Kickstart Your Break Up

Speed dating for break ups.

Online dating sites and mobile dating apps have created a situation where relationships don’t stop and start in the same way. Breakups are, in essence, broken. No more. Caput.

This, we know—and I mentioned, in fact, in a recent column that outlined two single guys’ wooing tactics and insights.

But this week I discovered one Washingtonian who wants to do something about the absence of breakups.

Anastasia Kolobrodova has taken to Kickstarter to try to fund a performance art project she’s calling “I don’t love you anymore. Goodbye.” The notion is a speed dating event turned upside and carried out almost in reverse. Instead of a series of rapid-fire conversations in hopes of instant attraction and chemistry. Anastasia’s event would allow participants to break up with perfect strangers.

Her Kickstarter plea explains that tables will be arranged a la speed dating around the space. Daters—or perhaps “heart breakers”—will spend time getting to know one another. Then, before the pair’s time is over, they will end their relationship and move on to another partner in order to do it all over again.

Anastasia’s goals are many:

1. To hold this event in D.C. just after Valentine’s Day (if too many people aren’t preoccupied with season 2 of “House of Cards”)

2. To raise $2,000 for venue rental fees and other events costs

3. To make the event LGBTQ-friendly. In other words men will break up with women, women with women, men with men and on and on. It’s not about sexual orientation or identity; it’s about clean, satisfying relationship endings.

4. To reward backers with breakups. The thank yous she’s devised for those who contribute to her Kickstarter campaign revolve around having her end things with them in various ways. Pledges of $3 merit a breakup postcard a breakup by phone for a $5  pledge, a video breakup that will also appear on YouTube for a $10 pledge and the whole enchilada—a spot in the “I don’t love you anymore event” for $20 and higher pledges. Anastasia keeps going with prizes beyond that as well. For instance, my favorite has got to be the gift of a mixed CD and a letter about feelings for $40 pledger, because the only thing that really helps get through a breakup is some groovy tuneage.

 

But really, why would someone do this? What’s so gratifying and satisfying about being subjected to an old-school, real breakup? Or to subjecting someone else to one?

Closure, I guess. Anastasia describes that it saddens her that when relationships derived from Tinder, OkCupid or other apps and sites fail, they become quiet, invisible failures. The former couple doesn’t acknowledge what happened, what went wrong. I can see how that would feel as if their connection and time together was all an illusion in the first place.

She, it seems, wants the failures to be grander. Or at least for the people dating to know that they’ve failed and be able to have a forum to declare it.

In her words:

This interactive performance piece … will give participants the freedom to explore endings. Break up for superficial reasons. Break up for something meaningful. Say what you wanted to say to the last person you left. Be ridiculous. Be discreet. Make a scene. Cry. Yell. Glare. Smile.

So, this is about expression and catharsis too. I see. Anastasia envisions livestreaming the goings-on as well as creating a crowdsourced blog that documents noteworthy breakups. She’s determined to give breakups their day in the sun, their own voice.

Would you fund her goal? She had secured $702 from 46 backers. I’m mulling over taking part. A good meaty breakup can certainly be hard to come by.

-Dena

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