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June 22

Settling, schmettling

Filed under: books — posted by Breakup Girl @ 2:50 pm

In this weekend’s New York Times Book Review, we read one author’s argument that yes, ’tis better to have loved and lost.

In [the] most provocative and interesting chapters [of A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century], Nehring argues for the value of suffering, for the importance of failure. Our idea of a contented married ending is too cozy and tame for her. We yearn for what she calls “strenuously exhibitionistic happiness” — think of family photos on Facebook — but instead we should focus on the fullness and intensity of emotion. She writes of Margaret Fuller: “Fuller’s failures are several times more sumptuous than other folks’ successes. And perhaps that is something we need to admit about failure: It can well be more sumptuous than success. . . . Somewhere in our collective unconscious we know — even now — that to have failed is to have lived.”

Nehring sees in the grandeur of feeling a kind of heroism, even if the relationship doesn’t take conventional form or endure in the conventional way. For Nehring, one senses, true failure is to drift comfortably along in a dull relationship, to spend precious years of life in a marriage that is not exciting or satisfying, to live cautiously, responsibly. Is the strength of feeling redeemed in the blaze of passion even if it does not end happily? she asks. Is contentment too soft and modest a goal? /snip/

“With our cult of success,” Nehring writes, “we have all but obliterated the memory that in pain lies grandeur.” There is a romanticism here that could look, depending on where you stand, either pure or puerile, either bracing or silly, but it is, either way, an original view, one not generally taken and defended, one most of us could probably use a little more of. Nehring takes on our complaisance, our received ideas, our sloppy assumptions about our most important connections, and for that she deserves our admiration.

What do you think ?

Read more:


June 19

He’s toast

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:40 am

No one’s laughing on February 16, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I met this guy in my home town through a radio dating service. The quintessential blind date, but wait, here’s a bonus: he’s adorable, has his own business, has no children, no ex-wives, no psychological problems to speak of but … he has zero sense of humor. He is about as dry as a piece of wheat toast. I think I intimidate him because I got about an inch over him in the height department. And I have a strong personality. Okay, here comes the problem: I blew him off a couple of months ago because it was too difficult being witty all by myself. But get this: I get a call asking how I’ve been and all that — and that now he knows it’s me he wants to be with. And that he has had this soul-searching revelation, and he doesn’t want to grow old alone, blah, blah, blah. But he still hasn’t acquired any personality traits that I can see. What should I do? I mean he is terribly sweet, and a kind person, but just as dull as a board. Am I a shallow person? I mean the usual dregs that I fall for have me grabbing my side with hysterical laughter — and later clutching my heart trying to keep it from falling to pieces because they have dogged me out. Help me please — all my girlfriends think I’m crazy, and that I should lock him up and keep him to myself. What do you think? Am I crazy?

— Crazy in Camden



Aiding and A-bedding

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:33 am

Zen and the art of cheating, February 16, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I am currently single after three and a half long years (and proud of it dammit:). Well, I have a long time friend of ten years who just got married and has a newborn child. After flirting for all this time, we finally did the deed and slept together. It was so good that we just can’t seem to stop. My question is, should I be the mature one and say “hello! You’re married?” or should I just go eith the flow, I mean, I’m not the one cheating! Or am I?

— Friendly Luva

Dear Friendly,

“I’m not the one cheating!” Nice try, Luva. The “sound” of “one person cheating” is a concept far too Zen for Breakup Girl. If you’re so “friendly,” do no more deeds. Instead, help the new mom find someone to talk to about post-partum blues.

Breakup Girl


June 18

Thanks for nothing, “abstinence-only”

Filed under: issues,News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:55 am

When second-to-last we checked, teens were getting much better at using contraception. But now, as it turns out, they’re slacking. Yet they’re still having the same amount of sex. Problem.

From a Guttmacher Institute press release today: “After major improvements in teen contraceptive use in the 1990s and early 2000s, which led to significant declines in teen pregnancy, it is disheartening to see a reversal of such a positive trend,” says lead author John Santelli, M.D., chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Guttmacher Institute senior fellow. “Teens are still having sex, but it appears many are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.”

