A girlfriend of mine just suffered a pretty bad breakup. So I did what I could. I took her out for the Colleen Kruse Pity Party (patent pending). A proper Pity Party begins with the sixty-minute Walk/Cry. I have found that it is best not to talk at all during the Walk/Cry. An hour of ambling in silence is much more theatrically poignant. It’s a cleansing ritual, similar to a Scientology birth.
When the Walk/Cry is finished, a few supplies should be at hand: fuzzy blankets to hide under, a couch long enough for two to sit facing one another, and a decent cabernet, for its spiritually numbing goodness. Also any salted and fried food product, plus maybe some Smokehouse almonds, must be part of your triage kit. Crying plus alcohol depletes sodium levels in the body.
By the time the two of you are settled on the couch, everything you need should be in place (don’t forget Kleenex, bottled water, dark chocolate, the remote for the stereo, and the phone). Also—this part is very important—HIDE HER PHONE. Now the talking can begin. I don’t like to give my pals any advice during the first forty-eight hours of any romantic trauma. I find it is better to bleed all of the poison out of them. My strategy is to keep eye contact and bear witness to their sorrow, leeching as much misery from them as I can before the famed 20/20 hindsight kicks in and they recall each excruciating moment of betrayal. Once the anger sets in, you will be so happy you remembered to HIDE HER PHONE. And she will thank you. Later.
After forty-eight hours, it’s time for one bit of hard-earned wisdom. If your heart is broken, nothing will fix it but time. Friends can ease the pain, being active and bawling your eyes out will get the dopamine moving in your bloodstream again, and a binge of French fries and vino won’t hurt. But Lord help any woman who gets herself a haircut within one month of a bad breakup.
I’ve been there. Am I a cutter? Yes. I am the former queen of self-inflicted bangs. It starts out a little bit here, a little bit there just to even it up. And then before you know it Girl, Interrupted is crazily staring back at you through the medicine cabinet looking-glass saying, “Ha! I look like a whole new woman! HaHaHaHa! Won’t he be sorry!” Trust me, you will not make an ex-lover rue the day he lost you if, when he runs into you on Nicollet Mall, you’re sporting a matted skullcap of choppy, multi-colored cowlicks. He might say something noncommittal, like “Wow, you got a new haircut!” (hint: acknowledgement is not a compliment), but as soon as he’s twenty feet away he’ll be heaving a sigh of relief.
Once the wild dingo of self-flagellation has eaten your bangs, then you’ll have to wait out both your heartache plus an ill-timed hairdon’t. The most extreme example of this last year was Britney Spears. Let’s recap!
Crazy Britney walks into a hair salon in Tarzana, California. She sits down in a chair and asks the stylist (also the owner of the salon) to shave her head. The stylist is horrified and refuses. Crazy Britney calmly takes the shaver out of its holster and begins to shave her own head. Oh, and she is laughing and crying the whole time. Thirty minutes after shaving her head, she stops laughing but continues crying and ends up text messaging her ex, pleading with him to come back to her. These messages later get mysteriously forwarded to the tabloid press. (WHY DIDN’T ANYONE HIDE HER PHONE?) After that, she goes to a tattoo parlor and gets a cross inked on the inside of her lower lip.
I give Pity Parties to friends for free. Watching the whole Britney thing unfold last year, I realized Hollywood would be the perfect place to hone my skills as a comforter to celebrities in crisis. If I could get my hands on Britney, I’d bet anything that, within a year, they’d all be speaking in hushed tones when I walked into the Ivy. “Is that her?” “Yes. She’s the Britney Whisperer.”
It’s a niche market, I know. My parties also work for job loss and pet death. But there’s almost nothing you can do about a really bad haircut.