The Highly Imposing Man’s Guide to Surviving Breakups With Dignity

This article was originally posted on


We used to have the French Foreign Legion. It was a group of men you could join with the confidence that comes from knowing that there wasn’t going to be a lot of talk about feelings. You could hunker down in your foxhole with your bayonet and ammo pouch, eating cheese, sipping low-grade brandy from a flask, knowing that sooner or later a ball from the enemy’s rifle would kill that thing that was gnawing away at your gut—along with the rest of you. Maybe, during the armistice, while the guns were cooling, to the sympathetic ears of your brothers in arms, you would quietly utter the four words—and only those four words—that would explain what the fuck you were doing in the middle of the goddamn Sahara killing Saracens: “because of a woman.”


Image Credit:

Amour rejeté. Rejected love.

Those were simpler times, and the political wind has shifted. While it’s no longer considered heroic to subjugate a less developed civilization just because your heart hurts, the suffering you’re feeling is too profound to idly sit by, waiting for it to heal. You’re numb; you’re in pain; and you’re drifting with a humiliating lack of direction. Well, I have news for you, frenchy: no one gives damn. Not your family. Not your friends. Least of all her. If you’re looking for help getting over your breakup—some sort of life preserver to get you through the next few bites of the retched plate of despair that you’re eating—well, you’ve come to the wrong place, compadre. This is where you’re reminded that feelings are unwelcome intruders—a mosh pit of rude little enzymes dancing around in your gray matter.

If you’ve lost your girl, it’s probably not your fault. Even highly imposing men have breakups. The important thing is how you comport yourself in the hours and days after your heart gets pulled through that gaping fissure in your sternum. You didn’t die, and quite frankly, there are bigger tragedies going on in the world, so you need to pull yourself together and show all of humanity that you are more than the sum of your dating experiences.

And this is how it’s done:


DRINKING – You’ve all probably heard the cliché that “drinking never solves anything.” That’s what your mom told you, right? Well, it is sort of true, but you’re not really looking for a cure here; you’re trying to make an impression. As an imposing man, it’s recommended for you to get sloppy drunk at least one time over a breakup. It’s how real men grieve. After that, just drink four or five stiff ones per night to kill off the weaker brain cells. You should only drink hard liquor: scotch, bourbon, rye, or tequila. Beer is for gentler times. You might have another drinking preference, but you’re going to have to put that on hold for now. How will it look if you’re drowning your sorrows with vodka martinis or champagne cocktails? If you are a lightweight and prone to breaking open the waterworks after you have a few belts of booze, then you shouldn’t drink at all, cupcake. Just empty half a bottle of whiskey into a mason jar and walk around pretending to guzzle the rest. When you see a passerby, make like you’re taking a swig. It’s not ideal, but if people don’t see you drinking at all, they’re going to worry about your feeling—and you can’t have them thinking that you have any of those.

SOCIAL MEDIA – Here’s a new thing that turns my stomach. When a man gets his heart broken, he is now overcome by the compulsion to announce it to the world via digital media. “I am so devastated by my breakup with @CoraJones that masturbation is not even an option right now.” The fact of the matter is that you aren’t going to win her back with a public estrogen dump, so shut the fuck up about your emotions. Assume she’s watching you and knows what you’re posting. After all, what better way for her to celebrate your agony with her friends than to read your Facebook wall or Twitter feed? Social media is a publicly accessible, permanent record of your current state of mind. It does not go away. Do you really want your social lessers to be able to punch in #myrtleloveache and be able to see 437 tweets that lay witness to your dramatics? Here are a few acceptable tweets that you can use if you can’t think of anything on your own:

  • “Bad week at work. Going to the gun range to blow off a little steam. @GreysonStone Want to come?”
  • “If that copier guy makes one more paper jam-related joke, I’m going to knock him the fuck out. #wrath”
  • “Does anyone know where I can buy a good #sharpeningstone for my edged weapons?”

BRAWLING – On the exterior, you’re the model of composure, but internally you’re a seething, rage-fueled turbine engine. You want to kill someone, but if you do, you’re just going to wind up at the top of a wooden staircase at Tehachapi with a rope around your neck. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a brawl or two to work out your angst. Actually, so long as greater numbers are involved,  this may be the one time when it’s even okey to lose a donnybrook. “Sure Cutter lost that fight. He was drunk and there were six of them. I think he might have dumped his girlfriend and she sent those dudes after him.”

