Saturday, July 17, 2010

The chance ex-counter

WEEKEND TODAY JULY 17 - 18, 2010, COLUMNS, PAGE T2 (The Fairer Text)
Georgina Chang,

PHOTO: The best revenge is living well.” Because how you choose to live is really the only thing you have control over.
WEEKEND TODAY JULY 17 - 18, 2010, COLUMNS, PAGE T2 (The Fairer Text)

PHOTO: Georgina Chang
WEEKEND TODAY JULY 17 - 18, 2010, COLUMNS, PAGE T2 (The Fairer Text)
The writer is the senior creative director of 987FM and Lush 99.5.

Breaking up is hard. But it's the aftermath of dealing with the ex that's hell

I LOVE having boyfriends. The downside is when the boyfriend becomes an ex-boyfriend.

Exes are really hard work. Even if nobody was cheating, stealing or lying, breaking up is always a traumatic and emotionally draining process. But it's the aftermath that is fraught with tension, discomfort and anxiety.

A dreaded nightmare is the chance encounter with the ex when you don't have any make-up on, your hair is greasy/flat/with grey roots showing, and you're not wearing that sexy dress that makes your boobs look bigger and your bum smaller.

I used to be mortified at the thought of running into an ex when looking drab. When it did happen, I would hunch my shoulders and stare at the ground to avoid eye contact.

Yes, I ended up with bruises on my head and scars on my knees from not seeing where I was going.

Now I realise it doesn't matter how good you look. If you were dumped, no amount of dermabrasion, botox and carboxytherapy would make a difference.

Yes, in your mind, you're convinced that you looked so fabulous that your ex is kicking himself and begging to get you back. But if your ex wants you back because you looked good, then he is a shallow, superficial person who will dump you again when you have love handles, cellulite or pimples. Or if someone cuter came along.

So it's not about how nice you look. It's actually about how good the new partner on your arm, or his arm, looks.

If you have an attractive, smart and successful boyfriend on your arm, it won't matter if you are wearing an oversized T-shirt, mum jeans and track shoes. Your amazing partner has elevated your status.

The gosh-awful scenario is if you're single, and you cross paths with your ex and his girlfriend. If she's hot, has bigger breasts, longer legs, a perfect complexion, and seems intelligent, then chances are you'd rather be far away wearing an orange vest and picking up cigarette butts.

And if he had dumped you for her, then of course you'd give her the evilest of stink eyes to burn a hole in her forehead and eradicate that smug look on her face. And tell yourself that she has ugly shoes.

However, if she is fatter and shabbier than you, you'd probably attempt to figure out the perplexity of life's unanswered mysteries over a nasty, strong beverage. Or look at her condescendingly and tell yourself they won't last.

If he hadn't dumped you for her, then she would be the one eyeing you with great curiosity to figure out what he saw in you, how you influenced him, and what jewellery of his you're still wearing. And, of course, to assess if there's still any spark between the two of you.

I'm always particularly careful and over-neutral in my interaction with exes, so as not to cause jealously and dissension.

Be a little too friendly, and she will insist that you still harbour feelings for him. If you happen to be wearing something sexy or revealing, she'll be convinced that you are trying to seduce him back.

Say something conversational and shallow like "Let's catch up soon", and she'll believe that you are both on the cusp of an affair.

Meeting an ex with his girlfriend is fraught with potential misunderstanding, I tell you. It's exhausting.

Of course, there are some people who have wonderful relationships with their exes.

They are genuinely delighted to see the ex with his gorgeous, sexy wife and their beautiful children - obviously one boy and one girl - with their silky, well-behaved golden retriever, standing next to their gleaming new Audi Q7, absolutely pleased to hear that he's been promoted to No 1 CEO, and that they've just moved into that new 4,000-sq-ft house.

These people are freaks.

Most of us would rather swallow our own tongue than meet an ex in that aforementioned circumstance.

I've never experienced that situation, but I've learnt that the more perfect someone's life seems, the more riddled it is with troubles, worry and deceit. Really.

So when it comes to the ex-boyfriends you're not fond of, I encourage you not to focus on how you look, how he's doing or what he's dating.

Instead, embrace the wise words of my friend who's had several bitter and acrimonious divorces but is still one of the happiest, most carefree guys around. He told me that for these unpleasant ex-issues, "The best revenge is living well."

Because how you choose to live is really the only thing you have control over.
By Georgina Chang,

The writer is the senior creative director of 987FM and Lush 99.5.