The Collateral Damage of a Friend’s Breakup

By: Roland Tanglao

One of my friends was unceremoniously dumped over a Burger King lunch.  The week or so before this traumatic event, she was convinced that her beloved was going to pop the question, and he did, but it was the wrong question. She was ready to hear “Will you marry me?”  What came out of his mouth was “Don’t you think this relationship has run its course?”

At the beginning, I was there with Kleenex, chocolate, a midnight cheesesteak run to Pat’s in South Philly, and of course, a good amount of wine.  Then as the days wore on, my teary-eyed friend went from heartbroken to belligerent.  At first, I thought it was healthy for her to let go of all the venom trapped in her broken heart, but then her anger took a weird turn:  It took aim at me.

We were out to lunch. Iwas in my jeans and a tee shirt. It’s not like we were going to a four-star restaurant. We were scarfing down spinach dip or whatever the dip was at Applebee’s and talking about her defunct relationship when I said,

“You know, out there is the right guy for you. Just wait and see.”  A harmless bit of encouragement I thought.  To which she responded in a rather hostile tone,

“There is no one for me; my chance has passed!” I could see that her eyeballs were now darting back and forth inside their sockets. Then her voice climbed about two octaves, and she screamed for the entire restaurant to hear, “AND IF YOUR HUSBAND DIED, THERE WOULD BE NO ONE FOR YOU EITHER! NO ONE! YOU ARE IN YOUR FORTIES – WHO WOULD WANT YOU?” (The emphasis being on the you.)

Well, that was a tad insulting.  I didn’t know whether to hold her hand, get her a Xanax, or throw the freaking dip in her face! In truth, my only response to this was, and please understand I was somewhat in shock and a little embarrassed as eyes were now on our table, “Why? I clean up good.”

It is no surprise that I paid that check as fast as I could, threw her in the car and sped to her office where I pushed her out onto the sidewalk. She didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye or shut the passenger side door fully. I pulled the door shut myself at the first red light I came to.  I then went to the nearest CVS and bought a boatload of wrinkle cream.

I’ll admit she rocked my confidence, but my feelings of insecurity were soon surpassed by feelings of anger. What was weird is that I was not angry at her; instead, I was  angry at the entire male population, who according to my friend, had already decided to reject me. Right away, I knew someone was going to have to pay for that comment, and unfortunately, that person was going to have to be my husband. When he walked in the door that night, I greeted him with this question.

“If you were dead, do you think another man would find me attractive?”

He hesitated before he spoke and joked, “Yes, you still have all my life insurance money.”

“You’re an ass!” I snapped.

Sensing trouble ahead, he tried to backpedal to avoid a fight he did not see coming. The man did attend military school, so he understands the need to diminish the effects of the element of surprise as quickly as possible.

“What kind of question is that? Of course, someone would,” he said lovingly.  “By the way, why do I have to be dead? Why can’t we be divorced in this scenario?”

“Someone? Maybe one guy?”  I said skirting his question. “That’s it?”

“No, no lots of men. I am sure, he said in an exasperated tone.  “Do I get to know why I am in trouble?”

You know, I always wonder at these moments in our marriage why my husband did not divorce me years ago.  As an engineer, that would have been the logical thing to do.  Many of his engineer friends have spouses in equally logical professions and who–let’s face it–bring home much bigger paychecks than me.  It probably would have been in his best interest to look for a spouse elsewhere.

So, I explained to him about the lunch. I have to say, he was pretty perturbed with my friend and her comments. He thought it was callous and totally not true, and he thought that being understanding, was going to get him out of any potential argument with me.

Yeah, he was wrong. In fact, for an entire week, he was not out of the woods. Why?  Because he was still a male, and my ego was still bruised, and he had to make up for all the future rejection of his entire gender. I did learn three things from this hurtful experience. First: Not all men are to blame for the bad actions of a few (This lesson will fluctuate over time depending on the situation and my hormone levels). Second: I will never go to a restaurant or any other public venue with that friend again without a written note from her therapist that she is taking her medication; and finally, if I were that guy she was dating, I would have dumped her in Burger King too.

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12 thoughts on “The Collateral Damage of a Friend’s Breakup”

  1. Damn, I should have read this before I published my “SlutWalk” article. Was your comment just a cover for the plot of my demise? 🙁

  2. I can’t believe she did that to you. And in a public place too. You were generous to even give her a ride back. I might have left her there.

    Now….as for your poor blind sided hubby. As a member of the male population, I can assure you that there are certain situations where men simply cannot win. One is when their wife surprises them with an unexpected question pertaining to their looks. I know from painful experience, that even before answering the question, the “hesitation” itself is all a woman needs to send him to the doghouse. Even if he answers correctly, the pause does him in.

    I have learned that that when it comes to a woman’s appearance, there is only ever one proper answer. And it goes like this, without pause and while lovingly looking into her eyes, “honey you look fantastic”. (even if she doesn’t…..ahem)

    1. I’m not so generous. Now, when we go out, we meet there and our dinners or lunches out are few and far between and not in Montgomery County, PA. LOL

  3. If I were her fiance, I wouldn’t even have waited until we got to Burger King. I would have dumped her in the parking lot.

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