“Does anyone have any good spring breakup stories? I will also accept tales of abject sexual humiliation, provided they took place between the dates of March 20 and June 21.”
That’s a Facebook status from a wannabe-journalist ex-girlfriend of mine, which she posted some time ago. Now, as far as “investigative journalism” goes, I’d say this is up there with Deep Throat. This is how all the great writers through history have done it, right? Just opened up their window and shouted questions to anybody that would listen? I hear Hemmingway used to post ads in the local papers that just said, “Got Stories?” I mean, holy smokes. What is the best-case scenario for a response? “Oh, yes. I’ve never told anybody this and we haven’t spoken in years, but I feel safe telling you this in the privacy of the comments section: I once tried to fuck a pig, but he thought I was too dirty.” I laughed at the status, felt superior and made a sandwich.
Then, I imagine it was a few nights later, she was sitting there watching something on TLC ironically, when she remembers – THE ARTICLE THAT WILL WIN ME THE PULITZER IS DUE TOMORROW!! She scurries off to the kitchen to brew a strong cup of coffee and sits down with a legal pad and an ironic bright pink gel pen. “Abject sexual humiliation…” she wonders aloud. “Springtime…” Maybe she glances at a bookshelf and sees some old yearbooks
“Of course…” she says to herself, like a scientist on the precipice of discovering the cure for cancer. She rushes over to grab the books off the shelf and feels a new energy course through her veins. She is empowered. Suddenly, as though the words were emanating from deep within her soul, she exclaims in her Williamsburg kitchen: “Eureka! I can shit on a child!”
The article itself is a thing to behold. It’s Nora Ephron without the experience or style. It’s Sedaris without the talent and wit. It’s Maureen Dowd (boom, roasted). The premise of the article is that breakups always happen in spring, using our less-than-ideal split as its Gladwell-esque example. Let’s ignore for a second that spring is universally seen as the season in which people are looking for love and focus on her evidence for this silly idea.
My ex-girlfriend (who I will do the same service that she did me and not give her real name; we’ll call her D.J.) decided that her best “spring breakup story” was ours from my freshman year in high school. That’s right, the example she uses to form a theory that is ostensibly for adults focuses on a chubby fourteen-year-old child, who, during their relationship, packed his body so full of New York Style Garlic Bagel Chips from a vending machine that he shit his pants on the school bus. Her analysis of why a person ends an adult romantic relationship was based on a scared and intimidated little boy.
I’m not saying that I was perfect during our time “together” – I wore Birkenstocks with socks, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t awesome at brushing my teeth and I defecated in transit more than was acceptable — but I wasn’t one of the assholes that deserves to be the subject of snarky, pseudo-feminist blog posts. I was a little kid. D.J. was the first person I had ever kissed. There are awful men in the world who deserve to have things written about them, but doesn’t it cheapen the form a bit when you choose to pick on a fourteen year old from your past?
I get why you would want to. Believe me. It’s SO easy. All you need to do is fudge the truth a bit (we did not “fornicate on a racecar bed” — it was a regular bed with awesome Major League Baseball sheets), add in a dash of Jezebel bitterness and top it off with some big ole’ words from Wikipedia (eumelanin-deficient?) and then you’ve got yourself an Internet piece! Contrary to what you might be thinking right now, I didn’t sit down and write all this bullshit because I’m bitter. Not entirely at least. No, it was mostly that D.J. used our breakup as a dumb example of a dumb theory without giving the actual reason we broke up: she cheated on me. That’s right, the thing that “makes guys who previously wanted to have sex with [D.J.] just really, really not want to have sex with [her] anymore” was not the month of April as she so shrewdly (and might I add hilariously!) suggested but rather that she was busy getting railed by a skinny guy on the track team that wore sunglasses inside. In retrospect, D.J. might not have had the best taste in boys. I was a fat, smelly theater kid and Sunglasses had a fake British accent.
My point is: maybe not everything is worth publishing. I know that everybody wants to be the next Lena Dunham, but this was not an exploration of your early twenties angst, it was just horrible and unnecessary. The more of these there are, the less seriously everybody will take them. There are real, important stories in the world and D.J. is smart enough to tell them, but instead she spends her time picking on me and ironically dissecting inane cultural phenomena for Facebook likes.
One day D.J. will figure out what she is really angry about and will probably be a journalistic force to be reckoned with. Until then, please stop trying to impress the snarky older girls at the office by making fun of a defenseless boy on the Internet.