I’m the queen of broken hearts, so I was stoked to meet others who’d experienced the same highs and lows. Last Wednesday night, scribes who’d dumped and been dumped were reading their essays from Love is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Break-Ups, Bad Relationships and Broken Hearts.
Despite the rain, the pleasantly bookish Housing Works in Nolita was crammed to the gills with the relationship weary. In the book’s intro, Neal Pollack wisely notes that it’s nice to know that no matter how badly you’ve screwed up your love life, someone else has done far worse.
Dan Kennedy, Said Sayrafiezadeh, Amanda Stern, Wendy McClure and Maud Newton read from their prose, while giving those knowing glances literati often exchange. It didn’t surprise me they’d been unlucky in love.
Funny moments are included in the book: In her comic book tale, Emily Flake sends an apology card for bad sex. Did you know Gypsy women pinch each other’s nipples in greeting? That’s mentioned in Gary Shteyngart’s amusing piece. D.E. Rasso relates her oh-so-familiar obsessive unrequited love for a heartless Black Flag–loving dude (you know the type). And Brock Clark’s tale of waking up in a pool of vomit and bleeding wrists has zing. This tome of the heart confirmed my one cardinal rule: Never say, “I love you,” to anyone.
Of course, I met no one at the reading, which was full of single women and a few smug guys. Screw them. I’d brought along Finn, my former employee and a strapping 22-year-old law school student and commiserated afterward over a Guinness. A few of our misguided friends had just hooked up. “There’s nothing worse than being around a happy couple in love,” Finn said. “It’s so sickening.”