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The Ex and the Pretty Boys

Last night, The Ex appeared on Instant Messenger. Although our long-standing policy of not acknowledging one another’s existence unless it involves public humiliation has not prevented me from removing her from my Instant Messenger buddy list, I just can’t seem to totally drop her from it. So, there she sits, at the very bottom. Maybe I should create a new category for ex-girlfriends whose screen names I have. Or maybe I should take her off altogether.

At any rate, I did what I generally do when people sign on: I checked her info. This is a sort of OCD tendency I have. The info rarely changes, but I still feel the compulsion to get info anyway. Check the profile, check the away message, etc. Normally, hers says nothing.

Last night, it said something. It had a link to a website. A website for a band. A band in which she apparently plays an instrument that she had never, during the course of our torrid five-month attempt at a relationship, expressed an interest in playing. All the other members of the band are men. They are all more attractive than me, which is really not as difficult a feat as one might initially think. They have better teeth, they have better hair, they have better skin, they have more tasteful attire. She’s in a band full of pretty-boys making a concerted effort to not be pretty. And they write better songs than I do.

I immediately leaped to the most obvious conclusion: she is sleeping with everyone else in the band. Logical, no? No, not logical. But it left me with the burning, unnecessary desire to win her back. It’s not because I actually want her back. It’s more that I don’t want her to be with any of these junior Calvin Klein thug motherfuckers.

It’d also be quite the ego boost if I managed to win her back from one of those guys. While I do realize that it’s not always a physical thing that attracts to people, and in my case, I’d say it’s definitely not, it would be nice to know that I can win a girl back based on the strength of my curmudgeonly personality and my endearing ability to point out every other human being’s shortcomings while largely ignoring or downplaying my own.

This is a bad idea, however. As if I didn’t realize it, it was pointed out to me by Lucy, who expounded, “You’re a fucking idiot.”

“Right,” I responded, fully aware.

And here’s where things got tricky. She said, “Remember when I always used to get back together with my ex-boyfriend?”

“Yeah,” I said. I remembered the 378,232 times they broke up and got back together. It made life fun. I started running underground bets on the length they would stay apart.

“How did that make you feel?” Lucy asked.

“Uh… Not that good,” I said, adequately summarizing my feelings. I had to wonder, though, what that line of questioning actually meant. I decided I was reading too much into it.

“Well, yeah, now you know how I feel,” she said. Was I not reading too much into it? Surely that was an indication that, being that we get so worked up about one another’s humiliating relationship groveling, there must be something deeper working its mojo between us on a subconscious level.


“You can’t go back to her,” she said determinedly. “She has a lot of problems. She needs to grow up. A lot. And you have no guarantee that she’s done that.” This was true, I supposed. When I explained the details of the relationship decline between The Ex and me, Lucy decided that I had done nothing specifically wrong. In fact, everything I said and did was right. She was the one who was wrong—The Ex, therefore, had to pay. In blood.

Lucy just thought, and managed to convince me, that The Ex was immature. She couldn’t handle things, partly because of a lack of experience with men, partly because she was not old or curmudgeonly like Lucy and me. It was bad all around, and me going back to her—or trying to—would be even worse.

“I guess she does,” I agreed, “but I still love her.” This was not an inaccurate statement.

“Yeah, well,” Lucy said, “you should try and stop that.” Echoing a similar sentiment I had expressed to her awhile ago when she was contemplating going back to her ex-boyfriend yet again.

“I know,” I muttered. “I guess I wasn’t really all that serious. I mean, maybe I should go to her show—”

“No, you shouldn’t,” Lucy said.

“But I feel like I should support her,” I said. “I mean, yeah, it’s sort of frustrating that, you know, her life has actually gone on without me, so in that sense I want to set fire to her house. But in the sense of not being crazy, I feel like I should go and let her know that I hope she does okay.”

“Oh, that’s a great idea,” Lucy said, voice rich with sarcasm. “And then, when she tells you she’s sleeping with the drummer, you can break down and cry in front of her and get down on your hands and knees and beg for her to take you back, because you’re so fucking supportive of her new life.”

“That’s the plan,” I thought of saying, but I shut up. Lucy was stressed for unrelated reasons, and she was yelling at me, which I deserved. I didn’t want to interrupt her and incur that wrath, too.

“You shouldn’t see her again, if you can help it,” Lucy said. “Ever. You shouldn’t be the guy to make any kind of move. She dumped you, and she did it very stupidly, so let her go. If she wants you back, she can come to you.”

Right. That’ll happen.

“You don’t need to support her,” she went on. “You’re not that guy anymore. It’s not your responsibility, and don’t pretend like it is because you think you want to get back together with you. You should just let her go.”

Yeah. I should, and I really haven’t. I mean, sure, I’ve moved on to other failed attempts at failed relationships. I’ve gotten wrapped up in Gina, who I’ve realized, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really as important to me as I’ve built her up to be. She’s a good friend, and I find her attractive, and there’s really nothing else to it. Not anymore, at least. This is mostly because I’m hung up on The Ex, who wants my heart on a plate and would like to eat my first born as dessert.

The Ex is not really the type of person I should hang myself up on. She’s a rusty meat-hook, to use the worst metaphor I’ve ever subjected my loyal fan to.

Yet, I am hung up on her. To a maddening extent. One could argue that I should go to her concert, because something will happen, and either it’ll get her out of my head or it’ll make things infinitely worse. I either get to move on or embed the rusty meat-hook further into my gangrenous back.

Then again, time heals all wounds, right? Eventually I’ll move on, and I’ll stop being in this emo funk, and then the two readers I have now will run away in droves, scouring the LiveJournal community for somebody whose life is as angst-ridden and pathetic as mine. And we don’t want that, do we?

What I’d like, in the fantasy world that I prefer over my actual life, is for some woman to just show up, like in a really shitty Nora Ephron movie, and make me forget about The Ex altogether. Drive that demon out of my subconscious and make me a forward-thinking individual commitment to the growth and development of the company. I mean—the relationship.

But, as we all know, that’s never going to happen. I can bury The Ex as far down as possible, but she’ll always be there, ruining my life.

One could argue (“one” being “Lucy”) that dating The Ex was the worst mistake of my life, but I don’t think so. Of course, things aren’t exactly peachy-keen, but I’d like to believe that they’ll get there.

I’m trying to get them there, anyway…

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