Why the decline? “The authors suggest that the recent decline in teen contraceptive use since 2003 could be the result of faltering HIV prevention efforts among youth, or of more than a decade of abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education that does not mention contraception unless it is to disparage its use and effectiveness.”

That’s just what we’ll continue to do about ab-only ed.


June 17

Elementary school musical

Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 12:04 pm

Glee + Lady Gaga = PS22! (With some seriously NSFS lyrics, but whatevs.)


June 16

Guy parts

Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:21 am

On the one hand, the whole guys-with-lady-parts brand of humor is, you know, not so fresh. On the other, neither are tampon ads featuring girls dressed in white riding horses. So these sneaky ads — which, yes, are from the Tampax people — seem pretty promising as viral marketers, and menstrual demystifiers to boot. Bonus: scrufftastic cutie!


June 15

A piece of work

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:19 am

The Predicament of the Week from February 16, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I met this guy a week ago on the elevator. He gave me his business card. I know from experience that today when a guy gives you his business card, this is actually a way of showing interest in you. So I waited a day and gave him a call under the pretense that I needed his service. Sure enough, he told me that he gave me his business card because when he saw me he was interested and this was a way to continue contact with him.

In any case, he suggested that we get together for lunch some time. When I talked to him on the phone he told me he had his own business and that he had diabetes (which I had reservations about). He suggested that we could have dinner either at his place or mine. (I never invite a guy I just met over to my place and I was sure not going over to his!) Or, he said “we could go out for dinner and then a movie.” So I said great, we’ll do a movie and dinner or vice versa.



Love ’em and leave ’em

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:13 am

Doing the math on February 16, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I have a serious problem. I can’t stay interested in a guy for more than three weeks. This has led to many problems. It also results in many heartbreaks, for the guys. I realize this isn’t healthy and I appreciate your advice.

— Kilroy Wasn’t Here

Dear Kilroy,

I’m doing a little guesswork here, but let me just state that relationship time equivalencies are as follows: 3 months calendar time = 3 weeks high school time. This, therefore, is normal.

Breakup Girl


June 12

Failing chemistry

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:07 am

Growing indifferent on February 16, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I have been dating this really stellar guy for three months. We have everything in common that you could possibly hope for, have a great time together, etc. etc. The problem is, I have no sparks for the man whatsoever, to the point where when I was on a recent one-week vacation, I didn’t think about him once. He’s really bitten hard by the love bug, and I think I am crazy for not feeling the same way. You think I should hold out and see if some luv develops, or should I break things off before I lead him on too much? I may be a romantic, but I would like to be with someone who makes my knees weak.

— Carrie in Chicago

Dear Carrie,

Funny how we want to be with someone who both supports us and makes our knees weak. Just an observation. Anyway, if, after three months, absence made the heart grow indifferent, well, there you go.

But remember, women are something like eight times more likely than men to sustain knee injuries. So take this as an ill-formed but nonetheless well-intentioned physiology metaphor: that weak-kneed feeling should be the bonus, chemistry, je ne sais quoi part of the relationship. By itself, it’s not enough to stand on.

Breakup Girl


June 11

Will you ever meet anyone as awesome as…you?

Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:27 am

An epidemic of narcissism is what may be keeping you single, according to the authors / psychologists cited in this piece at the Daily Beast. “Narcissism, even in small doses, has shifted courtship into a high-stakes relationship culture,” goes their argument. “Now that people think more highly of themselves, expectations of what a relationship should be like have skyrocketed into the realm of superlatives. Twentysomethings not only expect to waltz into high-level career positions right out of college, they also expect partners who have the moral fortitude of Nelson Mandela, the comedic timing of Stephen Colbert, the abs of Hugh Jackman, and the hair of Patrick Dempsey.”

But … don’t the grownups say every generation is self-absorbed? And shouldn’t we have [healthily] high expectations for lasting love? Don’t some young’uns just need to grow up a bit? That’s what they’re wondering over at the The Frisky, where Wendy Atterberry writes, “I suspect today’s youth, just like the generations before, will mature and become less self-involved over time. They’ll begin seeing potential mates in terms of not only how happy they make them feel, but how much better they are when they’re with them: better friends, better employees, better contributing members of society.”

Read ’em both. And tell us: what do you think, given that your opinion is of course the most insightful of all? 😉

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