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January 2

You say you want a resolution

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:01 am


It’s that time. Time to make New Year’s Resolutions. Or, at least, to defensively justify not making New Year’s Resolutions.

“Me? Oh, no, I don’t make resolutions,” you tell the friend who’s writing a VRML-based application to track his 1999 progress toward the ideal body fat/muscle mass ratio. “I don’t think it’s right to force or cause with some sort of official pronouncement something as magical and mysterious and ‘just happens’ as Finding a Life Partner,” you say to … Breakup Mom. “Experts say that expecting instant results often leads to discouragement and feelings of failure,” you inform the friend who’s rejiggering her Quicken to automatically funnel 10% of her 1999 income into a new Roth IRA.

Well, you’re right. Experts do say that. According to Dr. Domeena Renshaw, a professor of psychiatry at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, 50 percent of American adults make New Year’s resolutions. Approximately 38 percent are still committed to change after seven days, but that number dwindles to less than 15 percent after six months.

Our resolve, it seems, is about as firm as the slush on the stoop. Why the thaw?

“A common mistake people make when they proclaim a resolution is to anticipate immediate gratification,” says Dr. Renshaw. “Individuals must recognize that change is slow and requires dedication.”

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. But I think I’ve come up with the real reason why New Year’s Resolutions are doomed from the start.

It’s all in the timing.

Well, sure. When are we supposed to come up with do-good, feel-good, be-good, eat-good, make-that-change vows for the next year? Right at the time of year when we’re subsisting on rum balls and whole milk with raw eggs, watching the salt erode our new Manolos, measuring love in square feet of wrapping paper, never getting around to writing that holiday form letter, and living on the lam from Diners’ Club bounty hunters.

Not, shall we say, a very empowered place to be when attempting to make life-changing resolutions.

So here’s what I think we should do: make New Year’s Resolutions in the fall — like, say, around the Jewish New Year, or around the autumnal equinox (which, before the Georgian calendar messed everyone up, was when the Assyrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians sang Auld Lang Syne). That’s when everyone’s actually feeling pretty jaunty, right? The weather’s no longer sweltering, apples make great snacks, new classes mean new crushes, we’re finally about to find out how on earth Mulder and Scully are going to get out of this one, and, everywhere you look, there are adorable little gourds and excellent sales on school supplies.

Now that’s a good time to make some serious plans.

So I’m off the hook for now. But it never hurts to plan ahead — so, while we’re on the subject, here’s how BG will pave the road to hell, come fall.

  • I resolve never to call a guy to tell him I’m not talking to him.
  • I resolve never to hook up with anyone whom I will later identify not by name, but by some other characteristic (eg “Renaissance Faire Man”).
  • I will go to the trouble of making risotto only for suitors who can distinguish it from “rice.”
  • I resolve that all gifts will reflect his taste, not my agenda, even though there’s a dope new DVD version of The Beauty Myth.
  • Resolved: I’m way too old to leave my contacts in shot glasses on someone’s speakers.
  • If I call a guy and he does not call me back, I resolve never, ever, EVER to wonder if I should have followedThe Rules.
  • God grant me the serenity to accept the fact that a decent latte will cost me $4.
  • I will recalibrate my standards. Note to self: “He’s … normal!” is a given, not a plus.
  • This will be the year that I use The Pill to control birth, not zits.

While I’m at it, here are some resolutions CERTAIN OTHER PEOPLE need to make: (more…)


November 14

I know I’m not pretty or anything

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:40 am

Why Not Me?Don’t go changin’ on August 31, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I am very shy. I know I’m not pretty or anything but I’m 16 and never had a boyfriend. I have low self-esteem and that is why I’ve been told I can’t get a boyfriend, and the guys I like never like me back — they always like the skinny show-all types. My friend who is pretty, all the guys stare at her. My question is how to attract the guy I am interested in without changing myself.

— Depressed

Dear Depressed,

Staring and liking are not the same. “Skinny show-all” and “self-esteem” aren’t either. But otherwise, you’re on the right track: don’t you dare change — or show — a thing. And no, don’t just “be yourself, blah blah blah” — be even more of yourself. Do the stuff you love; really really enjoy it; be good at it. Excellent boys will not stare; they will notice.

Breakup Girl


May 26

Draw yourself as a teen

Filed under: Comedy,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:37 am

Here’s me. (Or at least that — speaking of parents — is what I look like when I go home and instantly regress.) What about you?


February 16

The Butterfly Effect

Filed under: Advice,Psychology — posted by Mia @ 4:01 pm

Doree Shafrir at The New York Observer recently described, ruefully, the slacker boyfriend who totally got his act together — a little too late. “Maybe, I realized, I had seen him as someone who had potential but just needed a little tweaking,” she writes. “But it was sort of annoying that he managed to do all the tweaking after we’d broken up.”

Ah, the Butterfly Effect, as Shafrir calls it it: “One day he’s a pot-addled caterpillar barely hanging on to his barista job, begging off brunch because he’s only got $37 in his checking account, spending his nights ‘playing music’ (his band is going to start playing shows again really soon) and eating cheese fries, and then, six months after the breakup, he’s turned into a Monarch: lost 20 pounds, has a job as a graphic designer, his band is playing the Bowery Ballroom and he has a new girlfriend (tall, blond, wearing what appears to be the $282 Vanessa Bruno sweater you eyed longingly at Stuart & Wright) who, he casually mentions when you run into him at brunch, is the heiress to a paper clip fortune.”


June 3

Now at MSN.com: Why should I stay in shape if he won’t?

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 2:14 am

First we had “Call me when you’re skinny,” which we believe set a number-of-comments record here at BreakupGirl.net — and spawned “Skinny 2: The Thickening.”

Now, in your weekly installment of Ask Lynn , BG’s alter ego’s column at MSN.com (powered by Match.com), the buffet tables are turned.

Here, we meet “In Desperate Need of Answers,” who reports that as her boyfriend’s weight waxes, her attraction to him wanes. Related problem: seems that putting him on the bugging-him-to-diet diet isn’t working at all.

What should she do? Read IDNA’s letter here, along with Lynn’s generous helping of advice, and then come back to comment!


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