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February 2, 1998 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Only 7 Shopping Days Left

Shopping for a gift, shopping for a date: whichever applies. You know what I'm talking about. Unless you think I'm talking about Breakup Girl's birthday, in which case the shopping day count is: 1.

Anyway, you-know-what's Day is fast approaching Christmas in terms of hype, commercialism, and metric tons of red felt items bought and sold on the open market. (Note: similarities may also be drawn to Halloween and its increasingly narrow focus on dressing up and receiving candy from people you don't really know.) This crass consumerism comes wih a backlash: we yearn for "the true meaning of Christmas" in days long gone. You know, back when a child's face lit up at the sight of an orange in his stocking, and when love made George Bailey the richest man in town.

Likewise, who among us does not wax nostalgic for Valentine's Day the way it used to be? You know, back when saints-to-be were beheaded for performing marriages, and when -- as part of V-Day's precursor, the fertility festival of Lupercalia -- Romans sacrificed goats and dogs and ran through the streets whipping women with their skins.

This seasonal spirit of reclaiming a simpler, true-meaning past may help explain a recent mini-trend in letters to Breakup Girl, one that was spotted by the sharp eyes of BG's intern. (Note to independent counsel: Since Breakup Girl currently serves as her own inner intern, she did not receive any sort of "reward" for this job well done.) That's why this week is:

Old Flame Week.

These days, seems like everyone's writing to ask Breakup Girl about the advisability of a "do-over" with someone from their fairly distant past. Now, I think I see why. Valentine's Day is a time of reckoning (as in, Breakup Mom to Breakup Dad: "Reckon we'll ever have grandchildren?"), of settling old accounts, of opening new ones in Switzerland to cover the chocolate bill. But when, in your Life-at-a-Glance, February 14th seems to be blank for years to come, of course it's tempting to start flipping back those pages.

But is it a good idea? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Here's the deal.



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