Friday, March 28, 2008

Advice Column #17

Hey Bartender!

My girlfriend of nearly a year broke up with me a few months ago. We didn't speak for a while, but now, after I made a friendly overture, she's been sending me flirty emails. We're supposed to get a drink next week, and I think she may want to start something up. All in all, I'd like to be friendly, if not friends, but I think hooking up would be a bad idea. What should we drink to keep things on the up and up?

I am often amazed at how people refuse to recognize the negative impact of an ex-factor. Not how extreme you are- your ex-factor is how many ex-girlfriends you keep around. Why do you need her around, making things awkward? Is it to feel good about yourself? Few people are so awesome that you can't live without them. Do you want to torture future girlfriends? I don't understand. People do this all the time and I never get a straight answer for why. It's a bad idea, this post-love friendship. The point of the silence after a break up is to realize that your life doesn't need the other person, or to find someone else to take their place.

I can understand ex-wives or long term (like many years) relationships, those have meaning- those were partners who witnessed your life, and perhaps with whom you still have financial relationships. The girlfriend of one year- she was a project, a romantic interlude, someone who needs to be cut loose. She didn't work out, and neither will this "up and up" date.

You sent her a "friendly overture" because you wanted to know if you have a chance. Sure, argue that you just wanted to be friends; create whatever lies you need to tell yourself about how you just wanted to be friends, that this flirting and "starting something up" isn't what you had hoped would occur. This drink next week is going to lead to more rejection, either for you or her. You had closure before, this is about reopening wounds.

Listen man, ex's are not good company. They are emotional baggage you need to toss overboard and abandon to the sharks. You learned what you could from her, you had some stories, and now you need to put it behind you. The ex-lovers you keep as friends will only remind you of pain you felt, opportunities you lost, and the people you were- who you will never be again. What you need to do at this meet-up, for once and for all, is to end it. Not have some long drawn out relationship talk about what didn't work or what great times you had together, but end it. Shackle the hopeless part of you that wrote that initial email. Expel the dramatist part of you who wants to be friends out of spite. Give yourself a show of how much she doesn't meet your expectations. Get her wild sloppy drunk and see her worst side, then walk away after putting her in a cab home. Or get yourself wild drunk, and wake up with her the next morning to leave before breakfast. Either way, you need to kill this poisonous friendship before it begins.

My advice on total annihilation of your feelings: a Parkeroo. The Stork club spoke of this drink as a "among the more exotic of the restorative category... a sort of bastard martini". You need some restoration from this illegitimate evening. The drink had a slogan: " to drink it while it's laughing at you". Quickly, drink it quickly. To make: pour 2 oz. of dry sherry, 1 oz. of tequila, and a lemon peel over shaved ice, allow to chill, and then pour into a pre-chilled champagne glass.

Other fine options for getting wasted while you waste your time with your ex-lover include Kwak from Bosteels or Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Ale. Pauwel Kwak, a 8% abv Flemish orange beer, is begun with three malt mash, then browned and sweetened with candy sugar. It comes in a quarter yard carriage glass- a strange scientific looking container- the glass will remind you that this date is an experiment, and if you had any sense in you, you'd be leaving. Bigfoot is a barley wine style beer from Sierra, and at 9.6% abv you might start seeing mythical things that don't exist, like the future of your friendship. Just break it off man, save yourself the torture. Go have a beer with someone who hasn't had the chance to break your heart yet. Let go of the past and find yourself a well mixed future. If you were better distracted by your new company, you wouldn't write invitations to people who you shouldn't waste your time on.

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