Dear Break-Up Gifts

6 Dec

Dear Break-Up Gifts,

It’s that time of year when the Internet makes lists of things for you to give to someone you know very well (right? I hope? I mean, if you’re letting them touch you on a consistent basis?)  and who the Internet has never met. The idea of this makes no sense— I mean, sure, your boyfriend might be exactly like the article author’s boyfriend, but I’m going to say chances are slim. And that if the similarities are too exact, you might want to look up the author’s FB profile and see if her boyfriend IS your boyfriend.

So instead of creating my own list of things you might give, I’m going to engage in that time-old tradition of ripping apart what someone else has said.

Jezebel has posted an article titled “Gifts for Someone You’re Planning to Dump.” OUCH.

Let me say this: the premise of the article rests on the assumption that dumping someone just before the holidays is worse than stringing them along for an extra month, dragging them to all your family functions, having them happily introduce you to grandma’s secret fudge recipe (and to grandma, possibly on her last Christmas; how awkward will that photo shoot be?), buying them a gift strategically chosen with said break-up in mind, and then leaving their frozen ass to thaw out on its own in January.

Morality is SO HARD, you guys!

Anyhoodle. The list includes a series of things that are great for mourning break-ups, including headphones, a quilt, boozy accessories, and food. Ok, whatever.

And then it includes a few things to get your ex started on a hobby: a plant or a cookbook. Let’s discuss.

My opening argument: WTF.

Who wants their new hobby to be GIVEN to them by their ex? How condescending is it to be all, “Hey babe, you’re going to need something to fill your empty, lonely, terrible hours with once I’m gone, so….here’s a thing….every time you look at it you’ll be reminded of me….just try to ignore that.”

So of course now I’m thinking about the love fern in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days— remember that? Kate Hudson, in her role as obnoxious girlfriend, gives Matthew McConaughey a plant and tells him it’s their love fern and they have to keep it alive as a symbol of their relationship. He lets it die, of course, and then she fake-cries, and then at the end of the movie it’s on the back of his motorcycle when he chases her down….

And people say rom-coms give us unrealistic expectations for relationships.

Or, alternatively, there’s this story: my sister’s ex-boyfriend gave her an orchid (when they were still together). After they broke up, she did what any sensible person would do: she stopped watering it.

Look, guys, it wasn’t a puppy, it was a plant, and I’m not a mind-reader, but I’m guessing she didn’t feel like looking at it every day and it’s hard to wrap your mind around throwing something out that’s still alive. Passive resistance is okay once you break-up. In fact, it’s sort of the name of the game, no? I would guess a lot of us can’t quite throw out things our exes gave us, but we can hide them / accidentally knock them over / treat them badly / lose them. This is why there’s so much talk about protecting the kids when people go through a divorce. OH GOD I JUST SAID THAT. WATER YOUR BABIES, GUYS.

But my sister’s roommate was a devoted plant caregiver and he kept watering it. That thing lived forever. Orchids are super delicate, you guys, and that plant would not die. I think she convinced the roommate to take it with him when he moved out two years later.

The only thing worse than giving someone you’re planning to break up with a plant is giving someone with cancer a dog:

PLEASE DON’T COMBINE THESE STORIES AND GIVE SOMEONE YOU’RE BREAKING UP WITH A DOG. OH MY GOD. That’s like handing them a stack of cuddly, warm, peeing bills that will come due right around the time you flaunt your new girlfriend in their face on FB.


PS. This is also my sister who I had the following conversation with:

Her: I don’t understand why people get engaged during the holidays.

Me: Yeah, I did the opposite and had a holiday break-up.

Her: No, you didn’t.

Me: What?

Her: It was Thanksgiving. Doesn’t count.

Me: You’re not going to give me this one?

Her: No. You can call it a Thanksgiving break-up if you want.

Me: Really? You’re really not going to just let me have this?

Her: No.


2 Responses to “Dear Break-Up Gifts”

  1. aaronabubo 6 December 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I’m gonna have to side with your sister. Thanksgiving is nice and all, but its not a holiday.

    Also, water you babies.


  1. Dear Facebook Friends and Not-Friends (Facebook is a Goldfish Bowl) « Dear Mr. Postman - 2 May 2012

    […] Kundera says, “…metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with.” Like the love ferns. Or the cat who got his tail ran over by a car and had to have it amputated and the fact that he […]

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