I’ve been spending an awful lot of time with my Formspring inbox lately, dispensing advice and arbitrating disputes like some Picardian being with great rack. As I am allowed unfettered access to your hearts and minds and other private places, I’ve started to wonder a lot about how people solve problems. I am genuinely puzzled as to how you go from “I am going to chew off my own arm and beat my boyfriend to death with it!” to “I bet Alle Malice would provide relevant insight.” And then I wonder, what about my place in the equation? How does one actually provide advice to another person? Interpersonal problems have a fucktonne of variables that are totally unknowable to me as an anonymous third party.
But you know what, I didn’t study philosophy. I’ve got degrees in psychology (which means I can tell you what to do) and English (which means I’m awesome at writing down how to do it). And so, in the spirit of the internet and oversharing, I am going to provide you a real-life Alle problem and how I solved it. And I’m going to do it in the form of a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE book, which I think we can all agree is the highest form of literature known to man. So let’s begin!
You receive a Facebook message from your ex-boyfriend. Things didn’t end well between you two and you haven’t heard from him for, like, a year. Do you:
- Open the letter? Man, remember when letters were written on paper and sealed with wax? That would really give this the sense of impending doom you’re sure it deserves. Turn to page 3.
- Ignore it and watch cat videos on youtube. YOU HAVE FALLEN INTO A PIT OF VIPERS. STORY OVER.
You open the letter and discover that your ex is getting married to the very girl he dumped you for. OH MY GOD WHAT. You examine yourself for feelings of heartbreak. What do you find?
- If you find wounded pride but no heartache, which is a relief because SHIT, continue to page 24.
- If you find heartache, YOU HAVE BEEN EATEN BY A DEMON WEARING A HAT. STORY OVER.
Okay, your emotions are in check. Good for you! As you continue to read the letter, what do you find?
- If it’s an invitation to your ex’s engagement party, turn the page.
- If it’s a sock full of gold dubloons, stop reading immediately and go spend those suckers.
- If it’s a flesh eating virus, which I would prefer to option #1, YOU ARE NOW A SKELETON ZOMBIE. STORY OVER.
Are you fucking kidding me with this shit?
- No. (Turn to page 15)
- Yes. (Pelted by Baboon poop; try again, doofus)
Okay. So the dude who dumped you for another girl and has made absolutely zero attempts to establish any kind of friendly relationship is inviting you to his engagement party. Out of the blue. In a condescending tone (direct quote: “Bring whichever guy is most special to you, I want to make sure he’s good enough.”) Taking into account his personality, what are the chances that this is meant with no ulterior motive whatsoever? Please circle the correct answer.
- A) Zero.
- B) Zero.
- C) Motherfucking zero.
Just wanted to get that out of the way. So now, be real: What’s bothering you the most about this whole thing?
- At one point you thought this guy was like you. He was the same type of person, and that made you feel less alone. But if he can do something so transparently designed to hurt to someone he once cared about, you are forced to realise that he’s not like you at all. Sulkily turn to page 32.
- That he found someone to marry before you did! Because that’s all you want! To get married! YOU HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED BY SENTIENT MAYONNAISE. STORY OVER.
- Because now you’ll never have him and his dumb facial hair in your life ever again! Alas and alack! SPIDERS HAVE BUILT A NEST IN YOUR HYPOTHALAMUS. STORY OVER.
Okay, sadsack. You have your feelings and you know why you’re feeling them.What are you going to do about this fuckery?
- Read the message seven more times to be sure you’re not hallucinating it. Considering writing a scathing reply, but abandon that idea when you realise you’d just be giving him what he wants, which is a reaction. Call your best friend and read the entire letter to her, then laugh as she comes up with forty-five different ways to call him an asshole. Eat some grapes. Call another friend who makes a few threats on the guy’s life, because he is a badass Marine and that is what badass Marines do. Repeat the story to his wife who also threaten his life, because that is what badass Marine wives do. Eventually decide that you’re not going to allow this dude a foothold in your life for any reason, delete the message so that you don’t get mad every time you see it, watch The Little Mermaid and fall asleep halfway through “Kiss the girl.” Turn to page 49.
- That’s basically the only possible response, right? Except maybe eat some cherry tomatoes? Yum. Turn to page 49 also.
So now the question is: WILL YOU BE ATTENDING THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY?
- No. Congratulations! You win at life! Here’s a sock full of gold dubloons!
- HELL no. Congratulations! You extra-win at life! Here’s a squadron of sentient mayonnaise to do your bidding, and ALSO some gold dubloons!
- Yes. YOU HAVE BEEN STRANGLED BY A MILITARY TOUCAN. STORY OVER.