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Is ending a summer fling worth the airtime?

Khaya Dlanga

A recent study shows that many flings blossom in December. It's a time to let loose - and be loose. But how do you end a fling, asks Khaya Dlanga.

According to a study, most break-ups peak a couple of weeks before December then again two weeks before Christmas. (AFP)

I heard a rather disturbing and hilarious story a few days ago about a guy who vanished on his girlfriend for a solid four days. When he finally materialised, he told her he’d had a severe bout of flu, so severe that he had to be on painkillers, which knocked him out for the better part of the week.

His flu seemed to have attacked him very suddenly and conveniently on New Year's Eve. It was so powerful that he couldn't pick up his phone to call her while he was at the doctor. His phone battery also happened to die, so he couldn't make or receive calls. The most unbelievable part of this is that his girlfriend believed him.

How she believed his story is beyond me. Perhaps we live in a cynical age where we doubt too quickly. What that man suffered from was not a severe flu but rather a severe case of festive "seasonitis". And he’s not the only one.

Another friend mentioned how a stranger asked her to help him pick flowers at a 7-Eleven five days into the new year. What did he need these flowers for, my friend wondered. After picking a bouquet, he revealed the truth: he "lost" his phone charger just before Christmas, that’s why he was unable to tell his girlfriend his whereabouts. He made the inverted comma gesture and winked at my friend when he said "lost". I bet his girlfriend beat him up with those flowers – that’s if she didn't make him eat them.

We shall never know what happened after that.

But what we do know is that December is where relationships go to die and flings blossom. Relationships flounder in the deep dark hole of the festive season. December is that time of the year where people seem to want to have no-strings-attached flings.

A study conducted by David McCandless on Facebook says that most break-ups peak a couple of weeks before December, then there's a bit of a lull until an avalanche of further break-ups happens two weeks before Christmas.

The study was conducted by monitoring some 10 000 Facebook status updates with the phrases, "broken up" or "breaking up".

Why do people do this in December? I think they want to have a case of guilt-free sinning in the summer. Plus: they want to let loose, and well ... be loose.

Unfortunately, December is not forever. Now people have to figure out ways of breaking up their festive flings, and if there is some form of protocol for these break-ups.

Do you even break up with a fling or do you just vanish into the night?  It's a not a relationship so would one be presumptuous in even thinking that there is a requirement to end things?

Ending a fling should be done casually, like sending a "please call me, it's over" and that's that. You don't really want to be wasting your airtime. Besides, it is at this point that you remember that you have a girlfriend and have to make up a story about a "lost" cellphone charger (because you are obviously the only person in the world with that particular phone and can't find anybody anywhere with the same charger).

What I find amusing is how blatant these lies are. Knocked out by painkillers for four days and a lost cellphone charger! I give the painkiller guy 10 for creativity but zero for believability.

Now, people are going to spend the next couple of weeks apologising, and I imagine they will be forgiven just before Valentine's Day too. That’s if they don't vanish just before then as well.


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