“I could liken you to a werewolf:” Break Up Rules to Live By.

By Britt Harvey

“Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key,” Fiona Apple sings in her latest album. The woman has made a whole living/divine career mining rubies out of shit hole relationships. If Fiona can reach a modicum of brevity and peace from a break up, so can you. Hence, my version of ‘Break Up Rules to Live By.’

Lessons for the broken and the not so broken-hearted. After several break ups I’d like to believe we’ve all devised a ‘system.’ That is, a certain amount of almost clinical steps to alleviate pain, induce happiness and cleanse ourselves of the alien spawn of a nasty break up. Forgive me; I’ve watched Aliens three times this past week. Several years of tears, burger platters, and unfortunately timed mixed tapes have led me to the following list.

1. Don’t play THAT song.  Don’t listen to your ‘I like someone’ playlist or whatever it is you made at the beginning of the relationship where you were irrepressibly optimistic in the way that dogs are when they eat a bunch of human food and then shit on the floor. Stay off popular radio. Try gospel or if you can, listen almost exclusively to Beyonce who is at once empowering and ultimately forgettable. Except for Halo, stay the fuck away from Halo.

2. Find that piece of crap bit of pop culture that makes you feel good/empowered/numbed for the immediate waking hours following a break up. This cannot be underestimated. Suggestions: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, The Wire (imagine Omar-ing the shit out of your situation).

3. Burn everything. Yes, even that iPad they got you. You will not see Apple’s technological brilliance, only your ex’s doughy mitts caressing the screen (insert, skeletal, calloused, or whichever searing adjective fits the need). Same goes for photos, social networking connections and lingerie. C’mon people. No one buys that silk lace teddy (thong) for themselves.  Oh really, you like looking at photos of you and your ex while stretched out in the one piece sparkled bodysuit they gave you?! Yeah, I didn’t think so.

4. Cry for about six straight hours then never again. Ever. Maybe a tasteful subway cry like once. But after that, nothing. Pretend you’ve got the emotions of a Russian gymnast before their final dismount. Nerves like an anvil.

5. Forget about shame or dignity. Leave it all on the table. This goes for break up conversations only. Cry, scream, let it all out then never call them again ever. Don’t drive by their house. Pretend they’ve been deployed to a distant country that has recently erupted in a violent civil war. This is how much you should never see or call them ever. Or at least for about three months until you’ve dismantled every annoying quirk about them. Or, you can be one of those people who has a friendly lunch the next week. But seriously people, let’s get it together.

6. Friends.  All the time, always. They are the best. If you are one of those people that ditched their friends when they got involved resolve to never do that again, ever. Woo them back with tea and promises of your undying love. If you’ve kept your friends close, gleefully fawn over them like they are a rare African violet. They are liquid gold, immeasurable in meaning.

7. WATCH KILL BILL. On repeat. Especially the part with that Pussy Wagon dude gets his head bashed in.

8. Pick the most embarrassing or worst thing about your ex and pretend they were forced to confess to it to Oprah in front of a live audience. Revel in their make believe emotional strife.

9. Don’t buy the ‘Break Up Tub’ I saw recently featured on the ‘Girls Night Out’ sheet at a Milestone’s restaurant. Don’t make a mockery of your personal pain by indulging the sexist marketing minds of mass consumerism. (Also, don’t worry about what an asshole people will think you are after uttering phrases like the last statement I made. This is a time for drama, for Streetcar Named Desire Blanche Dubois type shit. Break ups give you a free pass to will drama into existence for the immediate foreseeable future. Note: this privilege is time sensitive and relates to length of said relationship. Don’t be greedy, use it sparingly).

10. Eat everything that was ever made ever. But only for two days. Because after that time you risk smelling like a Cheeto forever and anyone who has ever woke up with a half-eaten Cheeto in their mouth knows this is not a good thing.

11. “Turns out, they’re crazy!” Learned this little gem from TheGaze’s Andrew Evans (okay, he got it from Aziz Ansari). He noted that all of life’s relationship inconsistencies were reduced to ‘bitches be crazy’ on Adrian Grenier’s star vehicle “Entourage.” You write your own story. Plus, it’s punchy and fun to end every sentence with…“Turns out he/she is crazy!” Sometimes it might be true which adds that little extra dramatic irony.

12. Lastly, and most importantly. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Take a bath, read a book, go for a walk, look at photos of cats eating cheeseburgers and for god’s sake turn your phone off. In no time you’ll emerge from the festering pile of shit like a fiery phoenix or a majestic were-person.  Also, don’t heed this advice if you don’t want to. You are your own special little snowflake so devise a system of your own and make it work. Stay gold and shiny and true my little ponies.

**UPDATE** DID I FORGET TO MENTION WINE? As Stephanie Tanner would say “How Rude!” God, she was such a pill. But how could I have forgotten the magical elixir of a truly transcendent bottle of red wine? (insert Whiskey, six pack etc). Now go forth, and libate.


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Categories: Features, Personal Essays


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One Comment on ““I could liken you to a werewolf:” Break Up Rules to Live By.”

  1. Nolan Harvey
    July 5, 2012 at 7:57 AM #

    My sis, you take my breath away, make me laugh (not the annoying chuckle to yourself but the head up to the sky cackling like a hyena on meth) but also spark my mind, sooth my soul. You are so talented, a true artist with words. Makes me feel rather inept sometimes…then I look outside my double doors at the garden, mountains, and Thai sunshine and realize I ended up getting a “real” job before you. ha.

    Love you lots!! skype soon ya bum get your internet paid
    dig into the kitty for that. you can’t tweet the shit outta yourself with wireless.

    Maybe I can try a hand at writing a piece about life here, western world/stereotypes, food, travel, wit. I would like to see if I still “got it.”

    no go eat cheese and drink wine my child

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