There is something unusually reassuring about hanging out with boys after a break-up. My girlfriends get me and always say the right thing, but for some reason, hearing it from a boy sounds so much better. Maybe because they do not see confronting my emotions as the solution to my mourning. Rather, the solution lies in beer.
There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to that effect: “Beer Bad”.
Despite her superhuman strength and larger-than-life destiny, Buffy is susceptible to very human moments – like that feeling of confusion and worthlessness following what she didn’t think was going to be a one-night stand, but was. Against her deepest desires for and assumptions about the date, it wound up a one-night stand that meant nothing to him, but meant so much to her. So when Parker (his name was Parker) didn’t call after the fact, Buffy felt the way most women feel about a situation they have no control over: that something was wrong with her. That she was undesirable, that she did something or said something that would incite a seemingly drastic behavioural change in a person.
She has not done a thing. She is awesome. Parker clearly has way more issues than she does and she’s a fucking slayer! But she doesn’t see that yet. She justifies his “intimacy issues” by mentioning the death of his father; to which Willow responds, “Not interested. Tell it to the bartender.” Who cares what his reasons are for going from girl to girl, unable to commit? Buffy must move on, right? Right, but easier said than done…
For every ounce of her that calls him a stupid face, she equally wants him back. She wants him to recognize that he was wrong to treat her that way. And even though I scoff at the delusional things Buffy says in defence of Parker, I am doing the same thing in my situation. It all goes back to this idea of self-worth. Buffy (and I) know deep down that we are valuable and to have these boys threaten to take away our feelings of worth, it hurts. There is pride involved.
So when a group of charming gents come along and invite Buffy to have drinks with them, call her beautiful and appreciate her company, who is she to say no? Because a member of the opposite sex rejected her, she feels comfort when a group of the opposite sex welcomes her. And it’s kind of a blow to the egos of her close friends who have spent hours, oh I don’t know, listening to her emotional ramblings, helping her rationalize the situation, boost her morale, you know, be there for her! Yet, somehow, these drunken, non-committal social settings with boys are what get us to forget the boy because we are surrounded by other boys and we stand out as the only girl (and we like that we stand out as the only girl). This is all fine, but it is counter-productive. It’s a distraction from the time Buffy or I should be spending trying to fall in-love with ourselves.
Buffy got to demonstrate her value at the end of the episode. She saves Parker’s life, he recognizes her worth and apologizes for the way he treated her. Buffy got what she wanted as well as just desserts – she conked him over the head with a large branch. I don’t have that convenient luxury written for me. And maybe I do want my ex to hold a bouquet of roses in one hand and a tub of ice cream in the other while apologizing for his inexplicable change of heart… I know that what I truly want is to be whole again. Alone.