Fast forward to two weeks later, and we were again gathered at Jane’s apartment for a get-together. I’d made Pioneer Woman’s fabulous apple dumplings, there were munchies and drinks to spare, and everyone was having a blast. I couldn’t help but notice that Meg was once again doing the anxious phone check.
“Hey Babe,” I said, handing her a dumpling. “What’s going on with the boyfriend?”
“Well… I haven’t heard from him since Thursday,” she admitted. “I’m really getting sick of him ignoring my texts or calls.”
“I don’t blame you,” I replied, leaving the door open.
“I mean, he’s only had one girlfriend, so maybe he doesn’t know how to be a good boyfriend? Maybe I need to be more clear with what I expect?” she asked hopefully.
“Listen. I don’t want to be harsh here, Meg. We are OLD. We’re old enough to know how to behave when in a relationship. Boyfriend should want to talk to you as frequently as you want to talk to him. If that’s not happening, something is wrong.”
“You’re right… We’re getting together tomorrow. I’m going to tell him what I expect, and if he can’t be that person, than we need to see other people,” she declared, a spark finally lighting up behind her eyes.
We spent the rest of the party laughing and playing games, and finally headed toward home after midnight. (That is a RECORD for Army Boy and I) Minutes later, I received a text from Jane.
“Meg is here, crying over Boyfriend.”
Oh crap. I’d feared it would come to that, especially with the addition of a couple of drinks.
“Do you need us to come down?” I sent back, thinking that a crisis of this level sometimes requires multiple sane, motherly viewpoints to resolve.
“No, We’re good… I’ll keep you posted,” came the reply a couple of minutes later.
Army Boy and I lay in bed, commiserating in our mutual worry for Meg. Nobody deserves to be played with, especially not now. As we all enter our mid to late 20s, the games should be out of the way and relationships should be played with honor and honesty. At least, in the ideal world in my head. I know that in real life things are rarely that simple. And I also know that my own years of experience, both in regular and online dating have honed me into the dangerous dating tool that I am today. I accept no excuses, take no crap, and will do my best to help a friend to that point as well. Only gently.
The next evening, I received a text from Meg.
“Hey Brooke… just wanted to let you know that Boyfriend broke up with me tonight. If that hot cousin of yours is still single, now’s the time to hook us up!”
I rushed to Nurture Mode right away, asking if she was ok (she wasn’t) and if she needed me (she was with Jane, fortunately). I also let her know that if she needed ANYTHING in the coming weeks, be it a shopping excursion or a movie date, I was her woman.
After we stopped talking, I sat on the couch and reminisced of my single days. I honestly wish that all women could have the time that I did, because I enjoyed it so much. The trick is getting past the hurt and loneliness that inevitably comes from being single in your 20s- the “what is wrong with me?! and the “what if…”- and embracing the fact that you have a little more time to discover what makes you tick.
I let Army Boy know what I was thinking and took it a step further.
“I want to send Meg a ‘Single Chicks Rock’ package,” I stated. “You know, some treats that she’d like, but also something to let her know that I know it sucks, and here are some things that helped me.”
“You’re kinda awesome,” he said, hugging me. I took that as permission to play Breakup Fairy, and the next day a package was on its way to Meg’s house.
Some of the treats are Meg-centric, but I also sent her copies of two books that helped me immensely in the years after college. Once I read the first, I sought out the other and it totally changed my view on dating, and the tricks men play. I know, you’re dying to know what they are…
“Oh, THAT?! I saw the movie, I don’t need it,” you’re saying.
Yes. You do. If you are dating, or planning ever to date again… Every woman should read these books. Are they harsh? Yes. Should you bend the rules sometimes? YES. But they are the common sense kicks in the teeth that we sometimes need when we’re at our lowest, while still reinforcing the fact that we are fabulous and wonderful. They’re good for a laugh, at the very least.
I certainly don’t mean to come across as preachy and overly self-aware, but I thought that receiving an unexpected treat would hopefully brighten Meg’s day. It was a gesture that I would have appreciated, and still being able to put myself in the place Meg and so many others are in right now, I’m not afraid to reach out and let them know that they’re hot. Waiting sucks. But while you’ve got friends and vibrators family, you’re going to be ok.