by Marissa Macy
When your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend arrives at your restaurant of choice, you must make appropriate eye contact and wave. It is not acceptable, as you have done in the past, to run into the bathroom and hide for forty-five minutes. And while it is not necessary to pull out a chair for her, you should, at the very least, sit at the same table.
Once seated, engage in friendly small talk. The following things are NOT considered small talk: reminding her that she retains no visiting rights for your boyfriend’s cat, telling her that it’s inappropriate to ask your boyfriend for rides to the airport, or insisting that it really is kind of weird that she still hangs out with your boyfriend’s mom.
When the waiter arrives, order food. Something light is a good choice: a salad or wrap is ideal. A heavy meal may cause indigestion in this situation. Ordering an appetizer to share is an excellent way to diffuse the tension.
The period in between receiving your beverages and when your lunch is served is the best time to broach any uncomfortable topics. Nobody wants to eat their Waldorf salad while discussing touchy feelings about your boyfriend and his ex going to a friend’s wedding together! Ease into these topics, and maintain decorum as much as possible. There is no need to bring up that one time they slept together when you and your boyfriend were on break. It’s best to discuss softer, broader subjects: boundaries, want for respect, Freudian theory on the male psyche.
Around the time your food arrives, she may get defensive. Go ahead and enjoy your lightly spritzed salad and let her explain her inappropriate affections towards your boyfriend. She may assure you that despite understanding your concern, they are merely old pals.
At this point, it may be your instinct to do one of the following:
1) Flip the table, jettisoning her untouched soup-of-the day onto her face. While smoothing out your skirt, adopt a smirk and make an impassioned threat that uses the phrases: “I meant what I said at that birthday party four years ago,” “I’m the new sheriff in town,” and “Mine! Mine! Mine!”
2) Fall into a trap of niceties. When she tells you that she would never sleep with your boyfriend, you nod along. You become convinced that communication is just the right medicine! The three of you will get along very nicely now that you’ve heard her side of the story! What a whacky situation!
Please avoid these instincts. When she has finished what she has to say, perform a two-minute long rebuttal. It is permissible to mention that she perhaps texts your boyfriend too often, but do try to keep it pleasant. Do not mention the arts and crafts she makes him.
It is now time to conclude your lunch. While it is frowned upon to order dessert, it is admissible if you are taking it to-go. After paying the bill (it is best to make her pay), the two of you will be tempted to go your separate ways and never make eye contact again. Instead, you two should walk silently to the nearest office supply store. Buy a poster board. Draw a venn diagram. On the left of the venn diagram, write all the ways your boyfriend has emotionally let you down. On the right, have her do the same. Analyze the data and write the results in the almond-shaped part in the middle.
Now, you must find a very dark, rarely used conference room that can be rented for a small fee. It should have no windows whatsoever, but do feel free to put out some old fruit salad or instant coffee for refreshments.
You will now need to trap your boyfriend and bring him to the conference room. Depending on how well the team-building has gone, this may be an activity you and his ex can do together.
Once there, please use mild restraints to attach your boyfriend to an office chair in the dark conference room. Using the projector that came with the room rental, you and his ex-girlfriend must show him a powerpoint presentation transcribed from your venn diagram. You and her should alternate presenting the powerpoint slides. A laser pointer is recommended, but not required. Please remember that it is no longer the time to mention how she slept in his bed while you were studying abroad. Focus on synergy.
When the powerpoint concludes, your boyfriend will try to defend himself by saying: “We’re just friends,” “ I didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” and “Untie me!”. Neither of you should engage with him. Instead, feed him a spoonful of fruit salad or give him a few sour cream and onion chips. Then, turn off all the lights in the conference room and lock the door.
Leave him there forever.
Marissa Macy is a comedian, filmmaker and writer based in Austin, TX. In reality, she's an eager youngster with her fingers in a lot of overly ambitious pies. For more of Marissa, find her on marissamacy.com or on her satirical food Instagram, @bed_eater.