Mixing it up on June 15, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I seem to be riding the breakup wave — mildly okay with the whole thing one minute, wanting to do damage to myself the rest of the time. In an effort to try and feel better, I’ve been listening to all the music that might not make me feel better, but that makes me feel like someone else “knows my pain.” My dilemma is this: do I send my ex a mix tape of all the songs that express what I was never able to say? I think that 90 minutes of Ani, Jim Croce, Mary J. Blige, etc. would be a nice little purging. What do you think?
— Scab Picker, or Mix Master Mama?
Dear, well, Scab Picker,
Here’s the problem. 90 minutes of Ani, Jim, and Mary means at least three weeks of SP/MMM waiting by the phone/mailbox/computer for His Response. Which is not guaranteed to be satisfying, or, in fact, to come. And where does that get you? The term “loop” — as opposed to “fast forward” — springs to mind.
Look, here’s the famous story of my dear, dear friend A. When she got dumped, she made him a mix tape. And I quote: “But not just any mix tape – this one had to make him see the error of his ways and change his mind!” says Amy, 30. “I invested in several songs that he had said in passing that he liked, including one that he’d called ‘ours,’ and the ‘Be Like Mike’ song from Nike commercials. For that one, I had to called Nike’s ad agency, where I talked to a young woman who immediately mailed me a tape, murmuring, ‘Good luck.’ But I heard nothing from, so I upgraded to a mixvideotape. I was working for a film company at the time, and I stayed late for weeks editing together every breakup scene I could think of, from ‘Say Anything’ to ‘Postcards’ to ‘Apocalypse Now’ (well, that was just ‘the horror, the horror’). Still nothing. But the tape — and Breakup Girl will back me up — is a work of art.” That’s my point. You said the songs make you feel better — if they remind you that “someone else knows your pain,” then your work is done. Make your work of art; keep it for yourself.
P.S. Aren’t you the one who mentioned Rick Springfield in a piece of fan mail? Cause if you are, and this is about him, Breakup Girl is either worried or jealous.