A request came from a young reader I do not know. She is a student at ASU. She asks for breakup advice. It’s been a great while since my twenties but one tends to remember breakups that leave bruises.
The ultimate break up, the one where he’s dead, sucks beyond measure but has many of the same aspects as the everyday kind. Similarities include being really, really pissed off, eating an entire Starbucks Java Chip ice cream purchased at Walgreen’s on the way home from work and washing it down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. There’s lots of bitching to your girlfriends about him, panic over whether you will ever love or be loved again and then acceptance. I don’t know that there’s enough Java Chip for the permanent breakup. I know for certain there’s not enough wine but I will keep trying.
I believe my little friend is looking for commentary about the usual kind–the college and twenty something breakups. And here’s my best advice college girls. There is one thing you must remember, tucked into your head at all times, carried in your pocket, never to be forgotten. Young college guys are dickheads. Fact. There are no exceptions. A man will not catch up to your twenty something maturity until he is forty. Fact. Again, don’t argue with me. I’m old–I know everything.
This is true even of The Norwegian. Gasp, I know. When we married I was 22 and he was 30. He was selfish and immature for a long time. He turned into a great husband but at first–dickhead. He had to learn the basics like sharing, being nice and making the bed; kind of like kindergarten. It took lots of crying and threatening to leave before he decided growing up might be an option.
College boys are sluts. No one calls them sluts. They are sowing oats or being boys. If you behave in the same manner you will be branded a slut. It’s up to you whether you care. You know what I would say. Hone your skills and have fun. If your guy is reasonably attractive and can string a few words together, he’ll be a slut. It’s nature. You won’t be able to swing a dead cat and not hit someone he’s slept with. Take a girlfriend oath and remember that he’s the slut, not her. We don’t need to tear each other down more than we already do.
He will drink until he barfs outside your dorm door. He will do a Streetcar Named Desire drunken shout out across the quad when he’s been with his frat brothers, “Stella, Stella, Stella.” Put him in a cab not your bed. When he’s that drunk it won’t be worth your effort doll. You only want to give it up when he’s at his best. Otherwise, why bother? Fumbling is never fun. Neither is telling him it’s all right and it happens to everyone. Now what are you supposed to do? He’s asleep, secure in the fantasy that it’s okay and chicks don’t really care. Got it? Don’t let him in when he’s hammered. He needs a few more years before he’s seasoned enough to function well inebriated. Don’t spend your twenties being the teacher.
But, my little doll’s request was about the break up, not the prevention of such. It was going well but now it’s over. Perhaps he’s not a scoundrel–he is, you just won’t recognize it for a few years. Hopefully your are the dumper. I know you feel bad, a little. At least you’re supposed to pretend for his delicate ego and all. So wear your sad face but yank the band aid off fast dear one. And remember, most guys need to be hit in the face with a brick. Subtlety does not work. Straightforward and fast–use language he can understand.
If you are the dumped–darling I’m sorry. It’s never okay. Let me first say, he is a dog of the highest order. Hopefully the chick he left you for gives him something he has to cure by prescription and he secretly wishes to be back in your arms and your uninfected goodies. Eat all the ice cream you need. Go on a good bender where you ugly cry in public with your girlfriends and tell every lousy thing he ever did to the strangers at the next table. You may or may not barf in the bathroom sink of the club revealing to everyone you ate spaghetti. Curse the asshole and warn every girl you know he’s trouble. It won’t matter because eventually he will grow up, marry a nice girl and have a couple of kids. Unless he’s really a dick and then she will suffer his strip bar attendance and indifference. You’re glad now aren’t you?
Then put on some lipstick and prepare to kick ass and take names. How dare he walk away from you. You were the best thing that ever came near him. With your new haircut, polished nails, pearls and pumps, he regrets his decision the moment you sweep past. He forgot how good you smell. Remain solid in your resolve. Give your attention, just your attention, to other guys whenever you see him. Make him realize exactly what he gave up. Do not take him back. You know how to do this girlfriend. Smile. Laugh at their silliness. Rest your hand on a forearm. Lean in. Do you have on enough mascara? Perk up doll. It’ll get better.
You won’t like my best advice. Stop looking. Date for fun in your early years. Expect nothing. They have nothing to give. Protect your heart. Find an older man. No joke. Older men–men in their late, late twenties or early thirties are completely different from the boys. First off, they have perfected their mad skills. If they haven’t, back away girlfriend, back away. Older guys will leave you wondering why you wasted time with the beginners. They take you to dinner. They drive cars that don’t break down. And they are actually creeping closer to your maturity level. Generally speaking, about ten years will do the trick. You are ten years behind him–now you’re equal on the maturity scale. Boys your age? Pfft. Babies.
But my dear little reader, I will tell you this. There was a time you formed the perfect mate for yourself in your mind. Not some silly check list, but things that are truly important to you. You know what these are. Include them in your search. As one who lived the fairy tale, I can attest to its truth. There is a happily ever after. There are extraordinary marriages. There is forever love. I know it like I know how to breathe. Get ready to kiss a few frogs doll. Your prince is out there.