Last week, this article “To The Millennial I Left My Wife For (And 8 Parting Words of Advice)" made the rounds on the internet. In case you didn’t see it, a pouty, anonymous 30-year-old man tells his story of love and loss, and ends by offering his 21-year-old ex the lamest, blandest, most generic cereal box advice you’ve ever read. This article annoyed the shit out of me.
So I got creative and wrote a response from the perspective of his ex-girlfriend and posted it in the comments section. Obviously, I don’t know these people and I had no agenda other than just to write something weird and imaginative. Someone called my response “pop art”. I am the Andy Warhol of internet commenters.
Anyway, it’s copied and pasted below…
To The Moron Who Left His Wife For A Millennial
Dear “Anonymous,” or should I say Dear Phil,
Oops. Didn’t want the world knowing your identity? Well, I saw you clear as day through your melodramatic writing, so congratulations on getting my attention.
You began by comparing our relationship to “Mad Men,” which was a pleasant reminder of the sad, pathetic little world in your head. I should say, for the record, that I’ve never actually seen “Mad Men,” because, as you point out, I’m very young — basically just a baby, barely old enough to drink from a sippy cup. So forgive me for not understanding your Don Draper comparison. “Mad Men” comes on past my bedtime.
But don’t worry, Philip J. Burkhardt of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m sure you’re just like this Don Draper fellow: narcissistic, entitled, and so fucking interesting that a studio audience claps every time you take a dump. Is Don Draper also chubby and prematurely balding?
I noticed that you finally managed to use the word “relationship” in your article. Whenever I attempted to use the “R” word, you’d immediately shut down and dissolve into an empty shell of yourself, laying lifeless on the couch for hours, like Kermit when the puppeteer had the day off. So congratulations on your emotional progress. But I noticed a few, shall we say… mistakes? Falsehoods? Exaggerations? So I wanted to write an open “anonymous” letter back to you just to set the record straight.
For starters, we were not together for a year. We dated for 3 months. Actually, 2 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days to be exact. Now, I’m not sure what kind of calendar you use to measure time, but traditionally 3 months is considered significantly less than a year. Also, your “secret crush” on me wasn’t exactly a secret. We met at the company holiday party, just a few weeks after I started my glamorous, unpaid internship in the mailroom. After half a glass of Pinot Grigio, you came up to me and told me I looked like Tiffani Amber Thiessen. When I said I had no idea who that was, you freaked out and stumbled away, only to stumble back around every 5 minutes or so with a new picture of her on your phone. I didn’t run into you again until 2 months later, when you became my boss.
After my internship was over, the company offered me a part-time job in the billing department doing data entry. It fit with my class schedule so I gladly accepted the position, and was shocked to learned that my direct supervisor was Phil, the overgrown frat boy from the holiday party.
But you were nice. Maybe even sweet. You used every excuse in the book to “swing by my desk” to “touch base,” which was usually just an excuse to see if I wanted to grab a drink after work. The wedding band on your finger made your advances seem innocent, so I forgave your holiday party behavior, dismissing it as a bad boozy night.
Over drinks, you got me to open up about my stresses at school. You kindly agreed to do all my data entry for me so that I could use work time to catch up on class assignments. It wasn’t long before the “secret crush” was reciprocated, but the ring on your finger kept my feelings politely reserved for the privacy of my own head.
But you got bolder. A single beer after work wasn’t enough anymore. After an evening of tequila shots to celebrate the A+ I got on a paper that you wrote for me, you mustered up the courage to ask if I had a boyfriend. I shrugged it off as an innocent inquiry, and didn’t think more of it, until the following week when it was time for the annual Leadership and Team Building picnic.
That picnic was magical. You were instrumental in the winning the mailbag sack relay race, and we would have won the multitasking quickfire challenge if Guillermo from marketing didn’t shit the bed. But Team Blue came in a respectable second place and I remember wishing that day could last forever.
When it came time to break down the tents and go home, you stole me away for a stroll around the duck pond. I said “this place smells like homeless people farts” and you laughed. You said I looked beautiful covered in paint pellets and then you asked if you could kiss me. I asked, “Aren’t you married?” and you said, “Nah, we’re basically divorced,” so we kissed and in that moment our “relationship” was good.
