You know that crap you see on MSN that’s there to distract you with mundane and/or bizarre trivia….like “Lose Weight While Eating” or “Ten Ways to See if He’s a Mass Murderer?” Obviously, I’m much too savvy to click on that shit.
But today I noticed “I Stalked My Boyfriend’s Ex” and thought, Big deal, who hasn’t?
When I met my husband, his Ex was living with a man she would later marry, but the divorce wasn’t final yet. Everything I heard about her was horrifying. On one of our first dates, he even showed me her ‘head-shots,’ because she was an Actress. I was shaken by the big actressy smile and the long blond bob.
When he went out of town, the Ex always took care of his cat. I suggested that it was time to let me take care of the cat, and after a lot of soul-searching (i.e., bitter arguing) he decided that the Ex and I would share the job.
I was furious but terrified of bumping into her. Instead, because it was nearly Easter, I left her a chocolate Easter bunny. I was trying to demonstrate how nice I was. She responded by leaving me a potted plant, with a little note that I still have somewhere. She dotted the i in her name with a little star.
I consulted a friend who gave me good advice: You can’t beat someone at their own game. This is advice I’ve passed on several times, that’s how good it is. She warned me that the Ex was known for her friendliness; if I kept trying to outdo her, I’d end up giving her the deed to my house and STILL she’d think of something to up the ante.
I gave up the niceness and went straight to pure seething hatred. She would not stay in line, even though she was about to marry someone else. On the eve of her marriage, she left a whimsical poem for my husband, just to keep her hand in, so to speak.
Time passed and I got pregnant. The Ex got pregnant too! She was like a horrible toothy spectre that wouldn’t stop haunting me with her legendary Friendliness and Kookiness. I had come to learn that she loved giving parties, wearing hats, and dressing up like a clown in her own TV show on the public access channel.
Finally, the Ex and I had our babies. My husband was invited to a wedding where the Ex would be in attendance. I geared up for it by dying my hair even blacker and wearing a tiny pleated Catholic schoolgirl skirt. Our first encounter was dreadful, even though I knew it was funny. She took my husband’s coat like she was still the wife and put it on a chair. I could barely look at her. She smiled in a way that showed her back molars. Her voice was loud and animated, like someone who has a show on the public access channel.
Our babies started crying and the Ex and I had to both get our boobs out to breastfeed. We began to talk shop. I tried to feel normal, as though we were two normal women with new babies. She remarked that her boobs lactated differently. I told her that, yeah, that happens. She leaned toward me and said dramatically “I call [my boobs] Comfy and Squirty.” I was speechless. All I could think to say was “Uh, I call mine Right and Left.”
God, I was obsessed with that Ex. For years, I would call her phone number on holidays just to hear her themed outgoing messages. On Saint Patrick’s day, she used an Irish accent.
All these years later, I can still get steamed when I think about her. She was the anti-me, and that was a big part of her mystique for me. Over time, I’ve come to feel more secure about being an angry inhibited brunette. I think I’m the best in my league, I guess. A loud vivacious blond can still irritate me, but that’s about it.
If you’ve never been pathologically jealous, you’ll have no idea of how awful it feels. But also too, you will never know the insurmountable pleasure of having a friend make a prank-call on your rival, and getting her to believe she’s just been offered a leading role in the sequel to the Wizard of Oz, called Beyond the Rainbow.