First "borrow" a copy of the song E-mail by the Pet Shop Boys. It’s surprisingly wonderful. Then ponder the following article about assisted online breakups from the Boston Globe (Elizabeth Manus, 2/8/2004):
Breakupservice.com, founded in 2002, offers a range of options for heartbreakers who have $50 but not, as cofounder and president Ren Thompson puts it, "the nerve, or the know-how," to write their own good-byes. According to Thompson, between 1,200 and 1,500 men and women annually turn to the Dublin, Calif.-based company for a custom-tailored "Dear John" or "Dear Jane" letter with that special admixture of grace, verve, tact, and distance.
For the less old-fashioned, Thompson or one of his six breakup representatives also break the news by means of a "Happy Ending counseling call" lasting roughly 15 minutes on average. The conversation doesn't always begin on a happy note. The most common reactions, Thompson says, are "Is this some kind of joke?" or "Are you recording this?" But once people get over the skepticism, Thompson says, it's a learning experience. "They have an inkling there's a problem. Now they have some real closure with real answers. We try to help them look at it as a new beginning."
Starting afresh is also behind the philosophy at LadyLoveWriter.com and its male-oriented counterpart LoveWriter.com. For $89, New Jersey-based scribe Erica Klein (who works by day as a direct-mail copywriter) will conduct a telephone consultation and compose "The Gentle Breakup Letter," which she e-mails to the client to write out in his or her own handwriting. Would-be heartbreakers answer eight key informational questions on the order form and then choose from three "emotional styles": "Light and Casual," "Straightforward But From the Heart," or "Super-Romantic" (though Klein can't recall any client opting for the latter).
If that isn’t terrible enough, here is Chris Gray writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer (9/24/2003):
Dawn Capone thought instant-messaging would be a good way to "talk" with her boyfriend of six months when his cell-phone battery died.
Wrong. On their first IM "date," the man - a 36-year-old computer consultant from West Philadelphia - made Capone a victim of the latest form of commitment-phobia haunting singles: the Internet dump.
"I am breaking up with you," the boyfriend typed, as Capone watched aghast at the keyboard at her home in Blackwood.
"We are no longer a couple."
"I am logging off" - and he was gone.
It's the downside of dating in the age of the Internet. With the emergence of electronic cads and e-mail teases, breaking up means never having to say you're sorry - in person.
Next, I give you Rescue Rings courtesy of Virgin Mobile:
We've all been there. Stuck in a nightmare blind date, meeting, class, or conversation with no way out. We've got your back. Just set up a Rescue Ring for a pre-determined time and your phone will ring. Pretend to have a conversation and take it from there.
Let’s follow that up with another kind of telecommunication, from Nerve’s Guide to Sex Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen by Em & Lo:
When to Make the Call
* The gentleman or lady never makes a booty call more than a day in advance. An hour or two is considered foreplay, any longer and something better might present itself. A booty call is meant to scratch a fairly immediate itch.
* Unless otherwise agreed upon, after midnight on a school night is too late to call. On weekends, all calls should be made at least five minutes before closing time.
* If you do not desire an overnight guest, it is elegant to make the booty call before sundown. After sundown, we must recommend that you resign yourself to the possibility of entertaining all night long — unless you have express rules to the contrary, it is the only polite thing to do.
How to Make the Call
* It is prudent to treat one's booty call contact information like that of one's dealer: Stored in a cellphone but never memorized, in case one wishes at some point to delete it permanently. Some elegant ladies and gentlemen prefer to rely on locations instead of digits, choosing a certain local spot where merely showing up after a certain hour is an indicator that one is in the mood.
And -- hey! – Happy Valentine’s Day…