I would feel sorry for EXO fans, except the fans may be feeling so numb from the relentless departure pains that no one can feel a thing anymore. The long drawn out withdrawal of Chinese member Tao (Huang Zi Tao) from the boy band appears to have come to a definitive conclusion over the weekend as Tao’s recently established workshop in China posted a teaser poster and date for his upcoming solo album release. Media and fans alike are taking this movie as the nail on the Tao returning to EXO coffin as any, so now it’s onward for EXO as a 9-member group.
For the top K-pop idol group of the last two years, EXO has hemorrhaged members at a rate incredible to behold considering how popular they are and how quickly members left in succession. First came Kris (Wu Yi Fan), followed a few months later by Luhan, and now Tao makes it a trifecta of Chinese members leaving, though that still leaves now sole Chinese member Lay still a member of the group. I do find it amusing that the three young men broke up with EXO in different ways that lend itself to pretty apt analogies on the typical ways guys can skedaddle.
Both Kris and Luhan are doing exceptionally well on their solo entertainment careers in China but only time will tell if Tao finds the same reception. I’m entertained by how these three departures really epitomize different ways of breaking up, which are often seen in K-dramas and does happen in reality even in non-romantic ways of ending an affiliation.
Tao’s departure from EXO is like a boyfriend who breaks up by just not confirming anything while letting actions speak for itself. He stops being proactive with calls and hanging out, and his responses trickle down to nothing. But he uses excuses such as his dad won’t let him see you, or he’s hurt and tired and needs to rest, until finally he cuts off all contact completely. You think that means he’s broken up with you, but you totally don’t know for sure 100% and that sucks because you need closure. You see him posting stuff on FB that seems to show him not injured and having free time to hang out with others. Finally you are forced to admit it’s over when you get invited to his wedding where he’s marrying someone else, and you wonder why he didn’t have the decency to just say “Let’s break up” to your face from the get go.
Kris’s breakup is the guy who disappears for a week “to be alone” and then returns to show up at your door in the middle of the night with a very important thing to say which is he wants to break up and he has to say it at that very moment because it’s so important to him that he gets his freedom. If you refuse to break up just like that then he gets angry and tells everyone around that you’re a terrible girlfriend and it was awful being with you and he won’t stop until you set him free.
Luhan’s breakup is totally the “it’s not you, it’s me” method, where he feels terrible and really wish it didn’t have to come to this. He’s willing to calmly talk to you about it but he’s not going to change his mind. Everyone around you doesn’t hate him for breaking up with you because he’s so gosh darn cute and sweet, and breaking up is sometimes the best for both sides. It wasn’t meant to be forever but it was wonderful however long it lasted.