“Life is suffering,” or some other fortune cookie wisdom of that nature. When Buddha or some other scholarly big-shot came up with that axiom, I’d wager that they had just gotten dumped by their high school sweetheart. If hurting is celestial and divine, then getting your heart broken must be the epitome of human nature -the Everest of transcendence.
Well, you have just been gut shot. It happens to all of us. No matter your creed, race, gender or religion, getting knock-out onto the ground is a right of passage. It is the sort of continual loop that will forever haunt you until the grave. Yes, I know it’s bleak, but it’s true. The proverbial silver lining is that fact that you still perceive “it”. “It” being the truth that despite the hassle, the trouble, the dirty roll through the mud and the bleeding cuts, you’re more than willing to get back in the game and give that crazy roller-coaster another ride. It has its dips, its ups, its cliffhangers, its lulls in the action; but above all, its always exciting. This is true even when you’re stretching at a 100MPH, hands in the air, crying for your mama and knowing you’re about to get badly crushed.
It’s when you become jaded. When the pain has not only dulled but never quite got a groove on in the first place. When, after years of caring, your only reaction to a break-up is a swift “puff” (of the chest!) and a shrug of the shoulders. That day you’ll look back and slowly come to the realization that somewhere down the line, at some uncertain point in your life, at some crucial intersection, you failed to notice that you became an a@#hole.
If you’re reading this, I’m fairly certain that you’ve escaped that soul wrenching ending. You still have a heart. So it’s time to dust yourself off and, like the best masochist, get your gluttony-for-punishment game face on. You have already analyzed, pondered, washed and bathed in the miasma of culpability. Ben and Jerry. Suds. Troubling amounts of drinks and comfort food. They have already settled nicely on your rump and midsection. You have surpassed the initial shock, that powerful whammy, that usually comes in crashing waves of:
“You screwed up yet another relationship, champ. Really, what’s your compunction?”
It’s time for the horse, the saddle and the like. It’s a charter. No, a requirement. Its your patriotic duty. Time to go out and see the fish that your friends constantly tell you the ocean is brimming with.
If Hollywood has taught us anything it is that the only way to get through the monotony of everyday life, and the long road of being reinserted into the dating pool, is with a quick and lively cinematic montage. Something daring and very 80’s; preferably to the beat of “Eye of the tiger.” That, and after so many articles, I’m sick and tired of lists. (Okay there is a list coming, I promise.)
Close-up of your eyes; quick dutch angle on your alarm clock; “Beep,” Folley artist at work; a tight shot of the time. 6:00 A.M; Shower head; bath steaming; teeth brushed; laces tightening on your favorite running shoes; out the door you go… and dammit, you’re buck naked, except for a pair of Nikes. “Will somebody talk to the A.D? He’s supposed to track continuity errors!”
“Sorry, boss, it’s just that this doesn’t make much sense. Let’s stick to what we know.”
“Fudge… You mean?”
“Yup, let’s make a list.”
And creativity gets a kick to the curve.
Dynamite tips for getting back into the scene, and not lose your ca-ca in the process.
1. Know what you want
Are you looking for a long term deal? For the mother or father of your children? Or do you merely want some hanky-panky? Friends with benefits? Clear this out, before stepping out the hatchway.
2. Take a bath
Breakups can be devastating. Sometimes, after they’re over and you’re hyped to get back in the ring, you stare at yourself in the mirror only to find a pudgy Frodo looking back. Clean-up. Lose the spare tire. Clip your toenails. Get a haircut. Pamper yourself. Remember, you’re part of the human species not some wandering backdrop player from Middle Earth.
3. Keep an open mind
Not only will new experiences pop up, but – depending on how long you’ve been chastened to another – you’ll quickly come to the realization that much has changed. It’s now a weird wacky world out there -frightening, strange and oddly intriguing. Don’t let it overpower you. It can be overwhelming and intoxicating, but if you go with the flow it will give you a spine-tingling, rip-roaring, eye-popping french kiss.
4. Your baggage at home
Don’t talk about your ex. Acknowledge that person, but don’t let it capitalize the evening. It’s an outing of two, not some eerie menage-a trois, involving the ghost of relationships past. Keep your first expeditions as lighthearted as possible. Worry-free. You’re going out for a fun time not to the shrink’s office. The same goes for everything else that plagues you: parents, bosses, insecurities, childhood traumas, your strange fetishes. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time to open the closet on all your kinks and worrisome hang-ups.
5. Be yourself
Your partner will smell the fear… So try to be cool. Another fragrance you’ll both catch, mid-conversation, is the delicate aroma of bull. So, unless you’re Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, then don’t sell something that you’re not.
6. Must have and must not have
You’re getting a second chance here. Make a list of what’s essential in a new partner and what’s the sort of thing that will make you run for cover. Nothing is off limits.
And finally, protection… not only Trojans (but yes, those too!). Since you last went out there the wack-a-doddles have multiplied. Might I suggest Krav-Maga or Jujitsu? Maybe, if you’re lucky, your first hunting expedition will be at the gym and then everybody wins.