OP-ED: How Elf on the Shelf Ruined My Relationship
December 12, 2017 at 2:52 am
It started as a joke. I gave my boyfriend, Matt, an Elf on the Shelf on at the beginning of December to commemorate our first holiday season together. He laughed, I laughed, and we put the Elf on the Shelf on a shelf in his once elf-less room.
The next day, I was at Matt’s apartment while he went to buy Despicable Me Kraft Mac n’ Cheese from FroGro. I decided to move Elf on the Shelf to a new spot in his room. When he got back, he laughed and asked if I had moved the elf. I denied it, but Matt kept pushing the issue. The more aggressively he asked whether I had moved the elf, the more vehemently I denied it. He decided that maybe one of his roommates had moved it, and we laughed and moved on.
The next day, Matt had an exam in the morning and was studying in Huntsman all day. But Elf on the Shelf waits for no man, so I went to his apartment, told his roommate I had left my jacket in his room, and moved elf to another spot. I then returned to the library to study for finals. Later that day, Matt texted me and asked again if I had moved the elf. At this point, I saw it really as a power struggle - Matt knew that I had moved the elf, he knew that I knew that he knew that I had moved the elf, but I refused to admit that I had moved the elf.
Another day, another move. Elf found a new spot to lounge on Matt’s bed. Matt was not amused. He accused me of lying to him about the elf, and suggested that if I couldn’t be truthful about the elf maybe I was hiding something else too. I was offended by the accusation, and asserted that he was being paranoid - and why would I lie about moving the elf? Which, as a reminder, I was in fact lying about.
On the fourth day, I snuck into Matt’s apartment to move the elf and was unable to find him. Luckily, Amazon has same day delivery for Elf on the Shelf. A new elf, a new spot, a new accusation, a new denial. Matt changed his facebook relationship status to “It’s complicated.”
Matt went home for the weekend to be free from distractions and get a lot of work done. I too had a lot of work to do. At this point, Elf on the Shelf had become a bit of an obsession. I ordered 300 Elf on the Shelf toys for $0.50 apiece, sacrificing my entire budget for Christmas gifts, and carefully used a sharpie to write “Matt” on every elf’s shirt. I then meticulously placed each toy in Matt's room, along with a single white rose on his pillow.
Matt's train came into 30th Street Station at EST 21:35. At 21:55, he texted me: “We’re done.”