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December 20, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I recently (about a week ago) broke up with my boyfriend of nearly four years. He didn't cheat on me. He wasn't cruel to me. He didn't try to change me. In fact, he was a great guy -- smart, funny, a talented musician from the age of five. However, when I was with him, I didn't feel what I should have felt -- happy. I didn't miss him. Now that he's gone, I do miss him and the deep friendship we had for those four years. So, my question is: should I try to be friends with him? Because I do want to send him and his family a Christmas card. Or should I not do anything because when I broke up with him, he started to cry so he might become even more upset if I do try to contact him?


Dear Jessica,

Let me assure you that I completely understand the urge to send up this white flag of a Christmas card. You want to show that you miss him and his, that you care, that the Grinch wants to return an itty bit of what she ran off with.

But I'm wondering if, after only a couple of weeks, 'tisn't quite yet the season for good will toward men. He might receive your peace-on-earth offering and think, "Oh, how lovely and gracious of her." Or he might think, "WHO THE HELL DOES SHE THINK SHE IS, SENDING A CARD AS IF EVERYTHING IS 'OKAY!?!?!?'"

Not to mention: what are you actually planning to write? Unless you want to give the gift of false cheer and grinding irony, you can't just say "Fa la la!" and sign your name with a big heart over the "i." And you can't just fold in your regular laser-printed mass-mail update. Tepid medium: you'll wind up saying something like, "I just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you." To which he will likely respond, "WELL, FA DE LA DE DAH. THANKS A FREAKING LOT."

So. No matter how earnest and sincere your intentions, this missive could -- at this time -- be construed as reindeer mind games. Let those raw feelings roast a bit before you open fire; wait 'til the frost isn't nipping quite so close at your heels. Rein in the urge for at least, oh, twelve days. What, you think my cards are going to be on time?

Breakup Girl



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