High-School Confidential

Dear Dategirl,

I'm a 17-year-old guy. My girlfriend broke up with me two days after my birthday and the day after my school's homecoming dance. Ever since then, I've been so depressed. I think all the girls at my school must hate me, because none of them talk to me. I used to have friends, but since that day I've been distant and wanting to talk to no one. I guess what makes it harder is that I spent a lot of time with her—more than any girlfriend I'd had before. She broke up with me for the stupidest reason and went out with another guy two days after she dumped me. It feels like my heart is ripped in half, and I can't trust anyone anymore because I'm afraid that person will take everything away from me. So now all I do is listen to the saddest songs, wonder if she ever thinks about me anymore, and write songs about my depression and how much I hate my life and wish I was dead.

Sad in Georgia

Hi Sad,

You're going to get through this. I know that's hard to believe right now, but I swear, you will! I was about your age the first time my heart got busted into bits by a careless boy. Days were spent in bed, sobbing inconsolably, the Buzzcocks' "I Believe" on infinite repeat. Sadly, my most recent broken heart wasn't much different, save the soundtrack and the absence of my mom shrieking that I get up and go to school. I might've been older and allegedly wiser this time round, but believe me, the sobbing remained the same.

That's the sucky part; it doesn't get less painful with age. But it's not all bad, because along with wrinkles, you also gain perspective. Once you've been gutted a few times, you start to realize that it's all part of being alive—the bad parts are inevitably sandwiched by good, and to paraphrase Ms. Gloria Gaynor, you will survive. Don't let people belittle your pain because you're young. The first time is the worst because it's such a shock to your system. (Once you get to be my age, you start being shocked when it doesn't happen!)

Let's talk about getting dumped for a moment. All of the most interesting people have been dumped at least once. It's painful and humiliating, and though it hurts like a motherfucker, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. You inevitably learn something, even if it's as obvious as stay away from aging punk rockers with alcohol issues (oops, projecting!) or cruel-hearted cheerleader types. I have a friend who was in his mid-40s the first time he got the shaft. This is unheard of unless you've spent the first 3.5 decades of your life in a coma or a convent. He was outraged that someone had the temerity to dump the mighty him (who will remain nameless). When he called to rant on about how this kind of thing didn't happen to him (yeah, right, only losers like me and you—I think not!), I gently reminded him that everybody plays the fool sometime. "Not me!" howled he. Turns out the only reason he'd avoided it for so long is because he'd always pull the pre- emptive strike. Who wants to spend their life in a paranoiac state of red alert? Not me— and not you, either.

Instead of wishing you were dead, listen to the Smiths (or whatever you kids listen to nowadays), cry your sweet little eyes out for a few days, and then force yourself to do something you used to consider fun. And write those sad songs of yours. The best work sometimes comes out of an emotional ass-kicking.

You sound like a smart, sensitive guy, which is a rare thing. I'm sure the girls don't hate you—I'll bet you've got that moody broody thing going on that the chickies all love (remember Jordan Catalano? Meow!). But you're probably not looking too approachable right now. This may not be much comfort to you, but all my favorite people were miserable throughout high school. It's like the price of admission to an interesting adulthood.

(Important note: If you are even remotely considering suicide, please talk to a counselor!)

In the dumps? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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