It is not our purpose, here, to discuss basic disentanglement techniques for women. The subject is too complex for a first text book, the scales too weighted in the woman’s favour. It is well known that women are able to keep spurned males in attendance for years by turning them into faithful sympathizers, or sound old, trustworthy, Major Dobbins who spend their lives never mentioning the name of a woman in the mess.
For men, the first rule undoubtedly is to adopt the Gentlemanly-noble. It has been the accepted method in modern times in England since the best pre-Ibsen early Pinero kind of drama. At the end of Act II the guest finds that the wife has taken a fancy to him. In 1882 this has to be put the other way round – he has taken a fancy to the wife. In the play his heart is broken, but he remains calm. At the end of Act III he has packed before breakfast. He is ready to go.
BUTLER: Excuse me, sir. Perkins is outside sir. Shall I put in your trunk?
HILARY FORSYTH: Thank you Jarvis (he has not turned but is still staring up the staircase with a look on his face which we shall never forget).
Thank you. Bring me my hat and coat.
BUTLER: I have it here sir.
HILARY (aside): Do not rouse her ladyship now, Jarvis. On no account rouse her. But – give her this note.
However old-fashioned it may seem, this can still be the basic way. Provided the writer of the note believes in the character he is assuming.
|Odoreida, beyond the battle in the realm of love, yet still on occasion holding in his stomach muscles.|
The lifeman is never not quite a gentleman. He never wounds pride – this must be the first rule of successful gentle detachment. Observe also the effectiveness of the shatteringly brief hint of personal disaster note.
It’s no good. I’ve tried every way and I’m out. I’m boarding up the entrance, locking myself in, in some kind of real sense. I have discovered the meaning of the word excommunication.
The girl can – will certainly – show this letter to her woman friend. ‘I’m so worried about Dick. He wrote me such a strange letter.’
This wording is very close to the text used by Jeremy B. when he was extricating himself from the red-haired girl Dorothy Jackson-Blake, who was in advertising, Berkeley Square. It did not work because the very next morning Dorothy J-B saw Jeremy driving a Miss Gunnery down Davies Street in a scarlet open sports car.
Study the finesse of painless leaving. A civilized performer can without apologizing use the word ‘apology’ in such a way that the girl feels that it is she who should be asking pardon. The writer of the following must believe in his letter: indeed it may not undesirably contain a touch of truth. ‘I’, the man is saying* ‘am a man who loves too much. I am in danger of losing my self-respect.’ (Ideally this letter should be written in Chancery Italic script, well to the right of the page).
I don’t know what to call this letter – an apology for living, perhaps, certainly not an apology for leaving. You must have had an extraordinary sense of release, of relaxation, when you saw the last of me. Love which becomes an obsession has lost its cleanness, its fine definition. I shall keep away from you in order to recognize myself again and know the boundaries by which I am contained. Then perhaps if once more we can become two worlds, complete – two twin stars circling round each other, connected but separate – you will be able to enjoy me more, and I shall at any rate have regained my self-respect.*
* Copyright Lifemanship Publication Corp.
Stephen Potter, Anti-Woo, 1965