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June 1, 1998 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

From the Breakup Girl News Desk:

You are probably aware of the growing national effort to reduce the divorce rate: a movement toward "covenant marriages" and required premarital counseling, the John Gray for President campaign (Voters are from Venus), Hillary Clinton's patience, and so forth. Perhaps fearing the potential "copycat" effect of Macaulay Culkin's announced engagement, the powers that be are also sensing that they might need to start earlier. Hence, the latest: if Governor Lawton Chiles signs a pending bill into law, Florida will become the first state to require all 9th or 10th grade students to take instruction in marriage skills. That's right. Conflict resolution, listening techniques, carpool calculus, and so forth.

Breakup Girl has several thoughts about this turn of events.

  • I am assuming that this bill is the handiwork of the "liberal conspiracy." ("Well, if we can't get them to teach pre-marital sex ed...")
  • How will they motivate the students? In BG's personal and professional experience with teen-hood, "marriage" is the thing parents do expressly to have (i.e. embarrass) you.
  • Who wants their kid to show up in the middle of a good bicker and say, "I feel that you two are not making 'I' statements" -?! If anyone tries to shut this thing down, it will be the parents.
  • But if it does come to pass, I know one thing for sure: I hope you kids have been paying attention this season. It won't be long before


will go down on your permanent record.

Though as far as Breakup Girl is concerned, it already should. Note: I know I may be a little late with this theme this year, so do forgive me. If you've already had yours this year (or, in fact, if you haven't had a prom in years), you still need to pay attention. Consider it a reminder that (a) prom is a perfect laboratory for Breakup Girl-Approved Relationship Behavior, and (b) you still haven't sent copies of your photos to Aunt Bessie. Which, given the slinky little black sheath numbers you girls are wearing these days (unless, at the other extreme, they go Titanic), may not be a bad thing.

Speaking of dresses, let Breakup Girl say in her own defense that -- even during a time of great fashion unrest (for further research, rent Valley Girl or Breakin' II: Electric Boogaloo) -- her attire for all three proms was really rather lovely. Timeless, even. Enough so that, for example, I recycled the pink and white one into my "Shall We Dance?" costume in "The King and I" (I was "I"). Shout out to Breakup Mom, who, though not a morning person, marched me downtown at 8 AM three years in a row for the Filene's Basement One-Day-Only Prom Dress Event (drill for Bridal Event?).

Memories of my fashion triumph make up in part for my tattered ego: all three (three!) of my prom dates (including the King) are married (not to each other). All of which is to say: (1) unless you're forced to go with your cousin, behave as if your prom date is the person you'll be with forever. But (2) relax, they probably won't be. (Unless you're Rachel.)

A few class notes from Breakup Girl's Prom 101: Cumberbunds for Credit.

Ask nicely. No games. No third-party research (someone who's not smart enough to see through "Um, Chris doesn't know I'm asking you this, but, uh, if Chris asked you to the prom, would you go?" is not someone Chris should want to go to the prom with). No email!

What part of yes don't you understand? Once you accept, you are locked in. If Second Choice asks you first, say, "Oh, thank you so much. I'll get back to you by last period tomorrow." Suck it up and ask First Choice -- and then do what you have to do. Slightly harsh, but could be worse.

TUPPIE scum. If you're really planning to break up with someone, don't do the T.U.P. (Together Until Prom) thing. Arguably, s/he would prefer to hang with a good friend (say, Dawson) that night than spend "A Night to Remember" with someone who s/he will later find out was just going through the motions. Also, fewer photos to cut each other out of.




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