My wife buys a lot of so-called "women's magazines," which means that, when I'm looking around for something to distract me for a few minutes, I often end up reading "O," "Glamour," or some other double-x chromosome literature. Far from regretting this trend, I'm incredibly happy. You see, while other people are worrying about North Korean nuclear missiles, Iraqi nuclear programs, or Pakistani nuclear scientists, I'm able to focus on the real problems, the most pressing issues of our age.
Topping the list: bad breakups.
I've recently found myself deluged with information about the best way to break up with someone. From what I've been able to glean, the increasing power of the internet and text messaging, coupled with massively decreasing social skills, has led to a veritable avalanche of bad breakups, bruised feelings, and shrill recriminations. In many ways, our celebrities have led the way: from Mia Farrow's discovery of nude pictures of Sun-Yee to Rudy Giuliani's breakup with Donna Hanover during a press conference, the movers and shakers have demonstrated that, when it comes to ending a relationship, emotional generosity definitely takes a back seat to efficiency and self-indulgence.
I recently read an interesting little blurb about a Chinese company that has found a way to take advantage of this cultural phenomenon. For a reasonable fee, they will break up with your significant other. In other words, rather than having to go through the trouble of booking a table for two in a crowded restaurant, pay for a decent meal that will probably go uneaten, and choking out the standard lame excuses and apologies, a customer can merely call this service and pay them to make the problem go away.
It's brilliant, I tell you. Brilliant!
Just imagine it: your breakup company could offer a wide variety of services. On the cheap side, you could hire a grim process-server who would show up at your significant other's door and announce the breakup in a monotone. On the upper end, you could send an attractive, available, skilled negotiator with a bunch of roses and a bottle of Dom to smooth things over and collect your CDs. Ultimately, as paid breakups got more and more advanced, the package you choose could convey its own message. The "Breakup Undertaker (TM)," would run fifteen bucks or so and would convey total disinterest, while the "Romance Renegotiator (TM)" would cost over a hundred and would leave the door open for positive relations and a possible reconciliation. There would be special "Love Hostage Negotiators (TM)," who could handle armed girlfriends; "Therapists d'Amour (TM)," who would listen to your ex's litany of complaints; and "Hagglers of the Heart (TM)," who would try to get your stuff back.
Best of all, as face-to-face contact becomes less and less common and social skills become more and more rare, the demand for this service will continue to go through the roof. If you've got a little startup capital and are good at closing a deal, I strongly advise you to jump on this opportunity before the Chinese company decides to franchise over here. And when you make your first million, don't forget who got you started!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. His last great idea, stuffed-crust rice cakes, didn't pan out. This one, though...