Bad romance: tips for the relationship that’s dead from the waist down, by gin-soaked singleton Grace Ryan

It’s the month of February and love is in the air.  Cupid’s arrows are flying, sexy underwear is being furtively purchased and secret plans are being hatched for proposals, honeymoons and the occasional swingers’ party.  For those of you lucky enough to share your life with that special somebody, the next two weeks will be filled with anticipation as you prepare to reveal your romantic masterstroke to your saucy soulmate.

Sweet partners, tender lovers, please turn the page, because this article is not for you. If your serotonin buzz doesn’t already steer you in the right direction, you can go to any paper or website and find lists of romantic things you can do for your other half, and you’ll probably end up spending most of the next day rutting in the boudoir – assuming you even make it that far.  When you’re finished with that, spare a moment’s thought for all the people out there trapped in relationships of convenience, hookups that happened because they were bored, marriages where the only spark comes from a Rampant Rabbit with some faulty wiring.  Those people don’t need a guide to romantic gestures, they need a guide to the romantic get-out clause.

Trapped, miserable people – do not despair.  Follow the tips in this article and you too will be separated, alone, free to cuddle and spank whoever you choose. Your lawyer might be a few grand richer, but it’s a small price to pay for naughty freedom.

Blooms of doom
Flowers are a sweet, charming gesture for most lovers. They’re symbolic of life, with a delicate scent that evokes freshness and growth, combined with the unmistakeable erotic message of their transient beauty. Basically, flowers are nature’s way of saying you should boink like billy-o when you’re young, fresh, and smell lovely, before your juices dry up and you wither on the vine like yesterday’s daffodils.

So what to do if your relationship has already withered away, like the folds of skin beneath a bitter spinster’s neck? Well, I find that nothing says “it’s over, Dave” like a tattered plastic bouquet, stolen from a graveyard or roadside tribute to a deceased celebrity.  A bunch of flowers from the garage is also good, but should really be reserved to give the specific message that you worked late because you’re sleeping with the your accountant.

Tats entertainment
I’ve personally never seen the appeal of having a person’s name etched into my epidermis forever, but then again I’ve been around the block so many times that my buttocks would probably resemble the toilet wall at an especially grotty youth-club.  Nonetheless, some people seem to think an inky doodle commemorating SHARON LUVS DARREN is the ultimate statement of lifelong adoration.

For a real passion killer, take a lesson from washed-up caucasian rap sensation Eminem, who expressed his feelings to the estranged mother of his child by decorating one arm with a gory mural entitled ‘Kim…rot in pieces’.  What’s worse is that Slim Shady subsequently married the lovely Kim not once but twice, which must have made for a hell of a wedding day speech from his father-in-law.

Romantic getaways for one
The Office of Quotable Statistics reports than 36% of relationships founder whilst on holiday, probably because there’s nothing like a bit of distance from your shared, mundane routine to lay bare the hideous lie that is your life together.  The undeniable truth that you’re just as ready to poison each other in paradise (or more commonly the Costa Del Sol) makes it very difficult not to consider hopping over the villa wall in the dead of night and starting a new life as Juan Mysterioso, secretive man of great regrets and professional weaver of straw donkeys.

To up the odds of a Euro-funded bustup, may I recommend a weekend at a depraved bordello in Amsterdam’s red light district, where you’re likely to discover things about your partner that will make Sunday lunch and a repeat of the Vicar of Dibley impossible to endure with a straight face.  A suitably awful alternative for the small minority adverse to drug-fuelled heavy bondage would be some winter caravanning in Wales, where you’ll wish you packed a gimp mask if only to offer an evening’s respite from the connubial loathing of vindictive draughts games and fights over the Jumbo Book of Travel Puzzles.

On bended knee
Somehow, despite all the many subtle messages you try and send them, some people just don’t get that your relationship is going nowhere.  If you’re too polite to tell them or simply move away to Finland, this only leaves the nuclear option: play relationship Russian roulette and propose even more commitment. If you’re lucky they’ll realise they hate you and run off with hairy Maria who works in the supermarket.

The obvious disaster dealbreaker is to propose marriage, preferably in a place so awful that the absurdity of five more minutes in your company would be obvious to any human with more emotional awareness than a pile of broken toasters.  A betting shop might work, or maybe the lobby of the G.U.M clinic, or amidst the polystyrene rubbish and dead pigeons clogging the musty stairwell of a forgotten car park.

If you’re already married, but hate each other, start discussing baby names, and within a matter of months one of you will be living it up with smooth boys in Bangkok whilst the other is shopping for prams with a controlling geography teacher named Clive.  If you’ve already got kids, try and have another, but absolutely insist that you raise it in darkness and name it after the stage name of your favourite heavy metal musician, Iranian ayatollah and/or preferred model of typewriter.

If all that still doesn’t work, and you have a partner who’s honestly happy to spend the next eighteen years holidaying in dutch brothels and mutually nurturing young Abbath Khomeini Olivetti Lettera 32, then perhaps you’re luckier than you think.  If they’ll put up with all that; alongside your snores and farts; your terrible jokes; your crusty eyelids; your bad dancing and lazy cooking; then grab that person and gold them tight, because I do declare that you have found true love at last.