My boyfriend and I broke up yesterday.
And we broke up over email.
Yes, it’s sad. On many levels. But though a bit overdue, it was fair and mutual. It was a civilized break-up.
Now…let’s forego the shaming that my ex-boyfriend and I rightly deserve for reducing six months of some heavy relationship stuff into an email. In our defense, we live 75 miles apart. But yes, breaking up via email is pathetic and tragic, I’m well aware.
I’m sufficiently ashamed without your judgment.
But this not-funny situation had a pretty funny moment for me, and I’d like to share it with you.
Civilized break-up conversation was in progress via Gmail. After reading a message from my boyfriend, I hit “Reply” and received this pop-up notification:
…and I froze.
Why did Gmail just offer me that? Does Gmail know I’m in the throes of a break-up conversation? Did the keywords of “disappointment” and “relationship” set off some triggers? How long has this feature been available? Has Gmail been waiting around for me to get into a testy conversation to reveal this feature? Is there some creepy Gmail employee with a live feed of my messaging activity?
Gah! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?
There was a cute animated GIF of a Despicable Me minion walking up to a podium and dropping a mic.
But it didn’t make me feel better.
In this digital age of freakishly accurate targeted advertising, data mining and analytics, I feel a bit icky when I’m reminded of how much of my internet activity is being monitored. It’s a bit too Orwellian for me.
I’m overreacting. Gmail’s “Send + Drop Mic” feature wasn’t lying in wait. The feature didn’t happen to pop up because the keywords of my break-up conversation set off some Gmail drop-mic trigger.
The feature was an April Fool’s Day joke.
It was impeccable timing to show itself in the middle of my break-up conversation.
Although, it was actually March 31.
And the feature has already been REMOVED after an apparent backlash from people who had accidentally used it in a professional context.
(Um, sorry, but if you used the feature unknowingly, perhaps you lack attention to detail and maybe don’t deserve that job you were applying for anyway? The regular “Send” button was just millimeters to the left. Just saying. But ok ok, we all make mistakes.)
I was actually in the perfect situation to use the feature, but alas, I didn’t. Again, the break-up was a civilized one.
To be honest, I’ve actually DIY’d my own version of the “Send + Drop Mic” feature in the past, to cut off all contact with an ex-boyfriend (circa late 2013).
It’s old school and it’s simple. I used the Gmail “Filter” feature to make sure that any email that came from him bypassed my Inbox and went straight to my Trash before I could ever know it existed.
It sounds dramatic, I realize. But let me frame it for you: I don’t have any other filters for any other contacts because I don’t actually HATE anyone that much.
But this guy was exceptional: Grade A motherfucking asshole.
After an amicable and mutual break-up, I’d remained friends with this guy – we’ll call him Total Douchebag (“TD” for short). And I made the mistake of inviting him to my family Christmas dinner out of pity for him.
TD accepted my kind gesture…
…and decided to take a hot, steaming shit on it.
Without revealing exactly what he did – seriously, it’s so pathetic and terrible, I’M embarrassed for him – I soon discovered what a vapid, desperate, shady, superficial, conniving narcissist he was.
But I’d found all this out through a third party and never actually revealed to TD that I knew what he’d done. In fact, I never even revealed to him that I was hurt or pissed off – when the truth was, his betrayal crippled me for months. I was an emotional wreck and so disgusted by what he’d done, I couldn’t bring myself to confront it or discuss it with him.
So I dropped a mic, so to speak. TD and I had been emailing each other because he had offered to help me with something – this very website, in fact! When I found out what a complete douche he was, I made no mention of his douchery. I simply emailed him “nevermind” the website, that I was going another direction, and that I wish him the best.
After I hit send, I did a clean sweep of any email he’d ever sent me (a simple “search” and “delete”). Then I set up my Gmail filters so that I’d never see another single email from him again, ever. And then I took the same measures on my phone and social media.
And I never looked back.
I know I totally let him off easy. And although Gmail’s “Send + Drop Mic” feature was meant to be a joke, I have to admit that having used my own version of it to express the same sentiment helped me make a clean break from someone who didn’t deserve me.
As for my current break-up…*sigh*. It’s sad and unfortunate. But it’s not a mic-dropping type of break-up. It’s a genuine bummer. I’ll give it its proper mourning period, and eventually join the dating game again.
In the meantime, I leave you with another minion: