The Most Efficient Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover

For a while back then I got to pondering Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”. He wasn’t hugely popular in the UK during the mid-70s, and so I only heard the song a few months ago, and immediately I wondered why etc only five ways etc one of which isn’t much of a way etc. Linear drumming. The moustache, the hat; no.

At which point I discovered that my insights were not new. Indeed there was a thread back in 2008 on this very board on a similar topic:

However I decided to take a different tack. I wanted to apply scientific methods of industrial time-and-motion management to the problem of devising ways to leave your lover, and so I decided to create the fifty most efficient ways to express this concept with the English language. My constraints were (a) the names should be real names, male names, not restricted to Anglo-Saxon names but there should be at least a few real people on the internet with that name (b) the methods should rhyme, and fit the metre of the song - loosely, but enough so that you could imagine Paul Simon singing them (with perhaps “just” and “gonna” as verbal punctuation) and (c) not to copy Paul Simon’s original list, for his is the house of pain.

I’ve put the methodology here:

The most efficient way that I could think of was:

Go, Jo

There aren’t any one-letter English words that mean the same as “go”, and as a consequence of this - if you imagine that the formulation is like a hamburger - I can’t shave letters from the lower portion of the bun. And there aren’t any one-letter first names that rhyme with “go”, so the bun remains intact. In theory I could have used “O” but that’s not a name. Too much of a deviation from the concept. Might as well accept “I, I”, and have done with it. No. Resist. My goal is to impose order on the chaos. The cake shall not be left out in the rain.

The rest of the list proceeds like this:

Fly, Eli

Blow, Moe
Dash, Ash
Deny, Kai
Ebb, Webb
Fade, Ade
Cut, Mutt
Run, Alun

Adieu, Boo
Bolt, Walt
Buzz, Buzz
Dust, Just
Hike, Mike
Quit, Brit
Scram, Sam
Skim, Akim
Skip, Chip
Split, Kit

Cease, Rhys
Chill, Phil
Depart, Art
Shirk, Dirk
Shoot, Knut
Unass, Cass*
Whizz, Aziz

Break, Blake
Desert, Bert
Drive, Clive
Flee, Leslie
Go 'way, Jay
Jet, Ornette
Leave, Steve
Move on, Ron
Recede, Said
Rotate, Nate
Secede, Bede
Swerve, Merv
Unload, Joad

Forsake, Jake
Retreat, Pete

Conclude, Jude
Creep, Pradeep
Retire, Squire
Unhitch, Mitch
Vamoose, Moose
Withdraw, Thor

Detour, Seymour
Disappear, Amir
Melt, Roosevelt

It took fourteen hours; I fainted three times. But it is done. All for one and all for love.

  • Oh, come on, have you never seen Hamburger Hill? Did you not fight in the Vietnam War? Away with you.

Tally them all, Paul!

F-off, Yakov


Hit her with an ax, Max.

I always thought a better first line would have been:

Slip out the black-jack.

Good job OP! For the eco friendly crowd.

Push the pedal in the Prius Pete.

You gotta flee, Lee - with bonus economy points for repeated letters.

You might score more points for “You’d better flee, Flea” but, outside of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s not a very common name.

A while ago I came up with the following verse for the song

Just get up and go, Joe
You gotta be brave, Dave
It’s easy to leave, Steve, just set yourself free.
Just get on the train, Duane, don’t stop to explain.
Just make yourself gone, Ron, set yourself free.

I asked the other dopers for contributions. You can see the results below.

deary, deary, me.

A true Ron would never do such a thing…

Trek, Beck.

Hike, Mike.

Cruise, Cruz.

Mosey, Rosie.

Run, Hon.

Evaporate, Nate

Stick her with the bill, Phil.

Away, Jay

Fly, Si would work. “Si” is an acceptable shortening of Simon, in my opinion.