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July 19, 1999 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

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I just want to take a quick moment today to

Montel it Like it Is.

Why yes, that was BG (in civvies) delivering the post-game wrap-up on The Montel Williams Show last week. (What do you mean, we didn't tell you?) And let me just say for the record that the staff and host are/were nothing but lovely, dignified, and respectful, so I'm so not about to bite the hand that holds the mike to my mouth and start talking talk-show-trash trash. I just want to give myself a quick moment now to say One Big Thing That I Didn't Get to Say Then.

So. The topic was, basically, ultimatums. Four perfectly pleasant couples, together for at least three and up to, if I remember correctly, thirteen years. Not married. In all cases: She wanted A Commitment (a ring, whatnot) today or never; He wanted, well, not to have to deal with this on national television.

By the time my bit rolled around, some couples were engaged, some were definitely not. My job: the closure part, the "Now what?," the inspirational speech. Totally fine.

And thus also: totally not the time for me to pipe up with a downer.

So I'll haul it out right here. "Hey, you guys? One thing I'm wondering about is this. You say you're 'not sure if you can deal with that kind of commitment.' That marriage 'changes things.'

Um, guys?

YOU ALL HAVE CHILDREN. TOGETHER.

Last time I checked, children were a commitment. The lifelong kind. Like, the two-life-long kind. Three, even. And last time I checked, children change things. At least I hope they do.

Don't get me wrong. You all might be splendid parents. And if a couple chooses  -- together -- to have a kid out of wedlock because they agree -- together -- that neither believes in The Institution, that's their business.

Otherwise: eeuw.

Quit having children because you can. Quit having children because you can think of no better way to keep this guy around.

Not the least of the reasons why not: if that really worked, you wouldn't be on television.

Thank you."

Breakup Girl's civilian wardrobe by Ann Taylor, Cynthia Rowley, and Duane Reade.


PARAGRAPH OF SHAME: BG messed up last week. I incorrectly/carelessly/completely accidentally identified the hosts of the marriage-therapy conference ("Smart Marriages/Happy Families") as The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, when in fact, The Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education was behind the impressive event (attended by folks from 30 countries) -- and was the source of the observations and conclusions I mentioned. It's been fixed now, but I just wanted to say I'm really sorry and give the CMFCE its righteous props.


ONE MORE TAKE-A-MOMENT MOMENT: My thoughts are with the families Bessette and Kennedy.

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