Break-Up Rules, Part 1
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The day before yesterday, my boyfriend, the Pissed-off Bastard moved out suddenly, ostensibly to find himself or some kind of melodramatic nonsense, and left me to pick up the pieces. There should be rules for this.
Rule #1 Clean up after yourself. Like you MUST clean the toilet in your bathroom before you leave. I mean, it just adds insult to injury to your long-suffering, sweet-as-can-be, now-broken-hearted girlfriend when you leave it for her to do. On the other hand, cleaning your bathroom might move her current mood from hurt and depressed to disgusted. It's pretty bad in there. In fact, in those times of emergency when she couldn't possibly wrangle the 15 stairs up to her bathroom without peeing in her shoes and used your first floor throne instead, she did her business in the dark. And refused to look down.
Rule #2 Take all your shit with you. Your girlfriend does not want to be responsible for your dirty socks, undies, etc. There is no point in letting her do your laundry, if you still need to find yourself. If even you don't know where you are, how can she possibly locate you to give you your clean clothes? On the other hand, she has spent many, many hours examining your psyche--she probably knows where you are better than you do. Perhaps you should enlist her help in creating a roadmap.
Rule #3 This means all your shit. Except for those pieces of clothing that she has appropriated for herself. Don't shrug and say, "Just throw the shit out." She shouldn't have to be responsible for any extra trips to the dumpster on your behalf. You don't want it, you toss it. Don't argue about this. Look in the dryer and under the bed and behind the door in the bathroom. Take everything but your favorite sweatshirt and that gray henley that she thinks you look so hot in. Not only does she look very cute in it, she doesn't want other girls to see you in it. And, if you buy a new one, don't ever let her find out. Remind yourself of the day she ruined a dirty, but just broken-in pair of whitey-tighties and the best slab of ribs you ever cooked by combining them on the hood of your car. And remember, you left two whole bottles of Sweet Baby Rays for which she can't imagine another use.
Rule #4 Did I mention all your shit? This means Emily the Body Pillow. Your girlfriend and Emily have never gotten along, despite the fact that your open, warm-hearted girlfriend introduced the two of you in the first place. Remember how often they fought in bed? Well, Emily glared at her all last night in reproach, as if it is the girlfriend's fault you lost yourself. The girlfriend, concerned she would be suffocated in her sleep, eventually had to push her under the bed.
Rule #5 I said, ALL your shit. Like your left sandal that found it's way into a box of miscellaneous stuffed toys on the floor. How did that happen? The road back to you is going to be terribly uncomfortable if you're only wearing one shoe.
Rule #6 Consider taking things that don't necessarily belong to you. Like the book you were reading left face down between pages 134 and 135 on the nightstand. She is not so cold-hearted that she would begrudge you the ending of a mystery. You can even promise you'll bring it back (even if you have no intention of ever doing so). But, now she has this unread, underappreciated paperback keeping her up all night with its whining.
Rule #7 Take everything she's ever given you with you. This, of course, includes Emily, and all your toiletries, but also her recently-published Über story that features yourself, even if it wasn't in the best light. Under no circumstances should you leave your Dear John note on the back of one of the pages, you bastard.
Rule #8 The note. Don't write in light green ink. You've left her, remember, don't force her to go blind reading your "it's not you, it's me" drivel. Be a man. Use a Sharpie, for chrissake. And don't thank her for everything. It's too late. Perhaps if you'd showed her a little more gratitude for taking care of you and putting up with all your shit for a year, she wouldn't have been so damn irritated every time you used a dish you didn't wash or change clothes you didn't launder. And don't condescend to her. Of course she knows that you're the one that is a mess. Did you honestly think she believed you had all your shit together? Right. She met you while you were hanging out at the liquor store. This isn't exactly the hallmark of a person with his shit together. She's known about your issues from Day One, bud, don't you forget it. She just preferred to overlook them, since considering them forced her to reevaluate her own good sense.
Rule #9 At this point, you should have made certain that there were no tasks she needed you to complete-moving furniture around, taking heavy boxes upstairs, cleaning out the refrigerator, putting together her patio furniture, taking out the trash. These would have been nice, special things to do before you left her high and dry and after she gets over this, she would remember you with fondness, instead of as the Lazy Pissed Off Bastard with a Drinking and Gambling Problem She Picked Up at the Liquor Store.
Rule #10 Don't tell the cats goodbye. Don't even hint that you aren't coming back. Both of them freaked out. One of them hid for over 24 hours. When he emerged, he merely sat at the end of your side of the bed and stared at the girlfriend all night in reproach. She tried to stick him under the bed with Emily, but he wiggled his way out again and again, howling in despair. It was a noisy night, full of hostility and your already tear-wearied girlfriend couldn't sleep at all for the din.
Rule #11 Don't leave your keys. If you are such a loser that you think that having them might be more temptation than you can handle then perhaps you shouldn't be leaving in the first place. She didn't ask for them back. If she cares that you might capriciously return, she'll get the locks changed. The note, once she found her special green-ink decoder ring, was plenty indication of your intentions, there's no point in overkill.
Rule #11 Just come home. You know you always do. Probably for no other reason that her place is way cooler than yours. Plus she has cats and everyone knows cats are cool. Plus, she makes an killer meatloaf. And you know how much you like meatloaf, especially the next day.
C. O'Neill has our sympathy