I Think My Exes Are Awesome (And Other Reasons the Lulu App Makes Me Really Angry)

I was having drinks with a new friend lately and she asked me, “Oh, god. You’re not one of those magical people who manage to stay friends with their exes, are you?”

I gotta admit, the question threw me. The answer’s sorta tricky. On one hand: there are dudes I have dated that I have no idea what they’re doing now. On the other: those tend to be, like, the guys I dated in high school, and let’s face it: you probably don’t know what anyone you hung out with in high school is doing right now either. On one hand: there are some wonderful guys I have dated that I now consider my friends. On the other hand: maybe that IS totally weird.  Is that weird? I’m really not sure. 

I have dated some pretty sweet, wonderful, handsome, funny guys, and I probably dated them because they possessed those exact qualities. So when I stopped dating one of those guys, it stands to reason that someone with those qualities would be a great person to have around, right? I mean, we clearly didn’t work as a couple, but– we’re both awesome people! Let’s skip right to the part where we give each other bro-like fistbumps when we go out and wingman for one another.

On the other hand, let’s be real. I’m also, you know, a woman. Which means that when I stopped dating any of the aforementioned sweet, wonderful, handsome, funny dudes, I spent endless weeks trying the patience of every other friend in my life as I cried big mascara tears, drank gin and tonics while ending a lot of sentences with “…. but it’s just not fair, you know??!and pretending I was totally fine, like totally totally fine when new pictures of hot girls with Pantene hair started popping up on their Facebook wall. (Confidential to everyone I’ve ever subjected to any of this nonsense: I owe you big time, and the next time anyone does any stupid jackass thing to one of you, I keep a sleeve of Thin Mints and a bottle of Bluecoat in the back of the freezer for just such occasions).

I think it’s possible to be friends with an ex. I also think that this takes a lot of time. I also think it’s a really good rule that the things you say about your ex in the throes of breaking up should never be repeated, to anyone, ever, outside of the context of that sacred crying-on-your-best-friend’s-shoulder-situation. I am sure I’m not the only woman who has ever found herself saying some downright nasty things in the aftermath of a breakup, things I would never ever ever repeat in the light of day. And the good friend who is patiently not even mentioning that you’re weeping big boozy salty tears on their new shirt? It’s kind of his or her job to agree with you. Even when you’re being a big sad sappy baby and you both intellectually know that you’ll snap out of it soon and be totally fine and feel awful that you told someone else about that weird thing he said in bed that once.

So that’s why my brain exploded when I learned today that THIS EXISTS.

The Lulu app describes itself as “Sex and the City Meets Facebook.” I’m describing it as “Bullshit That Made Me Super Effing Angry.”   

The basic premise is that allows ladies to review the men in their life in much the same way as writing a restaurant review on Yelp. Ladies only – men are filtered out as you have to log in via your Facebook account. Completely anonymous. It claims to be “a discrete, private place for girls to talk about the most important issues in their lives: their relationships.”

Because nothing says discretion and privacy to me like blasting my opinions all over the internet.

When I was eighteen years old, a few weeks before I entered my freshman year of college, I went to an alumni event at a fancy-pants country club. My college had been an all-male institution until the mid-1970’s, and most of the women at this event were the spouses of the older graduates. This one older gentleman, already pretty red in the nose, introduced himself to the gaggle of incoming freshmen clustered together. There were eleven of us there, ten of whom were women. He pointed this fact out, hiccuped once, and said “You know, back in my day, there weren’t any women on campus. No, what they’d do is, they’d bus ‘em in from the other colleges or the trade schools nearby, see, for us to take ‘em to dances and what-have-you. And so we, we’d all stand around and look right for the legs as they got off that bus. At least I would. I’ve always been a leg man myself, and we’d say amongst ourselves, ‘That one’s a seven!’ or ‘Ohhh boy, that one’s a three, Richard, she’s all yours.’ Yes, things sure have changed around here, let me tell you.” He then belittled my choice of wanting to major in English Literature (“Good luck finding a job with that one, sweetheart!”) and staggered off, hopefully to die behind a well-manicured bush somewhere on that golf course.

Kidding. Sort of. My point is: This kind of sexism was disgusting then, and it’s disgusting now, and the anecdote from that drunk wrinkly old asshole is no way different than that kitschy pink app that you can download for free on iTunes. I’m appalled because it’s a version of sexualizing some awesome dudes in my life, a way of looking at them not as people but as someone to reduce to a series of hashtags like #NoChemistry or #JustFriends or #Big.Feet. (Seriously? I mean… seriously. How long until they add #GrowerNotAShower or #HangsToTheRight?) I’m angry because the woman who created this should know better: it’s turning the tables on men, but perpetuating the same kind of catcalling and sexualizing that has made us really angry for a long time. It doesn’t feel good to be viewed as a sexual object. We of all people should know this.

But mostly I’m angry because I can all too easily imagine the world in which thousands of women are upset about a breakup and now have quick and easy access to an app specifically enabling them share their hurt feelings with the rest of the internet. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about most of the guys I have dated – now. But in the moment of nursing my own wounded ego, I’ve said some horrible things about guys I actually think are awesome. And I would never want to hear those words again, let alone commit them to public record.  

You can be friends with your ex. I’m proud that I’m friends with many of mine. And I don’t think it’s weird at all.

But I’m not going to review you on Lulu, if it’s all the same to you. 

