I make lists in my head all the time. It keeps my mind busy during humdrum daily activities like taking the subway or faking orgasms. So, there I was, last Tuesday, waiting for the elevator in my building as it made its way from the penthouse to the lobby, compiling a mental list. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I figured, “What am I Thankful For?” was appropriate and also very preschool-esque which I found very cute of myself. Here is the list I compiled before being rudely interrupted (which I’ll explain later).
I am thankful for…
1. My family, friends, shelter, love — blah blah blah.
2. Being able to camouflage the 12 pounds I have gained since September.
3. Macaroni and cheese in the shape of Scooby Doo. And Ramen Noodles. And Yorkside. (hmm — hence the 12 pounds).
4. High heels.
5. Not having gone to Harvard. (Did you see how ugly those kids were a few weeks ago? Gross.)
6. Bacardi 151.
So as I was about to come upon number seven, to round out my already impressive list, I feel a tap on my shoulder. Annoyed, I turn around, and come face to face with — yes, that’s right — my ex. I know, you may be asking yourself what he’s doing in MY building. I would be asking myself that same question, if I didn’t know that he lived there too. Yes, that’s right. My ex lives in my building. When he wasn’t my ex, living in my building was a nice perk — now I just hope for that eviction notice.
Other than delectable dinners, stressing about the work you know you won’t do, and unreal amounts of sleep, seeing your ex (or exes) is just another one of those home-for-the-holidays bonuses. Score. Don’t you just love Thanksgiving?
I figure that every girl has two types of exes in her life. There is the ex whom you’re still in love with and hope that you will one day be reunited with by romantically running into him on a busy street in New York after years of not seeing one another. In this scenario, you are just breaking up with another dude only to discover that you and your ex are perfect for one another.
And you’re Gwyneth Paltrow.
He’s a dreamboat: yacht-owning and Armani-clad. Sweet, wonderful, kind, rich — sigh.
And then there’s what I like to call the Funk-Master-Sketch-Ex. Funk Master (for short) is that dude in high school who really screwed you over and left you an emotional wreck. Funk Master Sketch also applies to the dudes (notice the plural) who screw you over in college. Funk Master Sketch always has a way of re-entering your life whether it’s in person or in the form of a bill from your psychiatrist.
Regardless, the ex standing with me in my lobby is, you guessed it, Funk Master Sketch. He fits this profile for several reasons:
First, he thinks telling you that you need to lose 5 pounds is a compliment that one should be given on a daily basis.
Second, he has this little back hair problem (which I SWEAR I only discovered AFTER we started dating), and third, he thinks he’s a porn star (also discovered AFTER we started dating, which definitely exacerbated the back hair thing). Debbie and Danni may be good teachers, but my opinion is that if you’re not old enough to rent it, you’re not old enough to do it.
I feel like this experience is not unique. This happens every break. Seeing the ex is on the one hand, traumatizing, and on the other hand, a sort of comfort of being home, and perhaps a reminder of why you broke up in the first place (example: back hair). It’s also the first thing you talk about when you get back from break. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ramadan, Rosh Hashana, Barney’s semi-annual sale, whatever. Each religious holiday is marked by an encounter with the ex. (Hey, religion is subjective, man. Yours may be Anglican, mine’s AmEx.)
Ex stories have been flying since I set foot back on campus, of all different varieties. Freshmen rekindle the romance with exes. Over and over again, every break — as if Yale first semester hasn’t been Hookupfest 2001. Sophomore exes have come out of the closet. Junior exes are dating/sleeping with your worst enemy from high school. Or your best friend. Senior exes are married. Or pregnant. Or both.
But regardless, there we were. Funk Master Sketch and I, face to face. Time to battle it out. Who looks better. Who’s involved again. Who’s fat. Who’s happier. It’s time to bring the pain. Big time. Let him have it. Paste on a smile and lie like it’s going out of style. Like you’re president.
I begin keeping score. I look amazing, decked out in late autumn sweater, cheeks rosy from the crispy air. Point for me. He’s with a girl. Two points for him. I narrow my eyes. She’s not that attractive. And her hair is frizzy, even in this accommodating weather. Quarter point deduction. She’s also now dating Funk Master Sketch. Minus another half point. Hmm. He’s still ahead with a point and a quarter. I lag behind at only one point.
I smile. He smiles. This is just great. Why is the elevator STILL on the 24th floor? We exchange pleasantries. I’m speaking in all exclamations. I tell him that school is WONDERFUL! I’m the sex columnist! Isn’t that funny?!? And great! (Ha! Another point for me!) He tells me he taught me everything I know. (Damn it. That’s not even true. But the girl laughs. Slut. Point and a half for him.)
OK. Where do we go from here? He seems as if he’s going to say something. I hope it’s not another zinger. I’m sure it will be. He has a sort of devilish look in his eyes (update — me: 2, him: 2.75). And then, out of left field, he brings the pain, it’s unlike any other pain that has been brought before. He turns toward the girl, takes her hand, and with the confidence and poise of a beauty queen, he says, “Natalie, I’d like you to meet my fiance, Tiffany.”
His score is now off the charts. He scored a touchdown and then the two-point conversion. He was fouled at the 3-point line after scoring, and then sank the free throw. This is a BIG play for him. BIG.
Thankfully, the “ding!” of the arriving elevator snaps me out of my state of shock. I muster out a (somewhat graceful) “congratulations,” and step inside. As they step out of the elevator and I wave goodbye, telling them to make sure to put me on the guest list, I am hit with the seventh thing that I am thankful for this year: I am not marrying insulting-hairy-porn-funk-master-sketch-man. And Tiffany is. Happy Thanksgiving! And mazel tov on the wedding!
Natalie Krinsky would just like to tell you that her parents read all of her previous columns over Thanksgiving. They did not give thanks — they faked it.