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August 17, 1998 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Breakup Girl e ritornata!

Mille grazie to everyone who conspired/helped to get me the R & R & R (Ricotta) I so very needed. I will say that I did leave a piece of my heart -- and all of my palate -- in Tuscany, but I also brought something back, and I'm not just talking about THE LITTLE SUEDE DRESS FROM SAN GIMIGNANO. Or the OCHRE JACKET FROM ROME. (Which will be difficult to coordinate with the cape, but I'll work it out.) It's this: you know how people come back from vaca and groan, "Ugh, it's like I never left"- ? Well, it is like I left. It is not like I was just beamed back to BGHQ to pick up where I left off, only to discover -- in a "Gasp, it wasn't a dream!" twist-ending moment -- a handful of olive pits in my pocket. (Did I mention that I ate -- more like drank -- olive oil pressed from the trees right outside the villa?) I do feel changed, amplified, reshuffled, shifted. Also, hungry. It is truly a gift when a vacation is wonderful enough to be at once otherwordly (was I really there?) and real (oh, yes). And specifically: Breakup Girl truly has returned with a miraculous sense of serenity, one that -- even in the face of the busy life of a superhero -- has outlasted any residual Chianti in my system. So again, thanks. And if you want a recommendation for a villa near Florence/Arezzo, email me. I'm serious.

See how much I really did, uh, vacate? A whole paragraph with no commentary whatsoever about relationships. Unless you count the thing I've got going with that dress.

Okay, we've got a lot of business to attend to this week (don't miss the shout-outs down at the bottom), so I'm going to keep this week's theme -- like many summer romances -- relatively brief. Yet satisfying.

Fall In/Out of Love

I don't mean to rush you; I know we've got a few weeks of summer left. But Entertainment Weekly just came out with its Fall Movie Preview issue, so I figured it was an apt time to anticipate the dramas that many of you are about to face. They will generally come in two varieties:
(1) Hot summer flingamagigs: can/should they weather the autmnal chill? Bottom line: let's say you were temporarily unable to have "sexual relations" (as defined in Breakup Girl Superior Court as "you know exactly what I mean" ); would you have anything to talk about? If not, well, you do need to talk. For more pointers, see Laurel Touby's wise words on page 250 of this month's Cosmo.

(2) Love U.: should high school sweethearts give it the new college try? Breakup Girl is not saying that all couples who are about to have campuses come between them should automatically give/break up. But here's a little higher education for you. Do not underestimate how much being in college consumes you. It is not just having your same life in a different place, only with fewer parents and more people in the bathroom. It is having a different life in a different place, with fewer parents and more people in the bathroom. No matter how pure and devoted your intentions, it will be really hard to toggle between your lives new and old -- especially if you are having an excellent time. And even if you're having trouble adjusting -- which, actually, most people do in some way -- pleeeeeease promise me you'll focus on how to improve your lot at school, not on how to cling harder to the person at the heart of your homesickness. Oh, and about the "we'll 'see other people' at school but still be 'together' when we're home" thing. Here's Breakup Girl at her most blunt: Nope. Doesn't work. Which, I know, is not going to stop most of you from trying it, "just to see." I understand; I won't be mad. And I will try to refrain from making an I-told-you-so link back to this column when you write to me at Thanksgiving.

Okay, that should serve as an introduction, if not a deterrent. I'll finesse and elaborate in my responses to the letters you're writing me right now about why your situation is "different." Also, these:



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