Dear Levenson: Why do certain ex-girlfriends keep, like, reappearing? – Ben, Armstrong, BC
For most guys, the end of an unhappy relationship is often the last time you'll ever hear from that person who, y'know, made you so unhappy.
This phenomenon has been observed for generations! The great novelist Saul Bellow once explained: “When a woman is through with a man, she is through with him completely.” Before him, the Latin poet Virgil wrote: “A woman is an ever fickle and changeable thing.” And my ex, Katherine, put it perhaps more eloquently: “I'm itchin' to rip the tags off some brand-new cocks!”
Point is, once they're gone, they tend to stay gone. Poof! Just like that. Total de-materialization. It can be pretty spooky, actually. I'm not sure where they go, but I'm guessing it serves Bellinis.
It's weird – but what are you gonna do, you know? Oh, maybe this is wishful thinking, but – I like to think of my ex-girlfriends as having experienced death – and consequentially, as a pile of dead people, have all passed into a kind of limited afterlife, which is actually just a black void with no Yelp reviews.
I guess that's bad. But look: Given that there's no evidence to support the contrary – besides maybe Facebook – what, then, accounts for those unsettled spirits who keep poppin' in with a text message?
Do you know what I mean? Why are they here? What went wrong? Has their transition into the Great Beyond been easier than getting out of their AT&T contract? Where the fuck are those emojis coming from? And why don't they stop!?
For every five ex-girlfriends who pass quietly into the unknown, you get one who keeps showing up – sporadically, but predictably – like leap year – just to politely remind you that the Universe itself – the fabric of everything – is so frail and shitty that every now and then we gotta’ help it walk down the stairs.
Who goes there! What do you want from me? And why does it end with a smiley face?! I've experienced visitations from certain female apparitions for a decade! Yes! Wandering in and out, real relaxed, like the ghost in Macbeth – like: “Ha-ha, motherfucker! As far as you're concerned, this pussy is deceased!”
It's positively haunting.
What, exactly, do these ex-girlfriends want? (It's not my penis, because I've offered that to them as a sacrifice). No one knows. And listen: I don't like scary shit. I don't watch horror movies. The closest I ever got to a haunted house was living with a publicist.
The only deduction I can make is that these phantasm broads are “friendly” – a little more Slimer than Gozer, you know? (Unfortunately, one that comes to mind has also recently acquired the body of Slimer. Sorry, Katherine – but on St. Patrick's Day, it's particularly uncanny.)
The point is not to question why they're here, but rather, just to avoid gettin' hit with the ectoplasm. A spectre summoned from the netherworld is one thing, but do you really expect me to schlep to Brooklyn on a Saturday? There's no cabs. When your spirit left your body, did it do it at rush hour? And Unholy Wraith or not, I have to emphasize that I don't recall your “birthday” falling this time of year.
You know, man – some ghosts haunt the halls of the places that were most meaningful to them. But if I know Katherine, she's probably just shitfaced.