COMMUNICATIONS – As a rule, once the breakup is done, you should not initiate any interactions with your ex. You probably need me to be more specific here: no face-to-face, telephonic, electronic, or written communications at all, frenchy. You may not leave a note somewhere hoping that she’ll find it. You may not deliver a message through your friends, or hers. Here are the situations where you can return her calls or correspondence:

  • She is claiming to be pregnant with your child. (Why get the lawyers involved?)
  • She has decided that she made a mistake in leaving you after she caught you with another woman and wants to beg for your forgiveness.
  • Her life is in danger. If this happens, you should only agree to help her reluctantly because you have a soft spot for dames who have been captured by highwaymen or pirates or whatever.

For a while, every time your phone rings, you’re going to hope that it’s her. It might actually even be her. If you don’t answer, you win. I don’t make these rules, but I do know that God gets nauseous when he sees a man breaking them.

REVENGE – There is no honor in physically harming a woman or damaging her property—ever. If you think you are likely to do either, please wait for my upcoming article Seven Honor Suicides for the Imposing Man, where I discuss acceptable reasons for checking yourself out and cool lines to leave in your suicide note. In no way does this mean, however, that revenge is off the table. Among your acceptable recourses are:

  • Having sex with one of her best friends or a family member. If it’s a family member, use the “One Generation Rule.” No one is going to be impressed with you scoring with an adult woman’s grandmother.
  • Emasculate her new boyfriend. You can accomplish this by either firing him from his job or fighting him over some bizarre insult. Watch the nineties classic Starship Troopers. One caveat: this is a fight you have to win.
  • Challenge her new lover to a classic duel, but only over something that is completely unrelated to her. Do not disclose to your seconds that the reason you’re fighting this duel is over losing a girl.

CLEANING HOUSE – Depending on how long the two of you dated, you probably have all kinds of pictures and tchotchkes scattered around your flat that you never wanted in the first place. Good riddance. Get a box or a garbage sack and unceremoniously toss anything that reminds you of her. If it has value, sell it or donate it to a charity. Along the same vein, your social media profiles are your public space and you should never allow someone who you are dating to intrude on them. If you have posted couple photos or allowed yourself to be tagged in them, you have to wait a little while before you take them off your feed. If you do it too quickly, she’ll know she affected you, but if you wait too long, you look like some sort of goddamn sentimentalist or worse. Your best immediate solution is to post a lot of recent photos, effectively ramming the digital images of your broken romance down so far that no one will notice.  For ideas of good post-breakup photos, friend request Vladimir Putin on Facebook. Whether he’s posing with the world’s largest Russian pike, riding shirtless on a horse, or poisoning a political opponent, that man knows how to get over a breakup in style.

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS – No matter how hard you try to avoid her, there’s always the possibility that she’s going to sashay into some pub that you’ve never been to before or show up at a party that she didn’t know was being held in your honor. Inevitably, she will look better than you’ve ever seen her look and be on the arm of some arrogant pansy with a fat wallet. Your first instinct might be to fill your hand with that snub-nose revolver you have tucked into your waistband or strapped to your ankle, but her new fop is probably supporting a wife and kids. So, until you have all of the facts and a coldblooded revenge plan, keep your weapon holstered.

Don’t: Pretend like you didn’t see her walk in. She knows you saw her, and acting like you didn’t see her is embarrassing for everyone and undermines the fine work that you’ve done up until now.

Do: Be gracious. “Listen, I was just headed to the bar. Can I buy the two of you a drink?” Say this whether or not it’s a cash bar. If the idiot date challenges you on it, knock him the fuck out. Actually, you can punch him in the face for the slightest provocation. It’s only bad form if you initiate the quarrel.

Listen, Nancy-boy, we don’t want to hear about how bad you’re hurting. We know you’re every stereotype in every mariachi song that’s ever been written. Time to get back to whatever it is that you were doing before you met her.

Pull on your boots.

Stand on your feet.

Show the world no pain.

Be a man—an imposing man.


Image Credit:


– Chillbear Latrigue

TWITTER: @Chillbear