Listen up, Lady: THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY OR DO. THEY ARE ONLY TRYING TO HELP.
Oh. Wait. Okay, maybe that is the one wrong thing that someone can say after a break-up. Unless…well, actually I’m not entirely sure there are circumstances where you can pull that off with aplomb. Circumstances where you’re channeling a 1920’s character, maybe? Circumstances where your ex was actually employed to roll fortune cookies? And this was a source of shame for him?
To be fair, I guess I have some friends who could pull that off and be hilarious about it (Asian friends). And I certainly know people who would show up after a break-up with a “Microwave for One” book and I would laugh, because that would be funny. And useful!
If anyone wanted to pump ice cream into my stomach, well, awesome. Ice cream is delicious.
That is, if I told my close friends about my break-ups, which, as Ashley and I have already discussed, we don’t, really. This is what we say, in the form of a one act play:
Fade in. The Gloss Offices. All is shrouded in darkness.
Jen: Ashley, I have experienced a break-up and, accordingly, I am thirsty. Champagne for dinner?
Fade in. Dinner table at someone’s apartment, most likely a total stranger’s. Candles burning, real ‘Lady and the Tramp’-like. Candles burning everywhere.
Jen: [silent, methodical drinking]
Ashley: Paz de la Huerta is such a motherfucking whore. Fuck her fucking face.
Jen: [buries head in hands, weeps]
Ashley: I know. Paz de la Huerta makes me want to cry. And vomit, too.
Jen: [more convulsive weeping]
Ashley: [Paz de la Huerta impression, duck face]
Fade out to a picture of Paz de la Huerta.
I consider this first rate support. I don’t really know anyone who would say some of the things you’re apparently not supposed to say like “it’s his loss” or “you’re way too good for him” although those sound like perfectly appropriate things to say. I mean, if you can’t do a good duck face. (The key is to peel your lips way back, use your fingers if necessary).
But what matters isn’t what your friends say. Sure, they’re probably going to say the wrong thing. That’s because everything is the wrong thing. There is nothing anyone can say that will make you stop feeling the sadness and loss that accompanies a break-up. But they’re there. And you’re not exactly charming company at that moment, so it must be because they love you.