Last weekend, I had one of those moments where I felt like I was watching a train wreck in slow motion. Worst part: I was the train, and the imminent head-on collision was with a significant ex-boyfriend (whom we will call Matt).
I say significant because I actually really liked him. Mind you, this was back in 2009. We got serious enough that he left a toothbrush at my apartment and I loaned him my Wet Hot American Summer DVD. It lasted long enough for a weekend trip to Chicago, and for us to realize our shared affection for Stouffers mac and cheese. A few months later, we had a spectacularly dramatic breakup, which played out loudly on my front steps at 2 am on a hot July night and culminated in me throwing his ties and shirts and all the other assorted crap he’d left at my apartment out into the street.
So yeah, running into him after all that was about as appealing as a hole in my head.
But I don’t make the fries. So there I was, walking home from an early breakfast looking BUSTED: no makeup and an unfair number of zits (including a really bad one – the kind that alters the topography of your face). My hair was filthy and I was wearing head to toe spandex. Bad spandex. The kind of spandex that holds up way better in a dim room than it does under direct sunlight, if you get my drift.
So when I saw Matt up ahead, walking my way, all I could think was, Seriously, fuck my life.
And then: RUN. Run girl, RUN.
But running wasn’t an option, so I focused instead on how I could ensure that our meeting would occur in a way that would allow me to keep the zit side of my face out of his line of vision. I was still concentrating on how best to achieve this goal as we came within a few feet of each other and uttered that first awkward “hey”.
I was too fixated on trying to hide my acne and cellulite (not an easy thing to do in the unforgiving light of morning, let’s be real) to size him up or assess any post-breakup hair loss, weight gain, or other outward signs of failure. Instead, I just stumbled awkwardly through a few painful moments of forced conversation, and then scurried off as fast as humanly possible.
I immediately texted my sisters the photo below with the caption “Just ran into Matt looking like THIS. He must be feeling victorious right now.”
Now, if I was single, I have no doubt my sisters would have responded with something encouraging: You look great! or He was such a douchebag – who cares?!?
But instead, my always gracious sister responded: “Yeah, he probably is. It’s a good thing you got wified-up.”
We’ll delve into my thoughts on the overrated value of familial honesty some other time. For now, I’ll jump right into my takeaways from the unfortunate Ex encounter:
1. I must be very unlucky, because the probability of running into an ex while looking your absolute worst seems pretty low, statistically speaking.
2. At the same time, I’m also very lucky, because without all of the ex-boyfriends and flings and crushes that filled my tumultuous single years, I don’t know if I’d have found my way to Jake.
3. Wear makeup every time you leave the house, or step out onto the deck, or open the front door, or answer the phone. Or fuck it, just get tattoo makeup. I’m sure winged eyeliner will still be a thing when you’re 78.
4. If you run into an ex when you look like shit, take heart: it’s possible he was too fixated on his own insecurities to notice your flaws. (Possible, though not likely.)
5. Always try to look your best. Not for your ex-boyfriends or ex-crushes or ex-one-night-stands, all of whom are probably huge fucktards and whose opinions of you shouldn’t matter, but for yourself, for your significant other, and for all the kind strangers walking behind you on the street who deserve better than what your sheer yoga pants have to offer.
That’s all I’ve got. Anyone have any mortifying ex run-in stories to share?