You’re in line to see a concert. Someone taps you from behind on the shoulder. You turn. Who can it be in line to see your favorite band? Yeah, that’s right: your ex-girlfriend. The line is long and the only way out is to ditch the line to see a show you’ve been counting down the days for over the past six weeks. But before you start wallowing in self pity (God hates me, karma is biting me in the ass, life’s unfair la la la la la) remember this: you used to like Lady Where-Are-You-Who-Are-You-With-Are-You-Drunk-Get-Home-Right-Now-Or-Else. So put down the inhaler and engage in vaguely civil conversation, at least for a few minutes, unless she was a legitimate freaktard, in which case, you can always try pretending you have no idea who she is and that you are just some guy with an uncanny resemblance to someone she once dated who also loved Bloc Party. If she seems like she’s been taking her meds, you could even try hooking up with her whilst incognito as your doppelganger so long as you can feign a good surprise face when she takes you home (“Puppy curtains!? Wow I’ve never seen any like those before!”)
You’ve got a couple of potential approaches depending on context. For the girl that broke your heart, keep it short and don’t stare too much; she never liked that. However, if you overtly avoid eye contact, she’ll think you can’t look her in the eye because you feel guilty for stalking her outside of her apartment (okay, maybe you have been a little), so don’t do that either. If you think you can’t control your eye movement, then keep it to, “Oh hey! Should be a good show. Hope you have fun tonight!” and turn back around. A little known secret is that “Hope you have fun” is the sly conversation closer of the truly tactful and charismatic. You’re wishing so-and-so well but also letting them know that you aren’t going to be around in the immediate future to find out about how much fun they’re having. Take that and put it your pocket, Slick.
If it’s the girl whose heart you broke, your first move is shield your face. No matter how much time passes, a girl can still want to Oedipus Rex your eyeballs, especially if you fall into the lying, cheating, stealing, philandering, or STD-transmitting categories. In the case that you are not on the receiving end of a left hook/right jab combination (damn that Billy Banks and his Tae Bo exercise video empire!) try to be nice to the girl for a change. Exchange pleasantries- yes, those mundane things- and give the girl a compliment. Remember, you broke her heart; the least you can do is tell her that her hair smells nice. Then, give the old “Hope you have fun tonight!” Mhmm, it works in this context too. Whoever came up with this baby was one smooth guy.
Alright kids, so what did we learn today? Recite after me: “Hope you have fun tonight!” Drop that phrase like it’s hot and you just may be able to have fun tonight too.
About TracyOneill Tracy is a freelance writer based out of Brooklyn obsessed with nutritional supplements, mediocre music, audacious (to put it politely) apparel, literary giants, and perfecting the fine art of the Sunday Bloody Mary.