Being an English major, I’m familiar with drafts: rough drafts, first drafts, final drafts. People are like that too – we all start out a complete mess but through things like school, parents and friends, we learn. Other people can grow through us too, and now everyone’s just a clusterf*ck of self-betterment.
But when it comes to dating people, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to keep the final draft of a person, no matter how much work you put into it. In other words, the number one thing I hear people complain about their exes is how much of a better person they made them and now? Someone else gets to reap all the benefits.
Girls especially talk about how they taught their ex boyfriends how to dress, which I don’t doubt. Surely many of those heterosexual men who dress to the nines are all probably due to some well-intentioned ex-girlfriend out there.
I know there are a few exceptions; a couple of my guy friends (sans any female encouragement), really did just wake up one day and start to care about their wardrobe. But for the most part, the story goes like this: Guy wears t-shirts everyday, guy meets girl, girl buys boy a shitload of clothes and go shopping together, boy now knows the difference between Harris and Donegal tweed.
Now before you go on bashing girls who are never satisfied with their men, most of these girls I know didn’t have any intention of changing their guys at all. Truth is, these guys always wanted to dress well but didn’t know where to start. Then their girlfriends came along and worked with them to find a more sophisticated style that they both could find attractive and agreeable.
My friend Jenny and her boyfriend were like this. Then they broke up and now he’s out there playing James Bond with his Armani Suit and she’s stuck remembering the bad ol’ days when he thought wearing a rugby polo and basketball shorts were perfect for a dinner with her parents. Now 007’s most recent girlfriend gets to gush about how well dressed her new man is while Jenny gets an order of one failed relationship with a side of sad fries.
Girls leech a ton of knowledge from their ex-boyfriends too. My friend Keith had a girlfriend who “didn’t know shit about video games.” Since he didn’t like to exclude his girlfriend from what he viewed as a significant part of his life, he painstakingly introduced her to the Church of Playstation, to which he was a devout follower.
After they broke up, you’ll be sad to know that she’s kicking her new boyfriend’s butt in Puzzle Fighter™ (we’ll call this guy Akuma) and Akuma can’t get enough of it because he thinks his new gamer girlfriend is the coolest girl in the world. Now Keith is stuck spending his Saturday nights navigating his little Sackboy in worlds that his ex girlfriend and Akuma created together in Little Big Planet™ (but really Keith, you need to just avoid planets titled “I Heart Akuma” or “Keith Can Go Suck It”). And while Akuma is livin’ it up, Keith can’t help but remember how he also introduced this girl to playing guitar, got her into exercising and taught her how to give good, um, massages … with her mouth.
I’m not saying I’m some ultra hip girl, but do I want my future ex boyfriend (what a great outlook, I’m already thinking about the end of a relationship before I even start one) to be giving away all my interests to some girl I’ll be guaranteed to hate by default because she’ll be my ex’s new girl? A: Probably a hells to the no. I can just imagine it now – all the bands, rock concerts, stand up comedians and hilarious but short-lived canceled television shows that we will share together will be bestowed upon some unworthy broad. I mean, I wouldn’t want him back, but to share all that spice on a vanilla flavored girl? Damn. Sucks to my assmar indeed, Piggy.
If only there were a way that exes, who made you as cool as you are, can get some credit where it is due. Maybe there’s a Hallmark card that could read, “Hey there ex. I just wanted you to know that I’m a great guy now and I make my wife very happy. I want to thank you because if it weren’t for you and all my other ex-girlfriends, you guys’ cumulative disappointment in me, it would have never made me the great husband I am today. Also, thank you for your sense of style, music and humor because God knows I’d probably be a big dull douchebag if I didn’t pass that off as my own. Love, your ex.”
LYNN LA wants to know the ways you improved your ex. She understands how you wouldn’t want your ex back, so go ahead and rant. And don’t be afraid of sounding bitter because dude, it’s her. She knows. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.