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November 2

Have Your Cake and Eat It III

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:30 am

The Predicament of the Week from August 31, 1998

Readers will recall that Brad’s original predicament vaulted into Of the Week status the moment he recounted that the girl who wanted to hang out, hold hands, snuggle — and just be friends — went so far as to bake him a cake. (Thus serving up, for Brad, immense confusion, and for Breakup Girl, a veritable dessert tray of metaphors).A week later, the frosting thickened, and our man B. got in trouble for being nice-guy-shoulder/pastry-chef — not, say, Boyfriend — for the women he loved. And now, Brad is back, setting a BG record for number of P of the W appearances…and prompting a sugar-free response.

Dear Breakup Girl,

I really, really hate to keep bothering you. By now, though, you have realized that my life is nothing more than a soap opera — and not one of the easy-to-understand ones, either. No, my life has to be one of the most complicated soap operas around.

This time, it has nothing to do with Lynore or all those other girls that I’ve said anything about before. In fact, I still haven’t seen Lynore (that guy moved away, but she’s still living with his family and being antisocial, waiting for him to return). As for the other girls I have previously mentioned, I’ve not made any special efforts to contact them. I called a couple of them once or twice, but the conversations were filled mostly with silence. After hanging up the phone, I decided that if they REALLY want to talk to me, then they can call me themselves. Otherwise, I’m no longer a part of their lives, which is just fine with me.

Unfortunately for me, I have a lot of girls in my past, and one of them has come back to haunt me lately. No, she’s not the ex-girlfriend whose photograph I altered so that she had a huge, huge grin and enormous eyes like those of a surprised cartoon character. This girl is one that I had a huge crush on for almost three years. In fact, I had myself convinced that I was in LOVE with her for over a year of that time.

Why is this a problem? For many reasons: one, she is shallow, and that spawned everything else. She is attracted to hunky guys that have a good amount of money, look good on her arm, that “dress well” (translation: clothes that cost more for a shirt than I make in a day’s work) and drive nice cars. She refused to be seen in my 1988 car, and she’d never be seen in public with me. Her reasoning was that “people might think we’re dating.”

Somehow, I managed to hold that crush and finally I managed to confront her with it. She told me it would never happen between us, and she didn’t let me down gently. She tore me apart, demeaning me and bruising my ego greatly. After that, we drifted apart, with her calling me from time to time to ask for huge favors that I of course DID for her. (I never said I was intelligent.)

So about a month ago, she (let’s call her Rachel) waltzed back into my life and apologized for everything she had done. She even complimented me on my writing skills (and she has never, ever complimented me on ANYTHING ever before.) She asked me for forgiveness, and I gave it, knowing full well that we wouldn’t be anything more than friends. She told me that she had changed; the days of broken promises and shallowness were over. She actually went out in public with me, too. I thought everything was better and new and shiny and happy and WONDERFUL.

Then she broke a promise.

You see, we were supposed to see a movie, but she called me and told me that she was too tired to go. I accepted her excuse, after which she said “We’ll go another night. Now I think I’ll go call Dan and see if he wants to go do something.” Dan is the guy that she is smitten with. He is a hunk, he drives a nice nice nice car, and he has a nice amount of money. She frequently compares his personality to mine, and when pressed, she will admit that I make her feel better than he does. And yet, she would rather shove me aside and break a promise to me in order to do something with a hunky guy. You know, it wouldn’t have been so bad had she said “I WOULD RATHER DO SOMETHING WITH DAN, CAN WE MAKE THE MOVIE ANOTHER NIGHT?” But no, she said she needed sleep, and when I said we’d do it another night, she went out until roughly 3 AM with Dan. That little party took her two hours past the LATEST we would have been back from the movie.

Now she’s with him all the time, and when she’s not, she’s telling me how wonderful DAN is, how sweet DAN is, but oh why won’t DAN ask her out, what is she doing wrong and how can she correct it so that DAN will ask her out being the wonderful godlike guy that DAN is? In case I haven’t made it clear yet, she hasn’t changed very much at all since that day she tore me apart, if she even changed at all. I’m sick of it, seeing as this is how most girls treat me, and I’m not about to let Rachel get away with it AGAIN.

So I need you to tell me — what should I do here? MY instinct is to mess with her mind and play with her as she has played with me. I want to give her a taste of her own medicine. I ought to call her up, make a date, and then break it, saying “I’m too tired to go to a movie, but I think I’ll go and hang out with Katherine until dawn.” I’m thinking about not answering her phone messages, about letting her e-mails pile up, about distributing her e-mail address to mass-mailing services. What do you think? Am I overreacting? What should I DO, Breakup Girl?

— Brad, yet again.

Dear Brad,

First of all, you’re totally not bothering me. Second of all, you totally don’t hate to.

In some sort of twisted — that is, totally human — way, you LOVE to tell me how persecuted you are. And, as I’ve said before, venting rocks — as an end in itself. But if you are trying to get me to say, “BRAD YOU ARE SO RIGHT. YOU HAVE BEEN SO WRONGED. YOUR LIFE IS A TOTAL SOAP OPERA SO COMPLICATED THAT EVEN A SUPERHERO CAN HARDLY FOLLOW IT. YOU ARE THE INNOCENT VICTIM OF THESE HEINOUS HARPIES, NOT TO MENTION A WAY BETTER PERSON THAN DAN. HOORAY FOR GETTING TOUGH AND COOKING UP REVENGE PLOTS, NOT SNICKERDOODLES!” you are, unfortunately, out of luck.

This much I’ll give you: Rachel’s behavior, as you describe it, is terribly tacky. (What, riding in Dan’s car when she’s tired is more “restful?” Eeuuw.) Also, yeah, mad props on no cookies.

Wait, I take that back. You ARE giving her cookies. You did her favors after she was that mean to you? BG is all for rehab, forgiveness, etc. but still. You are like, “No! Bad dog! Get off the furniture! Here’s a liver treat!”

So. I don’t doubt that your life feels like The Bold and The Beautiful, but

(1) trust me, it is not “one of the most complicated soap operas around” here in the BG mailroom. (This is a good thing.)

(2) at this point, you are both the leading man and the one writing the script.

And here is the plot so far: you’ve been hanging around with girls who like you, but don’t LIKE-like you, one of whom is a bit of a wacko meanie. Which brings me to:

(3) you’re in reruns.

If you want to take this thing in a different direction, it’s time to ask yourself some tricky, icky questions (a lite version of what I told July 6’s P/W, with a side of Lewinsky). You are overreacting, and you’re overacting. SO: What, as they say, is my motivation? Why all the drama? Do I love punishment? If so, what’s up with that? Why would I prolong a conversation/relationship with someone not nice to me? Why would I give her new material? Why do I cling to women who are clearly not going to come through for me? Why do I not go for women who just might? And why do I love recounting all this to Breakup Girl with so much relish?”

And then: Shrug that bigass bitter “this is how most girls treat me” chocolate chip off your shoulder. As long as it’s sitting there, you will make sure that you continue to gather evidence to prove that you are right. So forget all those revenge deedlets; Rachel will feel/taste nothing. Just: QUIT HANGING OUT WITH HER. Don’t make a ceremony out of it: no notes, no rituals, no “Last Chance Lemon Squares.” Just quietly take your pleasure elsewhere.

Brad, if you want to write to me again, please do. You are so more than welcome. I like hearing from you; I believe in you. You’re never wasting my time, especially if you send cookies (not liver). I just want to make sure you’re not wasting yours.

Breakup Girl


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