When I went through a devastating breakup from my long-term boyfriend, I expected my friends to humor my misery tolerantly. Anticipating endless evenings of red wine, revenge plans, and the occasional crank call, I was irked to find that my typically caustic friends had morphed into soulless Susie Sunshines, fonts of the kind of condescending self-help dictates I found both conventional and impossible to adhere to.
In my heartbroken state I yearned to do all the "wrong" things: exact brutal revenge, wallow in cynicism, and seek out meaningless shags. My concerned posse, on the other hand, suggested yoga, smiling from the inside, recording my feelings in a journal and going on platonic dates with young architects in Agnes B suits. Ignoring their advice, I chose the alternate route.
And I can now proudly affirm that I am now purged through bad behavior.
Without further ado, my rulebook for the self-destructive and newly single:
1. Drink a lot
Aside from lowering inhibitions (see number 2) and providing a few memorable evenings that don't end with you sobbing over old photographs, drinking can help with excessive talking. I discussed my heartbreak over cocktails so incessantly that, after a couple weeks, even I was utterly bored with it. Think of it as therapy with a hangover. In the appropriate setting, drugs could also take the edge off; if I still lived in Northern California I might have gone up to Humboldt and taken mushrooms while playing bongos with a dreadlocked man named Leaf.
2. Sleep with other guys
If you follow instruction number one, you will find yourself at bars surrounded by the very young architects that you should have been chastely nibbling on salmon with. This is a good thing. You are not ready for another failed relationship; you are ready for distracting, self-confidence-boosting, mindless sex. Why not? You know your ex is doing it. When I first broke up with my boyfriend, I thought I would never be able to sleep with someone else. I didn't—for about six days. And then I met Nicolo: Italian, hairless, and in possession of a conveniently speedy little Vespa. It's one thing for your maiden aunt to insist that there are "other fish in the sea." It's quite another to dive in, and without abandon. Don't be afraid of sharks.
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