Today I got an e-mail from my on-again, off-again, very on-again, very off-again girlfriend. She’s started seeing someone. And although I tried dating other people during the four years of our strange courtship, I never found anyone that made me feel the way she did.
Also, we lived 150 miles away from each other.
After years of alternating pain and pleasure (but mostly pain), I look back and wonder what the hell was going on in my brain?
Of course, I relate it to improv.
The biggest problem in our relationship is that nothing was defined. No choices were made. Sound like scenes you’ve seen?
In an improv scene, if a guy says, “I’d like to be able to call you my girlfriend,” that’s pretty wishy-washy. Just call her your girlfriend. Hopefully she acknowledges that and doesn’t string you along for four years, never once referring to you as her boyfriend. That would just be weird.
In my relationship, we frequently talked about how difficult the distance was. But I didn’t want to move back to Nowheresville, Michigan and she didn’t want to move to Chicago. So we just kept complaining about the distance. F that. In an improv scene, one (or both) of you needs to move to propel things forward. The alternative, as Woody Allen said, is “a dead shark.”
I was often forthcoming about my feelings. She rarely reciprocated. That’s like being in a scene with someone who contributes almost nothing. First, you’ve got to “yes.” Then you’ve got to “and.” If you’re doing neither, you are a bad improviser. And a bad girlfriend.
And for God’s sake, this Volcnado* of emotional torture lasted four years. If your scene is as painful as my relationship, EDIT. Even if you have to edit from inside the scene. It sucks to acknowledge a scene in a tailspin, but there will be other scenes. And other girls. Now I am available for both.
* Volcano + Tornado = Volcnado
Got an improv question? Wanna take me on a date? E-mail me at boilingpointimprov[at]gmail.com