Silencing the stupid

By Kelli Stevens

Have you ever been with someone where listening to them is so painful you want to shove your tongue down their throat just so they have to be quiet? Unfortunately, I have. Numerous times.

The first was a couple of years ago. I’d just gotten out of a long-term relationship and was on the rebound (read: vulnerable, desperate, et cetera). I ended up with Dan. Perhaps it’s due to some kind of survival mechanism that I remember little of that experience. Isn’t there some kind of psychological process whereby people repress awful memories? Anyway, the part I do remember is listening to Dan and thinking "wow, this guy is dumb. I wish we could just make out so I don’t have to hear this crap anymore."

Needless to say, he didn’t last long.

Almost as unfortunately, Dan was followed by Cody. Now, Cody was a nice guy, and he’d learned enough from Cosmopolitan and Maxim advice columns to know that if you’re going to get any, you have to at least act interested in the other person. Perhaps that’s why he felt the need to discuss all aspects of my life–including topics he knew nothing about. One disturbing moment came when he told me that his mom could help with my paper on Karl Marx–seeing as they’d worked together. Since Marx died in the 1880s, I thought his claim was a bit unlikely.

A few months post-Cody, I met Shawn. The Dan-like aura of stupidity was absent. Cody’s constant "I’m pretending to know what I’m talking about" was also non-existent.

"Finally," I thought, "I’m moving up."

Alas, despite Shawn’s knowledge of politics and business, he still managed to fit into the "shut up and kiss me" category. It started after a drunken house party hook-up when he came to me the next day with "where do you think the two of us stand?"

What? Are you really asking me that? What answer are you looking for? Are we on the road to marriage?

Somehow, I managed to stutter a polite response and the two of us eventually ended up "standing" together quite a bit. Over time, he made a few more comments that made me question what the hell I was doing, but I didn’t act on them.

The icing on the cake came when Shawn informed me it’s unnatural for people to stay in relationships without cheating. I was amazed. That theory may have a grain of truth, but I don’t see its need to be voiced, especially not to your girlfriend who is lying naked beside you.

We eventually stopped seeing each other (a break-up consisting of surprisingly few stupid comments), but that wasn’t the end.

My favourite line of all time came when Shawn asked if I could lend him a thousand dollars. I was astounded and didn’t even know where to start with my reply. I settled for careful explanation.

"Shawn, I never would have given you money–especially that much–when we were together. So what would possess you to ask for it now?"

It was then I knew I’d moved from the "shut up and kiss me" stage to "just shut up."

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