Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts | Matches blog

Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts


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Drinking to ease nerves on a first date. It's a good idea in theory and yes, if a stiff drink or two will take the edge off and make you less of a spaz then by all means. Just remember you are on a first date and not spring break. As far as boozing and relationships, I generally save my boatless booze cruise until the break-up. Break-ups suck. I don't know how else to really state it. They just plain suck. You were with someone yesterday and now they are gone and all you can do is try to remember how you were before you let the other person effect your life. You will be alright and 30 days from now you may not even remember their name. Of course 3 days from the break-up that person is still hanging around. Everywhere you turn there are constant reminders. In time your home, record collection, clothes, television schedule, and brain will be cleansed and the spirit of the last relationship will have vanished. How to cleanse, though... A long time ago I came up with a 3 point system that seems to work well. It takes 3 nights and when those nights occur are up to the person given time is a big part of the recovery and people move at their own pace with these kinds of things. I like to stretch my 3 nights out over three weeks. Alright, here is my system for exercising the demons of girlfriends past.

Night 1.
This night usually happens on the first Friday after the news has sunken in, all the disbelief is gone and explanations have been given to friends.
Step 1. Make a new playlist containing a lot of songs from the Lookout! Records catalog, years 90-2002. Add in a Muffs album or two, some New Order, a lot of Jawbreaker, some Zombies songs and two Elvis Costello albums.
Step 2. Get a 30 pack of High Life, clear my schedule and sacrifice a Friday night. Also, have a bottle of Jameson around for a pull or two when a song comes on that hits a nerve.
Step 3. Press play and get comfortable on the couch. Turn the tv on and keep it on mute. The nice thing is no matter what season the break-up occurs, there is always a Blackhawks, Cubs, Sox, or Bulls game on so if getting lost in the music takes a few songs, I can keep my mind on the game.
Step 4. Get to work on that 30 pack.
Step 5. This is the last and perhaps most crucial step. So the playlist is about at the end and although I told everyone I was going to drink a 30 pack, really I can only get through maybe 6 or so but in an effort to wake up with a smile on my face, get a slice of pizza and call it a night.

So the first night is basically just drinking and thinking. I do this time warp with music. At the beginning of each song there are thoughts of her but by the end I have pushed her out of the song and reclaimed it for myself. My brain is now chalk full of power chords and lessons learned from the masters of broken hearts. Saturday starts to feel pretty good once again.

Night 2.
This is the following weekend and again, giving up a Friday night and explaining to friends and my roommate that I cannot hang out but assure them in about a week or two I will be right back up to par.
Step 1. Shower and get dressed.
Step 2. Grab the Ashland bus and take a ride to Lakeview.
Step 3. Figure out which of my regular hole in the wall bars is the least crowded. Settle on one and claim a spot at the bar.
Step 4. Bully the jukebox. Load it full of anything and everything. Every album should get at least one song played.
Step 5. The final step. Return to my seat and start setting'em up and knocking'em down. Add some simple chit chat with those around me and the bartender.

This night is like my reintroduction to society. I am hanging out, talking to some people, maybe grabbing some advice from the bartender and if all goes well, make a new friend or two and wind up singing karaoke at Hidden Cove or playing arcade bowling at Carol's until well into Saturday morning.

Night 3.
The last of the boatless booze cruise nights. This night is more about rebirth than anything else. It has been three weeks and it is time to state that I am fine and at the end of the road with my recovery.
Step 1. Stock the bar, stock the fridge, and make a new playlist but this time just make it rock. No songs about how relationships suck and how I wish I could've or maybe I should've. The night for those songs was 2 weeks ago and I am not living in the past although and old stuff I haven't listened to in a while will undoubtedly be on heavy rotation.
Step 2. Grab my phone and call up friends.
Step 3. Tell them to come over and bring friends
Step 4. Hit play the play button and turn the music up.
Step 5. Again, the final step. Open the door, let them in and proceed to party.

Keep in mind this is not a pity party or any kind of victory party. I am now again celebrating my re-introduction to the single world and the mingling and the catching up reminds me that while I was set adrift momentarily by my last girlfriend, I am now back on land and getting ideas on how to move forward on my terms. Now, I am not recommending anyone go on a 3 day bender or drink themselves stupid. Don't use booze as a crutch and trade the person you became dependent on with alcohol because that my friend will get you no where. In the days between the Fridays I find myself working, cleaning, reading, writing, etc. to clear my mind so that by the time the weekend rolls around I am ready to relax and give all aspects of the person and relationship a good think. The key with all of it is find something that works for you like music and High Life seem to work for me. There is one final step: 30 days later take a look back and see the changes. The result is pleasantly surprising and perspective almost becomes intoxicating. I just wish I could have gotten to the guy in this story before his first date and told him to maybe save the passing out in the bathroom until after she breaks your heart...

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I find you intoxicating. Wait, I mean intoxicated

I made the initial contact. Of course he said he was just above six feet tall and worked out 3 or 4 times a week, loved Mexican food and Jazz music, had salt and pepper hair and wanted someone that was real risk taker. I suggested that we meet at a popular Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. I was nervous and excited because he sounded so perfect in the ad and over the phone. Well, this was a real lesson for me.

First of all I'm 5'2 and when I saw him and he stood up we were eye to eye. Second, the only working out he did was with a knife and fork because his body resembled something that reminded me of a fire plug (does Humpty Dumpty ring a bell). And that salt and pepper hair, well let's just say that what little he had was white. So, I thought, you gotta eat, so let's make the most of it.

We ordered a couple of margaritas to start and after the first drink, and with a definite slur he said he didn't know this was going to feel like "New Years Eve." He ordered another round, a few appetizer's and entree's. For some reason he started talking about getting certain parts of his body being waxed, I think you know where I'm going. I tried to steer the conversation in a different direction by talking about music, so I asked him about Jazz and mentioned that I was going to a club later because they were doing a tribute to Charlie "Bird" Parker. When he asked if he was going to "be attending" the event, I knew I was in trouble. We are now on the second drink and he excused himself to go to the bathroom. That's when I lost it! I started laughing so hard that I almost peed in my pants.

After about five minutes he still hadn't come back to the table. Our server came over and said "we have a problem. The man that you are with has passed out in the bathroom, and what should we do?" And I said " about what?" And he said " well, the check". So, I said " reach into his pocket, get a credit card and call him a cab because I'm outta here." And that's exactly what he did.

The next day he called me to say how much fun he had and could we do it again! No second date for me.