The Non-Expert

Broken Hearts

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we explain the many steps of recovery after your heart’s been ripped out, stepped on, and sold for scrap.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: I have just had my heart ripped out by the love of my life. My question is: what the fuck do I do now?—C.S.

Answer: You have taken a very bad spill in the volleyball game of love. Let me be the lesbian physical therapist who patches you up and, with an alarming smack on the ass, sends you back in the game. You’ll be spiking it again for mommy before you know it—but only if we do this thing right.

Orange Vests, Black Hearts

Like a moose—but a pretty moose—confronted with a shotgun, you planned to spend the day just moose-ing around: grazing, dozing, copulating with a fecund moose-ette. But hunting season has other plans. There is your lover’s safety-orange vest and camouflage hat, the wading boots, and, of course, the big trophy knife. (They always take a trophy.) Your plans will be revealed as stupid sylvan fantasia; and then you will see only the jagged hole, the blood, the frantic spasms of your forelegs. Your final visions are the white tails of other hooved lovers bounding fearfully away from your disaster, off into the safe forest of their loves. Everything goes black. You, alone, believe you will die.

But you will not. When you come to, you will be one very pissed-off two-ton antlered motherfucker. Drag your bloody tufty ass out of there and go home, and gore anyone who gets in your way.

Your Mommy, The Office, and Calories

Upon being dumped, go to your mommy’s home. Eat whatever she has in the house. Talk or don’t. Go uncomplainingly with her to the Costco for the cheap gas, driving all the way across town to save fifty cents. Do what mommy does, and always let her drive. Driving in the first four days after being dumped is highly unsafe. I speak from experience: blinded with a lethal combination of rage at and empathy for my dumper, my rental car somehow mounted a huge curb and nearly murder-ized several leather-pants-ed homosexual gentlemen on San Francisco’s Market Street.

Use care: you must pretend that people are innocent, even though you currently believe otherwise.

Try to avoid your job as long as you can. (This is easiest if your dumper is also your boss. Related: you are kind of a whore.) If you go back to work too soon, you might, let’s say just for a completely fictional example, burst embarrassingly into tears in San Francisco’s Armani Cafe while having an otherwise pleasant if overpriced lunch with a business associate.

One final word of caution: you will either lose or gain 10 pounds in the next two weeks. For once, think about what you put in your mouth, particularly if you were dumped when your girlfriend found you going down on her brother.

Rage, the Ego, and Proud Black Women

In her epic song-poem ‘Heavenly Father’ from 2002’s La Bella Mafia, Lil’ Kim tells us:

Niggas think ‘cuz you give ‘em your heart
They can dissect it and rip it apart
Mm-mm, not I, one nigga’s in my eye:
Payback’s a motherfucker, put that on the Stuy.
You lost a good bitch nigga you can’t front.

This is your song until your housemate confiscates the CD. Freak out and tell him your posse’s going to pull up in their Hummers and Escalades and bust his faggot head open unless he gives it back. He may cry if you are cruel enough; you may cackle at him crying. This feels great! Try it!

Rage will be your single most important tool, more than Pringles, more than Parliaments. Anger means you want to live and thrive. Whatever you do, do not suppress it. After all, if you put the cork back in half-consumed bottle of Chateau Yon Figeac, will it not soon become vinegar and go bad? But if you drink it all, it magically disappears, no? Yes. Your rage is to be drunk.

Next, turn to quotations from song stylist Erykah Badu. Here are some situations in which her wisdom becomes useful:

And if things get deep, and people are prying into your breakup, pull this one out:

At last, you will graduate to Mary J. Blige’s No More Drama. Just put it on repeat. Sick of it? You’re healed.

Self-Pity, Despair, and Miraculous Interventions

One day in your recovery, you will be out strolling, feeling swell. You will sit down to rest, and your brain will make you think: ‘I hate myself. I am X years old and I have accomplished nothing. Please, may I die?’

This is important: Do not rush home and call your ex. Do not call any of your previous ex’s, not even for cheap sex.

