?”
“And now nothing can happen… because you’ve set lying as the foundation of your friendship. What little he knows about you is completely untrue.”
She laughed. “I know!” She frowned quizzically. “Maybe I’ll have to buy a house.”
“You can’t buy a house! You can’t afford personal training sessions! WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST ASK HIM FOR COFFEE?”
She shrugged. And women wonder why they’re single.
Most interesting was that she viewed ending the arrangement as a break up, hence necessitating a complex web of lies to spare feelings of rejection and embarrassment (not sure if those are his or hers). These people were not in a romantic relationship (her fantasies aside, and really, who hasn’t lusted after their personal trainer? It’s all the stretching involved… one of my friends is actually now living with her former personal trainer), nor were they even friends. There was no obligation to protect anyone’s delicate feelings. Hi, I can’t afford sessions any more. Thanks for all your help thus far. Isn’t that the simplest way to do it?
But we human beings, we like to make shit complicated.
The rules that apply to romantic break ups (ie don’t ever be honest, always say it’s because you’re going through something, it’s never ever anything to do with them!) also seem to directly apply to all non-sexytime break ups. If you’re trying to break up with your hairdresser, bikini waxer, tax accountant – anyone that you see on a semi-regular basis – it seems telling the truth is not an option. Outlandish lies are the order of the day. The one I use most is that I’m moving interstate. In fact, when I did move to London, it was such a relief to tell the truth as to why I couldn’t book my next eyebrow tinting appointment.
But I can’t move to London every 2 months when I want to change a service provider.
Much like my friend, I’ll probably have to come up with something untrue. Seeing as I’ve already bought a property, it might have to be something else.