But it soured about as fast the milk that you constantly forget to refrigerate. So now things are officially over between us, Phil, please know that no matter how many forlorn selfies you post to Instagram, no matter now many Dave Matthews lyrics you tweet, I will not start texting you back again. So as a parting gift to you, I would like to throw your advice back in your face:
1. “Work hard.” I know, I know. You hate working hard. Most days, you do a grueling 30 minutes worth of actual work before settling into your daily 7 and a half hour routine of hanging out on Facebook and flirting with interns. But perhaps if you start actually working a bit harder, you’ll find yourself climbing through the ranks of your company rather than treading water in the same windowless office, refusing to face your fears, slowly sinking to your death. But what do I know, I’m just some dumb millennial you left your wife for.
2. “Value your family and friends.” So, for instance, maybe don’t leave your wife of seven years, nor your two young kids, for a 21-year-old who didn’t ask you to. I mean, your wife is one thing, but your kids are counting on you as an example, so try to set one… in the time you now have with them every other weekend. As a chlid-free millennial, I don’t have a lot of other parenting advice, but I’m not worried about you. You have a knack for being patronizing.
3. “Make your bed.” Make your own damn bed. You are a college-educated, fully-employed, white, American male who has been given all the privileges in the world, so why not take the two minutes to make your bed, showing that you aren’t an undeserving piece of yak shit. I’m terribly sorry that you don’t have a mommy or a nanny or a wife or a topless maid to make your bed for you, but perhaps it’s time you learn to be a big boy. Oh, and after you’ve made your bed, don’t unmake it by fucking another intern.
4. “Don’t give up on your dreams but be flexible and open to the idea that what you thought would make you happy can and will change.” Isn’t that a bit contradictory? I mean, if the Wright brothers were “flexible with their dreams,” then maybe they would’ve settled for just a really cool paper airplane. So why did you include this in your advice list? Is it because you yourself were too chicken shit to pursue your childhood dream of being a sports journalist, so you settled for some mid-level corporate gig with benefits and a parking spot by the dumpster? Well, thanks for the inspiration, Dr. King. I’ll be sure to file this away in the #nope folder in my heart.
5. “Be comfortable with your body.” Remember that day in the Regal Cinemas parking lot where I was struggling to put my pants back on in the back seat of your Jeep? You said something like, “Got a little extra junk in the trunk there, Meg?” and I snapped at you and gave you the silent treatment all the way back to the office. Later you brought me flowers and when I finally resumed speaking to you, I told you to never bring up the subject of my weight ever again. But the truth is, Phil, real women’s bodies store fat. Now, I know that Hollywood makes you think that all 21-year-olds have asses as firm as a bowling balls, but that’s not the case. My 21-year-old ass has cellulite and fat and awesomeness and I’m very comfortable with that, thank you very much. And you should consider yourself extremely lucky that you ever got anywhere near it.
6. “Don’t be afraid to give yourself to someone else.” Huh. If memory serves, that’s the same exact line you said to me when we were in bed, about to have sex for the first time in my dorm room. I told you that I had just gotten my heart broken by some loser named Roger from my history class who slept with me for six weeks only to get back together with his ex back home. You told me not to be afraid, that you could never hurt me like Roger, and then you cried like a baby when we were through. I remember thinking, well there’s no way this weeping teddy bear of a man could be harmful or destructive. I was wrong. So, nah, I don’t think I’m gonna take this advice. Instead, I’m going to proceed with caution.
7. “Don’t be afraid to seek help.” I’m not afraid to seek help. In fact, seeking help from family and friends is what gave me the strength to end this, once and for all. You, on the other hand, went to therapy a total of three times before you deemed yourself “totally fixed”. When I told you not to give up on therapy, you locked yourself in your bathroom and shouted, “What do you know, Meg! You were born during the Clinton administration!”
8. “Don’t let society define you.” Interesting advice from a man who let society define him pretty much his whole life until he fucked it up by leaving his wife for an intern. I actually think you did well by buying into the lie. You got a degree, got a job, got married, had a couple kids. It’s only when you flipped society the bird that your life went to shambles. I mean, what did you think was gonna happen? That we’d live happily ever after? If you had listened to society, maybe you wouldn’t be in this mess.
Goodbye and good luck, Phil. I’m sorry I’m not Tiffani Amber Thiessen. Sorry I couldn’t fill the gaping hole in your heart and I’m sorry I can’t name more than three Bill Murray movies. I hope you figure out how to masturbate again. Have you tried doing it in front of a mirror? That might help, since you’re the world’s biggest narcissist.