What you must do is absolutely nothing. Accept the kind invitations of your floor; lay there endlessly. And just when you think that you will finally rise from the floor and down all the Comtrex in the house in a foolish and totally faux suicide attempt, you will receive a sign. This sign will often come from a homeless person or in a dream. In my case the sign was the first sentence in a piece of spam email. This spam began: ‘Dear Friend: As you read this, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.’

I freaked. The profound implications of this were: I will die! My dumper will die! The spammer will die! In fact we will all die, and I have been spending my time perpetuating my rejection! The ultimate humiliation will be delivered, our shivering bodies spread raggedly open to the heavens of whatever God may or may not care, and each of us will go out with a silent gasp in a pool of our own congealed blood with no reason or sense. So let’s party down!

Controlling Substances

You have seen fire and rain. You decide that you have recovered; an hour later you’re back in the bathroom, calculating a lethal dose of Mylanta. Remember that recovery isn’t linear; it zigs and zags like a cracked-out basketballer. You will lose your mind a little bit. In some midnight hour you will cry out that God is punishing you. Later, you will realize that actually, you hadn’t been dating God.

Undoubtedly you’ve decided at least once to scale Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls, in the immortal words of self-help guru Jacqueline Susann. Make careful choices in this turbulent valley. For instance, avoid Ambien: It has a little kick at the end that prevents true enjoyment of sedation. Klonopin is a definite yes. That is some good shit, take it early and often, bro. Alcohol is tried and sometimes true, but one must be careful about one’s impulse control: I have a friend, yes, a ‘friend,’ who, in a moment of impairment, wrote a long weepy humiliating email to his ex. My friend is a stupid, stupid, stupid fucking bastard friend.

Do Not Think About Your Ex Whilst Masturbating


Freshen Up While the Lavatory Door of Your Love Life is Set to ‘Occupied’

Of course you must not date immediately, at least not without full disclosure. Otherwise, you will have gone to the Dark Side. You are now A) emotionally unavailable and B) 10 pounds thinner (if you made the right choice early on), and when you walk the streets, heads turn. Remember the faces that are attached to these heads: They belong to the sort of people who have a sixth sense for the lovesick or damaged partner. These remoras only sup on leftovers. You must not date them at any future time, as it will clearly mean that you are still love’s tragedy. Do however enjoy the validation. Wear something skimpy.

This regrouping period is a great time to prepare for when you are finally able to date. Make a list of your criteria for a future lover. You can even prepare a little test for prospective dates, and put some tricky questions in there to weed out the troubled! For example:

  • Q: Hey, just how much is the current monthly allotment of food stamps?
  • Q: Does your therapist examine your emotional life while you lay on a couch or does your therapist charge more for sessions ‘with release’?

And of course:

  • Q: What is your earliest memory of your father’s erect penis?

The revelatory nature of these answers will be in direct relation to the care with which you compose the questions. As this process jumpstarts your sense of humor and your self-regard, you will have that rare Greek experience. No, the other rare Greek experience: catharsis. That catharsis will birth The Plan.

The Plan

The Plan will appear when you embrace an inner vision of the civil rights cry ‘Segregation never, integration now!’ Your recent experiences of self-loathing and self-love will be the materials from which you will design a grand vision of the future. You were absolutely right when you despaired: You are in fact X years old, and you actually haven’t done anything with your life. But it’s not the tragedy you perceive. This wakeup call has given you a chance; your new perspective on life compels you now to live differently.

They say that a spiritual awakening occurs when the obvious becomes obvious. ‘These cigarettes won’t kill me,’ we say with every puff. ‘When I was a little girl I knew I’d be a jazz singer in Harlem,’ we think into our pillows every night. ‘I’ve always dreamed of starring in a hardcore double-penetration video,’ we weep in our therapist’s Upper West Side office, ‘and I want my dreams to come true!’

This is your moment. Your dumper’s shortsighted cruelty is life’s gift. Now that you’re free and unafraid, you must make yourself into what you always knew you would be. Whether or not you become friends with your dumper, you will come to love him or her with gratitude as you scat away smoke-free into your own fantastic, pornographic future.