What happens when a man moves across country and tells his girlfriend that he doesn’t want a long distance relationship? Or how about the one who consistently takes a girl to dinner, only to reach into an empty pocket when it’s time to pay the bill? Yes, these men will probably get dumped.
Ben Karlin, former executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, compiled essays from writers, comedians, actors, and even a politician or two for his hilarious anthology, Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me. This is supposedly such a traumatic experience in a male’s “formative years” (ages thirteen to thirty-five) that writer Rodney Rothman can’t get past being dumped by his eighth grade sweetheart. He even confronted her twenty years later in “I Still Like Jessica.” By the way, she didn’t remember him.
Unlike similar books written from a woman’s point of view, there’s no gender bashing here. Oh, there is one exception: the endearing “Women Are Never Too Young to Mess with Your Head.” But most of these men poke fun at themselves—how they saw the red flags from the beginning but followed their hormones instead of their brains. Writer Andy Selsberg maintains that even with these warning signs—and even if the woman eventually sleeps with your close friend—you may still want to stay connected. The best way to do that is to hold a grudge. “A Grudge Can Be Art” will show you how.
We all know what eventually happens when a girl maintains that “we’re just friends.” Will Forte tries to conceal his jealousy but eventually gets dumped in “Beware of Math Tutors Who Ride Motorcycles.”
Then again, getting dumped may not always be a bad thing. In “Get Dumped Before It Matters,” artist and writer David Rees admits that he missed some valuable lessons, since he, unlike the other contributors, never got dumped. Of course, he married his second girlfriend. Dan Savage, on the other hand, was fortunate that the girl did dump him, as he explains in “I Am a Gay Man.”
These forty-six lessons are so amusing and well-written that it’s hard to pick a favorite. It’s a good idea to keep this book with you, as most stories are only a couple of pages long, so you can read them when you only have only a few free minutes. The problem is that they’re so hilarious that you won’t be able to put the book down. In fact, you’ll probably finish it in just a few sittings. Just don’t read it in public—because you won’t be able to contain your outbursts.
(review previously published on www.nightsandweekends.com)