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March 7

Revenge Strikes Back

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:18 am

Our recent series on revenge elicited quite a few insightful and supportive reader comments (see, when you shelve your plans for elaborate retaliation conspiracies, you have so much more time to share). A couple of highlights:

Dear Breakup Girl,

This is not so much a question as a response to your “perfect” revenge. Whenever I get mad at any guy in my life, I get all dolled up, go out with a group of friends, and flirt like hell any chance I get. Just getting all dressed up makes me feel a lot better about myself. It’s sort of like when you have a horrible fever and can’t leave your bed for days. When you finally do get to brush your teeth, shower, and wash your hair, you feel like a new person. The attention I get because I am being open and flirtatious (and dolled up) helps me get over the If-he-doesn’t-want-me-I-must-be-a-toad blues. And then I go home and sleep soundly. Alone. Keep giving us sensible advice that makes us see how silly we can all act.

— Yank in Brussels

Dear Breakup Girl,

Your entire column dedicated to revenge was nice, but I have one simple suggestion to add to the list of possibilities on how to get revenge on someone that has screwed you over. My ex-girlfriend cheated on me, lied to me about it, hurt me, lied some more, and generally did every nasty possible thing in the book to me. One year later, I was able to get over her, but the nagging desire to obtain revenge persisted. I simply installed¬†Kai’s Power Goo on my computer, pulled up a picture of her on my screen, and went to town. The finished result can be viewed at:¬†[BLACKED OUT BY BREAKUP GIRL CENSORS]. You cannot possibly believe how much Kai’s helped me….I now don’t care about her, and I have no further desire for revenge. Placing a vastly altered picture of her on the Internet was good enough for me….I didn’t even need to track her down and put dead squid in her car, put Magic Shell on her windshield, or spread horrible rumors about her. Sometimes revenge is simple…

— ND

BG responds: This — especially in contrast to your hypothetical alternatives, this is a pretty good example of what I like to call Victimless Revenge, of using the tools/technology at your disposal for Goo and not for evil. The distinction lies in (1) the fact that your work of art, while not exactly flattering to your ex, is not cruel or violent, and (2) my assumption that it was intended more or less for your eyes only. Had you specifically asked me to, say, link to it from breakupgirl.net, well, that would have been another story.

Dear Breakup Girl,

I just finished reading your last column on post-breakup revenge. I had always thought that the phrase “living well is the best revenge” was just a big cliche. But, like all the best cliches, it really is the truth. When my boyfriend and I broke up, we agreed to “stay friends. However, his idea of being friends apparently meant never talking to each other again! After four months of phone silence and the occasional awkward meeting on the street (Him: “We should get together some time”. Me: “OK, sure, give me a call.” Him: [more phone silence]), I got a drunk phone call from him at 2 AM. He told me he was a jerk, yadda yadda yadda. Then he asked me what I was doing with my life. Well, there was a lot to share! I told him I’d gotten a cat, was taking ballet, found a great friend in my downstairs neighbor, loved my new job, had checked out some cool concerts…what was up with him? Not much, he said, but he had been to a new restaurant that was walking distance from my apartment — I should check it out. Then I realized that he didn’t know I’d moved to an extremely cool new apartment, so I filled him in on that change, too.

Breakup Girl, it warmed the cockles of my little heart to hear him say (with a peevish note in his voice), “So you got a cat, you moved, is there anything else I should know…you got married, you have a kid, maybe?” You see, when we were together he always criticized me for not being adventurous enough. Maybe I just didn’t feel free to explore then. I had (of course) had the typical post-breakup fantasies of him seeing me with a fabulous new guy. But I had no idea how good it would feel when he saw me with the fabulous new me.

Living It

BG responds: Couldn’t have said/lived it better myself.

These responses to classic advice letters were originally posted June 1, 1998. To read more, see also the comments on each letter.


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