Love Stinks, Or Does It?
You can’t avoid it.
Everywhere you look this time of year, it seems you see lace and hearts and chocolates. You see people holding hands and sneaking smooches in the snack line at the movies. And the movies? Ugh. They’re all about love and stuff like that.
Valentine’s Day — and the weeks before and after — stinks if you’re alone, but you don’t have to wallow in your pain. Instead, read the new book “Things I’ve Learned from Woman Who’ve Dumped Me,” edited by Ben Karlin. You won’t find amore between these pages, but you’ll at least have somebody to commiserate with.
In the realm of relationships, nothing is ever certain. In these 32 chapters from screenwriters, comedians, novelists and others, you’ll see dumpings that appeared from nowhere, ditchings that the ditchee should’ve seen coming, and break-ups that were exactly the right thing at the right time – even if seen through a backward telescope, thirty years later.
In Lesson No. 4, “Persistence Is for Suckers” by David Wain, a series of phone calls seems like the beginning of a wonderful relationship É until Wain realizes his potential girlfriend only sees him as voice-male.
Why is it that most songs are about love? According to Lesson No. 19, “You Can Encapsulate Feelings of Regret, Panic, and Desperation in a Two-and-a-Half-Minute Pop Song” by Adam Schlesinger, some songs are about love that’s lost. And those lyrics? They’re fiction. Really.
Is it possible to fall in love over and over, quickly? Lesson No. 20 says it is. In “I’m Easy” by Paul Simms, love rushes in fast and falls hard, even when the crush only lasts 17 seconds.
Think you’re immune because you’re older? Ah, dumping can come at any age. In Lesson No. 9, “Women Are Never Too Young to Mess with Your Head” by Larry Wilmore, a spurning that starts in a hospital is revived with one healing word a year later.
And finally, in a wonderful (obviously fictional) chapter, a man pines for the woman who rejected him 25 years ago. In “She Wasn’t the One” by Bruce Jay Friedman, he meets her again in their middle years. Will he dump her this time?
At times laugh-out-loud funny, and at other times heartbreakingly sad, “Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me” is a book that eventually says one thing: you’ll survive. In fact, in his introduction, novelist Nick Hornby says most of the authors of these stories went on to have happy marriages. Good news for anyone nursing a pulverized heart after a messy break-up.
While this book is definitely meant for men, women shouldn’t pass it up. Yes, there are lots of euphemisms for women’s anatomy here and some borderline-explicit paragraphs. Read past that, though, and the chapters offer heartsick women a decent peek at men who also bruise deep at love lost.
If you’re spending V-Day alone — by choice or by fate — or if you’ve ever had your ego flattened by a scorning paramour, you’ll want to read this. “Things I’ve Learned From the Women Who’ve Dumped Me” is a book to love.
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