Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just F-ING READ THIS #2: How To Ruin Your Ex's Wedding Day AND Opinion of You Without Leaving Your Laptop

Is anyone else entertained by the bleeding entrails of another human being's emotional dignity? 

I am.

Well. I mean, my own bleeding entrails aren't funny. To me. But they should be to, like, other people.  Otherwise what would the point be? When I make a stiletto-ed, snot-dripping gazelle run down 7th Avenue at 3am, wailing like a menstrual raptor during hormone therapy while being chased by a lover driven to such madness by my estrogenic meltdown he can't figure out whether to offer consolation or knock me unconscious/jam me in a cab/pay the driver to drop my body somewhere in the Palisades, it isn't funny to me. At least at that moment. But I draw comfort once the dust settles that someone who bore witness to my public breakdown might have been able to turn to their drunk friend with a chuckle and say, "Did you just see that shit?"

ASIDE: I believe that no one does visual representations of "bleeding entrails of another human being's emotional dignity" better than Kiki Smith. Just look at how belligerent her art is.

I mean OH MY GOD buy a journal already.

Seriously. Kiki Smith. Google her. ANYWAY.

Point is, Politics Daily "Legal Analyst" Andrew Cohen may have allowed his own break-up pathos to become one of the most entertaining pieces of Loss of Emotional Dignity Pornography the interwebs have had in...well, say days, with a piece that went up a few days ago.

BACKSTORY: On the eve of his former love's nuptials to another man, Cohen "gifted" his ex with the traditional wedding present of a Batshit Backhanded Compliment Meltdown Column, appropriately published in a political web magazine. (Also, someone paid him to do this. Which means my diary must be worth at least $0.50 a word, or around $7000 dollars.) 

Here's Cohen's original post:
The great love of my life marries today and I am not the groom. I had my chance, a few years ago, but did not realize until too late how fleeting my moment with her was meant to be. Whether it was my fault or hers, and, let's face it, it was probably mine, I will wonder always about the life I might have had with the most loving and loveable woman I have ever known. Sometimes, I finally now understand, love, even crazy love, is not enough. Sometimes, as the romance novelists know, timing is everything.

But today is not a day for remorse. It is not a day for lost causes. Today is a day for celebration. The woman I once promised to keep happy 
is happy. She tells me she is marrying a wonderful man, with a good heart, whom she believes I would have liked had we met in different circumstances. She lives where she wants to live. She has selected her life's path. All that is left for me to do is to wish her well and to hope that she has made the right choice; that she continues to find in him what she did not find in me. And I am sure he considers himself today the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

The present I humbly send her today is this column; this public note, this irrevocable display of affection and support and gratitude; this worldly absolution from any guilt or sadness she felt between the time she said no to me and the time she said yes to him. No one ought to have to carry that with them into a marriage. I showered her with as much love as I could muster when we were together. I still love her and always will. So I am only too happy to offer my toast to her now, one more time, before she takes her vows.

I want to thank her, mostly, for rescuing me from hopelessness. When we met, back in the spring of 2005, I was nearly 40 and had been dating off and on for two years following an unexpected divorce. I had lost faith in relationships. I had given up on love. She arrived, unexpectedly, and showed me what was possible. She raised me up from the emotional dead. She drew out of me the 
poison of divorce and betrayal. Eleven years younger but already more mature than me, she was dazzling, brilliant, funny, and sweet; she both gave and taught me patience and devotion and sacrifice. No woman before or since ever made me feel as desired, needed, beloved, appreciated as she did. No one has yet made me want her more. Some men live their whole lives without this kind of love. At least I had it for one brief, shining moment.

I want to thank her for being so delightful with my son, who talks about her still, and to my parents, who couldn't believe their son's good fortune to have landed such a sweetheart. Until almost literally his dying day, my dad would ask me about her. Near the end, almost exactly two years ago, I did not have the heart to tell him that we had broken up. It gives me peace figuring that he died thinking she'd be in my life when he was gone. And in a way I suppose she is. Rarely a day goes by when something in my life -- the law, journalism, horses, celebrity gossip -- doesn't make me think of her or what she'd think.

I want to thank her for-- it's now such a cliché that I'm almost embarrassed to write it -- making me want to be a better man. She really did. It happens. She made me less judgmental and more open to new ideas. She gave me a confidence I had never felt before. She gave me incentive to reach out professionally into areas I had not yet gone. I became more productive and back involved in the world. And, most important, I learned how to respond with love when so much love was offered to me. I learned how to trust but also show it. And in some way, virtually every friend, family member and romance in my life since has benefited from the gifts of grace she gave so willingly to me.

