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June 21, 1999 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


To commemorate yesterday's holiday honoring your personal founding father, allow me to re-run this letter from last year, which I pulled from my Don't Assume Father Doesn't Know What He's Talking About file:

Dear Breakup Girl,

I've been going out with the same guy for about nine months....including the time we weren't actually "going out," just messing around/while I was "cheating"on my long-distance love, and so much has happened since I met him that I don't know what to think or do or anything. I care deeply about him, I love him, blah blah blah...but my parents hate him and want me to dump him and have for a while now. I can't even talk to him on the phone without them turning it into a huge issue involving lectures and comparisons to various evil figures in history. My Dad insists he's seen a pattern in many men, and that my guy is in the early stages of what is likely to become an abusive relationship.

My guy is mean to me sometimes, but we've been getting along better lately, even though I sometimes want to kill him....see, I'm lost! He's so cute and I laughed my butt off at your comment, "I never want to see you again...unless you're wearing those jeans," because that is SO true about how I feel sometimes. I've broken up with him before, tried to other times, and he starts to cry and whine and make me feel awful. I hate that!

So, should I break up with him, how can I do it without being mean, and what the hell am I supposed to do since I still love him? And his clothes...I don't want to give them back! Please help!

-- Vera

Dear Vera,

Granted, parents are not always fully clued in. The proper use of "phat" and "def," for instance, is something they're not likely to master (and frankly, it's just as well).

But in your case, well, Breakup Girl hates to say it, but "your father is not being unreasonable." I mean, if he had said, "Young lady, you're not dating until you're 35!" then we'd have ourselves a problem (or, at least, a situation akin to Breakup Girl's, without the part where the father actually says it).

But look, you said yourself that this guy is "mean" to you. And "mean" even "sometimes" is never okay with Breakup Girl. He's mean to you and you're worried about being mean to him if/when you break up? Eeeuw. BG does not like the sound of that.

So don't dis your parents just because they're your parents. Talk to your dad (putting your hand over the receiver and yelling, "Da-ad! I'm on the PHONE!"does not count). Find out what he means. What are his concerns? What is this "pattern?" What does he mean, "abusive?" If you want to make a decision about your situation as an adult, then discuss it with your parents as an adult.

Oh, and if you do break up and he wants his clothes back, you need to return them. I don't care how "dope" they are, young lady.

Breakup Girl

P.S. People, don't think Breakup Girl doesn't notice euphemistic little tricks of notation. (see Vera, paragraph 1). Cheating and "cheating" are the same.



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