 

(ps: click here for a more in-depth look at how this thing works). Image

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9 thoughts on “I Think My Exes Are Awesome (And Other Reasons the Lulu App Makes Me Really Angry)

  1. Pingback: Aren’t Exes Funny? | anonymous real thoughts

  2. Yep, it is interesting how people spend their time- like complaining about exes or whatever. I saw a recent post on facebook (by a lady named Merja) that said something like “Girls whine and blame. Women take responsibility and focus on what they value creating.”

    I’m taking a moment to note that first it CAN feel good to be viewed as a sexual object. Some women choose a profession in which they receive sometimes huge amounts of money to be viewed as a sexual object (from models to singers to exotic dancers to… prostitutes, gold-diggers, and of course porn stars.)

    Goldie Hawn and Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball were not especially ugly, right? How about Beyonce or Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus or Shania Twain or Pink or Britney Spears?

    Even the “pre-teen pop stars” were healthy, attractive kids. That matters to the MTV marketing execs and for good reasons….

    So, human males of a certain age and certain functionality of eyesight will often notice when an organism of mature female humanity is present- especially if they have been in an all-boy school (or a warzone) and have not seen a woman for weeks or months. Sailors in port are not known for their diplomacy, but for their crudeness, right?

    Anyway, in recent years, I have had several exes (females, by the way) that I have stayed friendly with (even after some transitional turmoil). This was new to me. I was not used to it but I was okay with it…. up to a point.

    Note: I am now about to talk about a recent ex. In a recent case, I did get suspicious (“is she still hoping to get back with me?”) and intentionally stay more withdrawn / conservative (rather than pretend like I actually believed her when she said things like “oh no, I am totally fine socializing with you” when her tone of voice did not sound convincing at all- as well as her behavior).

    There. That was the guy version of Lulu. That was my whole comment. No name. No details. Weird, huh?

    Anyway, it simply had never been part of my experience to stay friends, since I was typically “going out of my way” to spend time with the females of my choice, like in contrast to people who date co-workers, not that I would have never done that. I just normally HAD to go out of my way to find compatible women! 😉

    But that was not always the case. I used to be a musician actively playing in local bars. So, it was not going out of my way to go to bars that I was getting paid to go to.

    In that setting, I used to be around a lot of women who were very focused on presenting themselves as sexual objects to attract the attention of men. They wear a fair amount of make-up and take time to promote healthy skin. They spend huge amounts of time shopping for clothes and doing their hair. They are “normal” young women, including typical sorority girls. They went to malls as teens (if they lived near one). They go to the bathroom together. This is not normal male behavior, by the way.

    Also, one of my girlfriends said something about a particular piece of my anatomy to my sister. I did not like that. I think i was even present at the time (as I do not know how else I would have known about it.)

    In fact, I did not even think that my girlfriend’s comment (about my anatomy) was serious until about 7 years later when another girlfriend said a similar thing, but phrased it more precisely and then I thought “oh, that must be what the other one meant!” At that point, I was like “oh, well, that is simple enough,” but just don’t talk to my sister about stuff like that.

    Talk to your own female friends about what you like and what you love and what you hate. Do not blurt out extreme comments the first day that you ever meet my sister… while I am there.

    There, I got off in my own little imaginary friend conversation for a minute. Sorry. I’ll go back to being a guy now. For those of you who do not know how to translate what I just said, what that means is that now I will stop communicating, stop expressing myself, stop sharing. I know- it must be quite a shock.

    • Just pointing out that there’s a difference between “being sexually attractive” as one of many attributes and “being a sexual object”–not so much a person as a single-purpose object. Most people–even people who like the first, positive kind of attention, and invest a lot of time getting it–don’t like it when you pay so much attention to their sexual aspects that you forget/ignore the rest: catcalling (forgetting people don’t like being heckled), rating you on the internet (forgetting to respect your privacy), talking about your dick (forgetting you’re related to someone in the room).
      As for gold-diggers/strippers/prostitutes enjoying being treated as sexual objects… they enjoy MONEY, lol 🙂

  3. And one must just remember that albeit horrible phrase ‘one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure’… I could go on with tirades of how horrible I think my ex is, but if I am perfectly honest the main problem was that we were just completely unsuited for each other. Judging by comments from his new girlfriend, he is one of the few good ones and lucky is she to have found such an amazing guy.
    Really – the app isn’t that just for girls who don’t have friends that they can bitch with a bit after a break up? Surely it’s nothing to attract a new and better suited candidate with?!

  4. My ex tried to convince me I needed an exorcism, and we are still friends. And for the love of chocolate I will never understand why any other woman in the world ever let my BF go – although I am happy they did, because otherwise I would have had to steal him, and that would not have been nice.

    And THAT is why we don’t need these apps.

    (Plus: “The most important things in their lives”? Really? Well, there would be books and plants and cats and friends and music and more books and food and cookies and peanut butter and feminism and walks in the wood and the new car and… well, eventually relationships will pop up, but not even among the top ten.)

  5. Lol… Buy a Cosmo mag and a martini… There is no way to logicise relationships. Humans are amusing.

    Although what’s your opinion on Taylor Swifting (My best songs come from break ups :S )

  6. Seriously, Lulu app? I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that app seriously fails to take into consideration that itches be cray cray or the fact that it doesn’t even give men the ability to 1) defend themselves 2) hear what women have to say.

    I’m reminded of the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted ends up on the same first date a 7 years later. Instead of bashing each other they actually say what went WRONG with the date. Do I really expect that to happen in real life, no, but honestly wouldn’t that be a little more productive. What a mess.

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