I want to thank her for making me laugh, at her and myself, and for making me swoon whenever she walked into a room. I want to thank her for the advice she gave me, and for the soothing tone of her voice during times of trouble. I want to thank her for completely changing my outlook on life. Before I met her, as a single father, I never would have considered having another child. Although it took more time than it should have, I came to realize through her love and devotion that there would be nothing more I would rather do in the world than have a child with her. How many poor souls go their whole lives without the heart-string pull of such emotions?

I want to thank her for giving my life's dream contours and a calculus. I want to live on a farm one day, a farm filled with horses and wireless connections where I can write. And now, thanks to her, I know exactly what I want and need in a partner who might just want to get there, too. That's just another gift she gave me; the gift of knowing what is possible in a relationship; of refusing to settle for mediocrity where it counts, and of taking the chance when something inside tells you it could be love. I sound like a sap. I know. But it's no less true. No matter what my romantic future holds, I know there will be no retreat from the standards she has set. Like the song says, surely someone will one day dare to stand where she stood. I can't wait.

On her wedding day, I want to thank her for all those times she stuck up for me -- with her friends, with her family, with her work colleagues. It could not have been easy, explaining to all those cooler heads, why she was so devoted to an "old guy" who lived so far away. Yet she did it, even after she had decided that she would not throw down her lot with me. That's the sort of character I'd like to instill in my son. It's the sort that we think is all around us but actually is rare. It is courage and self-confidence and the ability to see right from wrong. She displayed it every day, right down to the end. Ours was a romance without rancor; a love affair that ended in peace, not war.

I want to thank her for being such an inspiration. She did not give in or sell out or become one of those poor women of a certain age in 
New York who have put their careers ahead of their lives. When we met, she was living in New York but was not of New York; transplanted from the West Coast, she had not allowed herself to be seduced entirely by the City's charms. She took from Manhattan, like so many other beautiful women do, but she never gave to it her heart and soul. She was always rooted even among the rootless of her age and time. She knew she would one day leave the City, and she did, on her own terms. I admire her for that. I respect her for that. And I love her for it.

It wasn't too long after we met that I began imagining what our wedding day would be like. My second, her first, I nonetheless pictured her not taking it too seriously, laughing off the little crises that always pop up. I pictured her stunning in her dress and with that smile that would melt me. I pictured her having a vodka and soda to ease her nerves. I pictured us laughing a lot. I pictured myself at the end of the aisle. It was not to be. I've known that for years. But that doesn't make the love any less real.

So at last my wedding toast today is sincere: I wish the deepest and most profound love of my life a 
happy life, a good life, one in which she gives to and gets from the loved ones in her world the hope and the passion and the comfort and the support she always and so magically gave to me.

Wow. Good work Andy. This is pure poetry. I mean it. Like a Nicholas Sparks letter. If that letter had been covered in razor blades and the envelope filled with Anthrax. 

But even more enjoyable than Cohen's original column are the pieces it's inspiring in response, which you should also read. Enjoy. Highlights:

* Amanda Hess's breakdown of the letter and its babbling interior monologue at The Sexist, which you can find here: THE GIFT OF CREEPINESS, ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

* As well as Lizzie Shurnick's  How Not to Congratulate Your Ex on Her Wedding Day

Epic. Anyway. I'm off to go stalk Facebook status updates to make sure none of my exes have done something to send me off the deep end, then disable both my ovaries and Internet to insure nothing like this ever has my byline on it. 


Kaela said...

Wow. That's

That was so long I couldn't even get through it all. Cool if you need to mentally work some shit out when your ex gets married, that's not fun for anyone. We all want to think that the person who loved us will always love us more than anyone else. But, that's what diaries are for. Not the interwebs.

It's pretty much like he was sitting there thinking, "I wonder if she's thinking about me at all on our wedding day?" and then took to the keyboard to ensure that she would be.


Poetry of Flesh said...

"a stiletto-ed, snot-dripping gazelle run down 7th Avenue at 3am, wailing like a menstrual raptor during hormone therapy while being chased by a lover driven to such madness by my estrogenic meltdown"

I'm going to forward this bit to my boyfriend so he feels better (AKA less alone) about his plight in dealing with me. Freaking brilliant.

Polly said...

Poetry of the Flesh: If you're anything like me, he deserves a four-handed HJ tonight.

That being said, he also probably has driven you to do some of the things you do, so ask for reciprocation.

And thanks ;-)

Julene said...

Found your blog via Hannah's and I must say, this is either the most hilarious or saddening message I've ever read.

Or maybe not. Any idea if the girl it was aimed at has written/posted something about it? This is the internet, there's no way she hasn't said SOMETHING.