It was the first date and he had just asked me how I dealt with my exes.
“I mean, you’re still friends with them, right?” He wondered and I looked at him, brow raised.
“No.” I quickly replied. “I don’t like being friends with my ex. Once we’re done, we’re done. Nothing more for me to say to them.”
“Well,” He began, dragging out the L. “I hope you wouldn’t do that to me. You wouldn’t, would you?”
“Of course not.” I lied, hoping it would never come to us breaking up. I wasn’t going to tell a co-worker-turned-date how I would really treat him because he wasn’t really an exception. Ever since I was twelve, I’ve held that conviction and it wasn’t going to change for a dumb guy like him. But I was quickly proven wrong. I had overlooked one minor detail that hadn’t been in the equation before.
I worked with this guy. Every day. All day.
So once he called it quits and asked to be “just friends” (can you ever really be just friends?) I had to prepare myself for what would be another Monday from Hell. But I survived that day (and am continuing to survive) because just like the other boys I broke up with, I cut him off, but in a different way:
1. I prayed.
I don’t usually pray about a guy because I find it unnecessary. But with this guy and his callous fuck-boy attitude, (ex. “Don’t want you to hate me or something lol” after he broke up with me. I already hated him because he broke up with me over text.) I had to pray to the One so that when I went to work, I wouldn’t behead him like an angry Islamic militant. If you feel the urge to murder or otherwise harm anyone, pray to something, even if it’s the cat poster in your cubicle or the picture of your mother at her 60th birthday party. If you don’t pray, at least talk to and convince yourself that even if orange is the new black, you will never look good in it.
2. Make sure you avoid him for the first day back.
I was not afforded this luxury because we both work with children and as you know, children are very… everywhere. We ran into each other a lot and he even came to my room often, so I couldn’t actively avoid him. But if you can, immerse yourself in work until you’re ready to face him. What I did was blasted Kiss-Off songs the entire drive to work so I could feel confident enough; which brings me to my third point:
3. If you’re going to listen to music, don’t pour salt in the wound.
I’m all for musical therapy. But if you’re going to play a playlist, make yourself feel better by playing P!nk or Katy Perry or even Ariana Grande. Taylor Swift counts as well. These artists have been through some pretty tough times and can make you feel as if you are one with their lyrics. You’ll feel better that someone understands you (Especially Tay-Tay and Ariana; they’ve dated men in their field of work and the awkward is awkward-er when you’re both rich and famous and single) and you’ll hum the song lyrics all the way to your desk, which gives you a pep in your step.
4. Lastly, don’t let him get to you. Ever.
My mother always told me to never let them “see me sweat”. This fuck-boy – on our first day back to work – flirted with everything that had two legs, a vagina and didn’t have my name. I ignored his show of masculine prowess and went about my day, talking with the other guys at work like I normally would and doing what I was assigned to do. I barely had any contact with him but when I did, he was a total ass.
But I didn’t let him see me sweat because I knew if he saw me sweat, he would call me out on it and label me as a “crazy-ex” (which he did to all of his other exes when they blew up at him because he pushed their buttons). I also didn’t tell all the girls at my job about the encounters. The only people who knew didn’t work there. He, ultimately, looked very foolish and was exposed for who he was eventually. I never said a wayward word about him to anyone and because of that, I won the game. He now thinks we’re cool, which is funny to me, because we’ll never be the same. But it’s all about perception, isn’t it?
Ladies, this is how you win the game of “My-Ex-Works-With-Me”. Luckily, I’ll be given a new job soon, but until then, as I pass by his workstation, I smile and wave.
Because if you smile and wave, he can’t say a word about you.
Those Penguins of Madagascar got something right.