Ashley: You’re always a monster shrew.
Jen: Thank you.
Ashley: Yes, right, but do people share their break-up angst under some bizarre impression that sharing their suffering is noble? I mean, I think maybe it’s the WASP in you and the self-loathing asshole in me that thinks one should suffer in anguished secrecy.
Jen: Good God, yes. But I think there’s something to be said for this as a “making people think well of you after a break-up” strategy. Remember Anne Boleyn?
Ashley: The chick with the head thing?
Jen: Yes. After Heny VIII dumped her she lost her head. But SHE DIDN’T LOSE HER HEAD. She has this great speech right before she gets beheaded where she implores everyone in attendence to pray for the health of Henry, because he’s the King of England. That’s the kind of post-break-up move that actually makes people think you’re a victim, and means Thomas Wyatt spends the rest of his life writing poems about how awful Henry is for killing you.
Jen: If she’d been like, “Henry VIII is such a jerk, I really wish I’d married someone else” (Which Henry’s 5th wife, Katherine Howard did, right before she was beheaded) Thomas Wyatt would have been like “wow, I am glad I did not hit that more frequently.” Who now remembers Katherine Howard?
Ashley: I mean, if there’s a kind of noble public suffering, it’s certainly that. That is righteous. Looking down the guillotine with your dignity intact is basically the opposite of sitting at your laptop sobbing into a handful of tiramisu while documenting it for the internet.
Jennifer: YES. So, our beheading speeches, all picked out. Great.
Jennifer: Why shouldn’t people be more like Anne Boleyn, Ashley? I don’t understand. In public, the only way to retain any dignity is to say good things about your ex. Weirdly, you actually have a little more leeway when you’re in a relationship. You can be like “it’s complicated because he’s busy/my work schedule is crazy/ he is always fucking my dog” and maybe people will have advice. But when it’s over? There’s nothing to be potentially gained from sharing. There’s no repairing it anymore. It’s done. All you can do is try to retain your tattered dignity. I know it seems like when everything has fallen apart anyway you might as well just let yourself go but “when the fall is all there is, it matters a great deal.”
Ashley: The best method of preserving your dignity in a break-up is to say nothing, until–when asked–you remark, “He was a superlative lover, a loyal friend, an excellent companion in all manner of activities, but a woman can only tolerate so much dog-fucking, and thusly I bid him adieu.”
Jennifer: I think, minus the dog fucking part. You have to tell people about the dog fucking with your eyes. Alternatively just sigh and say “Lassie misses him even more than I do.” Okay, so that’s the dignified way to handle things.
Ashley: Yes. Suffer quietly.
Jen: What would be the potential upside to blogging it all?
Ashley: A book deal?
Jennifer: That seems purposeless if it means destroying your dignity for a wider audience. The WASP in me still says suffer quietly and drink until it escalates into an angry 2:00 in the morning screaming-match with someone. Anyone. A hobo, probably. What do tortured assholes do?
Ashley: We do that, too, we just do it without that overdeveloped upper-class ennui. Also: punching. Fucking punching anything. You suffer languidly like a Sofia Coppola movie.
Jennifer: Your punches are more beautiful than anything in Lost in Translation. For they lose nothing in translation.
Ashley: Way less self-indulgent, too. Miraculously. So. Is there a benefit? No.
Jennifer: So, instead of blogging it, drinking, punching. Good talk.