It's not easy being me. Sure, I'm pretty good at telling other people how to run their lives, but where am I supposed to go when I've got a problem? My ego won't allow me to write to other advice columnists, and the last shrink I saw was a little too quick on the draw with the happy pills. I've been having a bit of a hard time of it lately, and I've been unsure of where to look for answers. Then I remembered a mentor from my early 20s. . . .
The night I broke up with the boy I still love, Madonna's "Express Yourself" was my song of choice—he pissed me off mightily, so I expressed myself by dumping a cocktail over his head. I'm not prone to tantrums, but according to Mrs. Ritchie, Boyfriend was supposed to be treating me "like a queen on a throne" and giving me "a big strong hand to lift me to a higher ground." Instead, he forced me to choose between dumping his ass or stenciling "doormat" across my forehead. Madonna gave me the courage to pick the former option: "Second best is never enough, you'll do much better, baby, on your own." So here I am again. Alone.
Because I'm feeling like such a failure in the ways of love, I decided to consult my own personal savior, Ms. Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone Ritchie.
Dear Goddess Madonna,
My now-ex-boyfriend would disappear every single time we had a problem. I'd be itching for a fight, only to find that I couldn't find him! He wouldn't take my calls or answer my e-mails. This drove me insane! Instead, he'd wait a couple days until I missed him more than I hated him, and then he'd resurface. What the hell is up with that?
For this answer, I looked to Madonna's latest multiplatinum release, Music. She assures me "it doesn't pay to give your heart away to a runaway lover" on track three. And while it's true that "it's amazing what a boy can do," it's also true that "a man can tell a thousand lies." Hmmm.
I know firing my boyfriend was the right thing to do, but I miss him so terribly much. I know you went through a similar painful period after your marriage to screen star Sean Penn went south. How did you deal with the breakup?
Listen to any of her records and it's plain that though she has a ton of money and zero body fat, Madonna knows from pain. But unlike most of us (OK, me) who rant, rave, and throw alcoholic beverages to express displeasure, Madge waxes philosophic on her Grammy-Award-winning William Orbit- produced creation, Ray of Light: "Freedom comes when you learn to let go, creation comes when you learn to say no." (Unfortunately, this record was recorded around the time that she embraced yoga and all that "Om Shanti" Kabbalah mystical crap, too; frankly, that New Age stuff just confuses me.)
OK, Mrs. Ritchie,
I let go and I have my freedom, but sometimes I feel like I want him back. I really miss him and I know he misses me, but he really fucked up and I don't know if I can forgive him. And even if I did, he'd piss me off again—men aren't known for their ability to change. A girl starts to feel like a jackass after a while, you know. I'm torn.
Unfortunately, in my Material Girl listening frenzy, I'm getting some mixed messages. In my all-time fave Madonna song, "Express Yourself," she predicts, "and when you're gone he might be ready/to think about the love he once had." That's right, buddy: Who's sorry now?
But when I switch back to the admittedly more enlightened Ray of Light, I hear, "there's no greater power than the power of goodbye." But wait—"Express Yourself" claims "he'll be back on his knees"! What's a girl to do? Do I take him back on his knees, or do I "learn to say goodbye"? Madge, you are so right—life is a mystery.
Romantic mystery? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.