How to Be a Dream Girl Not a Doormat about the “Ex”

While the Doormat asks neurotic questions about his ex,
the Dream Girl looks at her watch if her man brings up the ex,
and if the man ever says, “Everyone was in love with my ex,”
a Dream Girl won’t ask for a photo, but if a photo of the ex
is provided, the Dream Girl won’t demean the appearance of the ex
because her man will likely rush to his ex’s
defense. The lesson is that when a man considers his ex
a prize looks have little to do with it, for when a woman acts
like a prize a man can forget he’s with a battle axe.
What should you say when he asks questions about your ex?
Remember you’re a prize, so you needn’t report that your ex
stole appliances or defaulted on child support or that your ex
has a Mafioso brother doing time for racketeering or that your ex
is “still stalking you” — because your man will not find these ex
stories charming, if he’s classy, so what you say about your ex
is simply, “We wanted different things,” or, alternatively, “My ex
and I went separate ways.” It’s none of his business: your ex
and all the vicissitudes of your past, like the jewelry your ex
gave you which you pawned, or your violent fantasies about your ex
because inquiring minds don’t need to know. Did you know that exes
are a common conversation topic among men: “You remember my ex,
the one who snapped ... ?” they might say, referring to the “terrible” ex
who was “possessed by demons,” thus causing the inevitable ex-
tramarital affair? Of course he never had anything to do with his ex’s
transformation, he was a perfect angel, but lo and behold, the ex-
orcist was suddenly required! Women believe these narratives and ex-
coriate themselves if they’re Doormats, but love is beset by variables,
and Dream Girls must take control in this world of unknowns.

More Poems by Kathryn Maris