Mysteriously, she walks out of her little boutique shop off Bedford Avenue, behind dark sunglasses, her crow black hair straight, flowing over her pale white shoulders, locking the door behind her.
Catbird, the display window filled with bric-a-brac, is not quite open. It is 930am as I sit, almost daily, over at Verb Café in the window with my shitty little ‘mini’ laptop, composing another one of this little essays, chewing on my pen, and without fail, I will see this beauty strut out, like all great mysteries, turn, flicking her hair over her shoulder, disappearing back into the boutique shop.
I imagine who she is, what’s she’s like after a couple of drinks, how she laughs, other things…
And every time I see her I’m teased, yet again, into her wonderment. There are many beauties in this neighborhood, but something about the Catbird girl gets me every time.
Is it her pale porcelain skin always peeking out from her perpetual black attire?
Is it her velvet sheen of hair?
Her occasionally adorned purple heels?
Oh, wait, I know exactly what it is.
I just got dumped.
And anyone who has been victimized by the sting of a relationship ending, you know the state you are left resembles the town square in Chernobyl after the leak:
Ravaged, empty, and slightly reeking of nuclear waste.
I think even if I fell into a bush drunk I’d take the leaves bunched around me as a hug.
Weeks after a break up (or years sometimes), the human being on the receiving end of a Dear John letter is left completely insane.
I suddenly see another woman walk out of Catbird, different from our pale goddess. This one’s luscious hair is thick and her chocolate skin looks warm to the touch even from across the street. Then there’s the other employee with the hoop earrings? What about her and her leggy skirts?
Do they only high beauty pageant participants at Cat bird?
It’s happened. I’ve fallen into full desperate mode.
I flash back to high school, nervously clutching my books down the crowded halls, watching all the pretty girls arm in arm with varsity jacketed, handsome athletes. I seem to remember wanting to buy a boom box and a beige trench coat and yell up to these girls bedroom windows. That’s sounds ‘stalkery’. Well, fuck, it was charming in the 80’s.
I remember rooting for Duckie. But we all know what happened to that best dressed ‘wrong side of the tracks’ kid. Duckie’s heartthrob red-headed romance was thwarted by Blaine and his tweed coats.
What should I do, dear readers? How does one fill the void left by some tragic broken love? Should I finally join the ranks of OK Cupid (which one of you readers have a profile page I might see?) Should I now cruise Union Pool on Tuesday nights? Will I become like the legion of douche bag single men in this fair city, sleeping with anything that has a heartbeat and an XX chromosome? Is it time, finally, for blind dates or friend hook-ups? Do I dare be single, once again, in this whorish neighborhood, dodging intimacy and STD’s with alarming precision?
How deep does the rabbithole of ho’s go?
Shit. I’m too poor to be single.
Funny enough, just this week around the bars, I’ve heard rumors of breakups of friends, tragic arguments, men and women tired, finally, of each other’s bullshit so I know I’m not the only going through it.
So, in response to this post-summer romance, recently singled affliction, I decided to address some DO’s and DON’T’s of the broken-hearted, ways and means to somehow navigate the troubled seas of being dumped. This goes out to the dumpee in all of us.
And if you just dumped someone, I have a couple words for you: “Please just pick up the phone so we can talk! I’m sorry I keep leaving gifts on your stoop, but I really think you’re making a big mistake and no one will ever love you the way I do!”
Okay. Here’s the official Bartender Knows DO’s and DON’T’s to reacting to your broken heart.
DO eat as much as possible.
It’s true. Food is love. So stuff your face full of that kind of love and you’ll be feeling great in no time. You’ll also get fat, ensuring no one will sleep with you with the lights on. But a least you’ll have a full stomach and plenty of time to take your mind off of your broken heart while shopping for the new clothes your ‘new body’ requires.
DON’T fuck your ex before the recent ex.
Everyone will do this anyway, but there is nothing like debasing yourself with someone you already debased yourself with 17 months ago. And the worse thing is that the sex is always better with ex’s. Why this evil fact remains true, I will never know. But it is.
DO buy every Elliot Smith record.
What better spokesman for the broken-hearted then the guy who broke his own heart in half himself with an actual knife. Misery loves company, and Mr. Smith is always down to commiserate heartbreak, isolation, depression, and overall ennui any time, any place. Note: best place to enjoy Elliot Smith on a downward spiral: Your kitchen floor drinking cheap red wine by yourself at 4 in the morning).
DON’T sleep with anyone that is below your standards.
I understand your self-esteem right about now is a notch below David Foster Wallace, but to degrade yourself with someone who just will never get you makes the isolation even worse. I’ve been with girls who hated cinema, their book shelves practically empty, and voted Republican, and in the end, in post-coition, I laid there silently, knowing any of volley of conversation will be even more disappointing than my sexual performance.
DO attempt now, finally, to ‘enjoy New York’.
You know what I mean. Suddenly you’re at lectures at the Public Library, you’ve joined a cooking class, you’re seeing a personal trainer, and are now a card carrying member of the Green Party. Anything to take your mind off the heartbreak. Cause admit it, if you really were a happy person you’d be too busy going to lavish dinners and sleeping with the person that was making you happy. Lonely people have hobbies. Happy people are too busy fucking and eating.
DON’T join internet dating sites.
Seriously. It’s Fresh Direct for humans. Go out and meet people the old fashioned way: drunk at bars. Try as you might to say ‘nothing good ever comes from meeting people at bar’, but as your bartender, let me assure that always how it happens. For better or worse, the United Federation of Drunk Hook-Up’s is a time tested organization. Just remember how you got yourself in this place to begin with. Bar related? I thought so.
DO drink more. DON’T try to get to know someone. DO watch lots of 70’s-80’s era Woody Allen films. DON’T read anything by Nicholas Sparks. DO listen to your bartender.
And don’t worry about me. I’m sure next week you’ll be hearing me pine for the Amarcord girls a half block down the street.
DO read next week. DON’T watch any movie that has Jennifer Aniston in it.
Till next time!
YES, THE WASTELAND OF BROKEN HEARTS.
THE DUCKMAN RULES. LET'S TRY TO REMEMBER A TIME JON CRYER WAS ACTUALLY COOL.
BEST SCENE FROM THE BEST MOVIE ABOUT LOVE AND HEART BREAK. NAME THE FILM AND I'LL GIVE YOU A SHOUT OUT IN THE BLOG. OR I MAY TRY TO DATE YOU.