The topic came upon an episode of How I Met Your Mother. You can see an altered version of the episode below.
SPOILER ALERT: The following information contains SPOILERS of the above episode.
The portion of the episode that’s important to know for this article would be Robin’s story (Cobie Smulders, the brown haired woman). She started off with telling the gang about how she saw her ex Don (Benjamin Koldyke) on the news channel he anchors. Don and Robin’s breakup ended poorly because Robin declined the job opportunity at the news channel for the betterment of their relationship, whilst Don accepted her position, regardless of the relationship.
Robin pretended that she was okay with seeing her ex, saying, “Finished with that!” But Lily (Alyson Hannigan) asked,
Where’s the poop, Robin?… When I was a kid, I had a dog named Bean. Whenever he made the face that you’re making right now, you just knew he pooped somewhere in the house. Where’s the poop, Robin?
Robin told the gang the truth, about her drunkenly yelling at the television at her ex, saying, “Finished with that!’ in reference to a bottle of liquor. With Lily’s help, she continued to tell the gang that she called Don, leaving his a voicemail saying,
I’m going to kill you. I’m going to fly to Chicago, kill you, put your stupid face on a deep-dish pizza, and eat it. And maybe catch a Bears game. But mostly the killing and eating your face thing.
Lily encouraged Robin to delete Don’s number off her phone, which she did.
Later, Lily asked Robin again, “Where’s the poop, Robin?” Robin left Don another message, saying,
‘This just in!’ That’s what I’m going to say when I’m stabbing you!
Robin told Lily that a message came, similar to the following:
She wasn’t sure, so she kept Don’s phone number. She said that,
“It’s not that easy, okay? You’re not just deleting a number, you’re deleting a part of your life. You know, all those memories, all those experience — it’s like you’re admitting they’re gone forever.”
Lily stayed by her position that deleting a number is easy. Robin countered by having Lily delete “Super Kicks Karate.” Lily had a flashback of her attending a karate class, ultimately getting beat by a moody rascal that yelled “WAZZUUUP?!” Lily said she’ll take another class, that she needed the number but Robin said,
Lily, this is a number you’ll never dial again… No, no, but you keep it on your phone because it reminds you of a version of yourself that you could be. Even if it’s a version of yourself that you’ll never become. And that’s okay!
To win the battle, Lily deleted the karate dojo’s number. Still reluctant to delete Don’s number, Robin challenged Marshall (Jason Segel) to delete “Edwin.” Edwin was the event booker for a club his all-lawyer funk band played at once four years ago. Marshall insisted that The Funk, the Whole Funk, And Nothin’ But The Dunk (the name of the band) will play another gig, but Lily lovingly smashed it. Marshall then said,
Well, it’s just that without that number in my phone, I’m just a corporate lawyer working 60 very un-funky hours a week…
Lily and Robin helped Marshall in deleting the number. Robin, in turn, deleted Don’s number.
Later, Lily asked “Where’s the poop, Robin?” Robin admits that she called Don again to apologise for her other voicemail messages, stating that she memorised the number. Lily said she has to try to forget it for closure, but Robin said,
I’m never going to have closure, okay? Closure doesn’t exist, okay? One day, Don and I are moving in together, and the next thing I know, he’s on a plane to Chicago. It just… Ended. And no matter how much I try to forget that it happened, it will never not happen. Don and I will always be a loose end. We’ll always be…
Some nights later, Robin watches Don’s news channel and tries to call him again. A Spanish-speaking woman picks up, and Robin realised she has the wrong number. She ends her and Don’s relationship with a final,
Finished with that.
See more Texts From Your Ex at their Instagram Account Here.
Phoenix and I met at Broadway camp the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I had turned 17 and he was 15 years old. It was a week-long daily camp in July at the local elementary, and after it ended, he and I talked and started crushing on each other. From then on, we started constantly texting, sexting, sending photos to each other and talking occasionally until we finally met up in September, when the physical relationship started.
For 6 years, we had an on-off relationship. Never officially boyfriend-boyfriend, it was always a very faded line we drew to where we were, even to our REAL boyfriends. Our Friends With Benefits (FWB) always had it’s intense moments and it really became a loving relationship. But our FWB relationship ended near his 21st birthday when he wanted to cut ties to strengthen his relationship with his boyfriend.
At that time, Perseus and I were seeing each other but not yet exclusive or serious. But upon my newly-found freedom, Perseus and I became exclusive with each other. I put my all into our relationship in my lover from across the pond, coming on every night to talk and Skype with him and texting him throughout the day. I fell in deep love with him.
There’s been several times I’ve deleted Phoenix’s number from my phone, but (as Robin stated) you can’t delete a number from your mind. I still remember the start of his number today, but get uncertain towards the end. And I shamefully admit, during some ‘off’ time of the on-off relationship, I had sent him a text via memorised number. I had decided that this won’t happen after the last time, since we did end it on bad terms via texting war.
Over a year later, I get a text from an unfamiliar number, saying,
“Hey are you in town?”
I was actually in New Orleans at the time, having a mini-vacation with my dad and Joey. I replied, “No. Who is this?” It was Phoenix, and he wanted to know to ask if we could ‘hang out.’ Hang out use to be our code for sex in high school, and so I knew what he was getting at — his dick was hard and he wanted me.
Jester and I met during my senior year of high school, when he was a junior. We were in a musical together and after the last performance, we decided to hangout — in the back of my car. From then on, we started a fuck buddy relationship, calling each other up whenever we felt up for it. We met up nearly 10 times throughout the 3 years we kept on the relationship.
A couple months after Jester and my most recent cum-and-go, when talking to Perseus about exes (a dreadful conversation in any relationship), I mentioned Jester. Perseus looked him up on Facebook and took a look at him, before telling me I had to block him. Because I was whipped by him at age 21, I blocked Jester from my Facebook.
Soon after, Jester sent me a text:
Hey why can’t I see your lovely Facebook?
I didn’t reply, and deleted his number.
First thing’s first. Since How I Met Your Mother has ended, some people have compared it to Friends. I love the Friends series and I respect the HIMYM series as well, but I admit I haven’t seen every single episode through as I have Friends. I give it to Buzzfeed writer Tasmai Uppin for pointing out some of the generalised similarities; however, the show as a whole is not the same.
Friends was during a time when people asked for quarters for the payphone, the internet was supposed to be a fad, and disposable cameras were the newest way to keep memories. It tackled many off-hand topics that were modern for the day, such as a lesbian ex-wife’s baby, sibling surrogacy, divorce, and marriage for green card, to name a few. In addition (whether it changed casual fashion, or it kept up with the trends of it), Friends evolved steadily in a tangible way that everyone wanted The Rachel.
Not to say that HIMYM didn’t have a cultural impact on society, but I feel that it’s not as “epic” as Friends was. As Ocala writer Rebecca Gagnè stated, it’s had it’s catchphrases and their running jokes, but overall, I wouldn’t be quoting HIMYM as much as I have Friends. There’s only a couple shows and movies my family recalls in quotes and in situations, which include Friends, Golden Girls, Will & Grace and Roseanne.
HIMYM‘s just in a different time, with similar dynamics played in an off-putting way if people want to compare it to Friends; however, when people stop holding it up against other show’s standards, it’s a great piece of work. As the Huffington Post’s writer Jack Donaldson wrote in 2011, HIMYM is one of the greater sitcoms of the current time, compared to the trash reality TV and other subpar shows that last barely a season nowadays (I’m still pissed about Off The Map).
But to the topic at hand. HIMYM displayed the (somewhat outdated) notion that we always want to call our exes. Nowadays, it’s a text, which is seen in The Media portion of this post via Buzzfeed and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But the issue is there: It’s easier said than done to delete your past.
In Robin’s quote, deleting Don’s number is like deleting a piece of your past. Marshall pointed out that if he deleted the number of the event booker for the club, he’d lose proof that he was ever more than ‘just a corporate lawyer.’
For those who keep up with the times and use trending social media, it’s as if you backtrack your Facebook timeline and deleted your prom photos. Or if you officially deactivate your MySpace and Xanga account. Or if you deleted your formerly Yahoo Photos, now Flickr photos.
For those who keep it old fashioned, it’s as if you misplaced photos from your elementary camping trip or your First Communion. It’s as if keeping your VHS collection, which includes your childhood home videos, despite that fact that nobody in the family has a VCR anymore. Or similarly, keeping your cassette collection without a cassette player, or any music device prior to the cassette!
Are these things compared to deleting a phone number contact on a modern cellphone? Is it easy to delete any contact, whether it be an e-mail address, a business card in a rolodex, a screen name on AIM or a Facebook friend? And even in this modern world, what stops you from using a mutual friend to contact the person you want to avoid, or even to Google them up just to look up photos?
It’s not easy to delete someone or something out of your life. As Robin said to Lily, maybe we keep some contacts, whether it’s someplace we took one lesson from or a person, because it shows us who we could have been. Maybe I’ll have the nerve to skydive, maybe I’ll take that pottery lesson, maybe he and I will get back together? In the case of Anna Faris in What’s Your Number?, keeping your exes’ numbers may come in handy, but probably not.
At the end of relationships, most people aren’t happy. In my sister’s divorce, she’s unhappy because she’s wasted most of her 20s on him, and he’s unhappy because she was his goldmine. In Phoenix and my relationship, I lost the emotional attachment and he lost a hole for his dick. But look what I’ve gained– Perseus and I both have strong emotional attachment and, when we are physically together, have amazing chemistry in that department as well.
Sometimes, we want to cling to the only thing that makes us human. We have nostalgia for the past, whether it’s a place, an event or a time in our lives. But in college, I learned that nostalgia isn’t just the fondness of the past, but the fondness of the past that really didn’t happen — we somehow see the past as a better place, and reminisce that it was better than it is now. It’s great to remember the past, but when you’re strong enough, it’s time to clean up your past for your future.
The same goes for your past relationships, but hopefully you don’t only see the positives and you do see the (perhaps many) reasons why you broke up in the first place. Ignoring the existence of your ex is not the way to go, as you can see is the fault with Ryan Kwanten’s character in The Right Kind of Wrong, but for the good of your future self, delete their phone number, their Facebook and their contacts because you’ll have their memories with you. You can’t move on from them if you don’t distance yourself from them, whether it be for now or forever. Maybe you’ll be as lucky as Robin and be able to say, “FINISHED WITH THAT!”
So the next chance you get, clean our your phone, your Facebook friends list and maybe Google yourself to make sure your Xanga, MySpace, LiveJournal and everything else in your life is clear. It’s not only good for your future relationships, but your future employment. If you want to keep a number of a hobby you wish to ‘pursue one day,’ today’s the day. Use the number and start on it if you want to keep it; otherwise, it’s not meant to be.
Make the move, for your future self.