Happy belated birthday! I hope you’ve given some thought to my suggestions in the last letter I wrote to you. It seems perhaps you have since you’ve maintained a healthy weight over the last few months and haven’t yo-yo’d all over the scale. Personally, I think you look great with a little meat on your bones and it’s not your size that I’m writing about now — it’s your love life.
Oh, Jessica. Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. I heard Tony dumped you the night before your birthday and I was just furious for you! What kind of jerk dumps a girl the night before her Ken-and-Barbie birthday?! But then I heard that the impetus may have been some texts Tony found on your phone from your ex, John Mayer. Oh, Jessica! You and I both know a man doesn’t go snooping through your phone or email unless he’s got reason to be suspicious! So what gives? Are you really still hung up on John?
Look, I have some friendly, big-sisterly advice for you. Go on vacation somewhere with some friends — take Ken the hair guy and your assistant/BFF, CeCe, or whatever her name is. Go to Hawaii or Bali or someplace where you can lie around in the sun for a few months and drink fruity cocktails with little paper umbrellas and have your hair braided and get henna tattoos. Take up some hobby that doesn’t involve self-promotion. Like, learn how to bake or, you know, knit. Knitting’s cool. But knitting things for ex-boyfriends you still pine over isn’t, so don’t do that. Oh, and don’t bake any cupcakes for them either. In fact, try not to think about them at all. Try not to think about any man for a while. And if you do feel thoughts threatening to creep into that pretty head of yours, repeat this mantra to yourself: THERE IS LIFE OUTSIDE A RELATIONSHIP. Keep repeating it until you feel a glimmer or its truth.
I’d like to see you go at least six months without dating anyone. I’m talking not so much as a Friday night wings and beer double-date with a Ashlee and Pete until 2010. Resist the urge to call, text, email or IM any potential love interest, and definitely avoid any ex. Clear your psychic and personal space of relics from relationships past. Quit watching “The Newlyweds” on DVD, or old Cowboys games on cable sports, or that YouTube video of John playing “Human Nature” at Michael Jackson’s memorial last week. It’s not healthy, Jess. It’s not good for you. Have Ken wash those men right out of your hair! For good!
Once you’ve gone six months without a date, you’ve exorcised your relationship demons, and you’ve cleaned your dating palette, you can start to tread ever so slowly into the shallow end of the dating pool again. Dip a toe in with a quick coffee date, maybe a little flirty texting, and make sure to take your sweet, sweet time before diving in fully and getting your hair all wet. If you follow these rules, Jess, and you truly give the single life a a real go, you might find you like it. As both a formerly happy single woman and a formerly emotionally tortured girlfriend who pines for the boys who dump her, I can say with utmost confidence, the former is definitely preferable. And the latter? Well, it’s just a little pathetic.