Ah, yes, the “post-it episode.” A quick recap for the uninitiated: In season six of Sex And The City, Carrie Bradshaw was unceremoniously broken up with by a very confusing and immature guy named Berger, via a Post-it. “I’m sorry, I can’t. Don’t hate me,” it read.
The moment has forever been pinned by SATC loyalists as one of Carrie’s most relatable. For singles, it represents a very specific point in a relationship where one realizes the person they’ve invested time and energy into doesn’t care enough about them to end things in person. It’s cowardly and weak – sure. But it’s also hurtful and disrespectful. Most of us, after all, want to always be able to tip our cap to the time we had with someone – and we most definitely can’t do that if they drop your belongings on the front porch without explanation or write you seven words on a yellow sticky-note.
“You can have the guts and the courtesy to tell a woman to her face that you no longer want to see her. Call me crazy, but I think you can make a point about ending a relationship that does not include an email, a doorman or a missing person’s report,” says Carrie in a scene which honestly stayed with me most of my adult life. “I think you can all get over your fear of looking like the bad guy and actually have the uncomfortable break-up conversation because here’s what: avoiding that makes you the bad guy.”
This episode aired in 2003 when iPhones weren’t life and COVID-19 was still just a tiny pathogen inside a bat in China. Flash-forward to 2020 and the global pandemic has given rise to a new type of dating: Zoom calls. If things heat up, a two-week isolation stay will follow where you will either a) thrive and be less concerned with Lysol-ing the remote control or b) hit de facto status way too soon and get bored with UberEats.
But it’s the aftermath: In these pandemic times – where face-to-face communication isn’t really allowed unless you’re dating at Whole Foods – is there a good way to break-up with someone?
“Being in quarantine is not only accelerating relationships, it’s allowing you to see people for who they really are a lot quicker,” says Michelle, 37, single and in quarantine in New York City.
“If you’ve just been talking to them online, then a text or note is fine. But if you’ve met up a few times and actually had dinner at theirs, they need to pick up the phone,” says Ariana, 28, also single and in quarantine in New York City.
If Berger were ending things with Carrie in 2020, would we still think of him as the bad guy? Is an unattended Zoom date the new ghosting? Is a text the new Post-it? And is a text actually OK right now?
These questions are rhetorical because any type of break-up should always involve a phone call at the very least. If they can’t give you that, it’s because they don’t want to and all the more reason to let it be. And if you’re really down, you can always get high (not actually condoned), get arrested and get ice-cream like Carrie. In that order.