Whose Heart Would You Rather Break?

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These are my favorite female break-up anthems. Do you recognize yourself in any of these? Or, as a guy, which girl would you rather break up with, the blistering screaming banshee or the quiet introspective poet?

Obviously the poet would give you the easiest, most guilt-free getaway.

But hey, Alanis was willing to go down on you in a theater. If you can survive the break-up with her, she just might be worth it, yes?

Alanis Morrisette: “You Oughtta Know”
You don't have to listen to this song very long to understand that this is one pissed off chick. She is not happy about the break-up at all and she wants you to know about it. She promises I’m not gonna fade as soon as you close your eyes.

Not much poetry to this song, just driving rhythm, screamed lyrics, and anger. The emotions are valid, though, as anyone who’s been dumped knows. It’s hard not to empathize and say “Right on, psycho-bitch. You tell ‘im.”

Her replacement is older, speaks eloquently, would make a really excellent mother. Alanis has nothing in particular to say to or about your new woman, she’s too busy getting in your face and demanding that you acknowledge her heartbreak.

Dido: “Don’t Think of Me”
Saccharin sweet and full of the same underlying bitterness about the break-up, Dido insists that she’s over it and hopes you’re happy. While Alanis admits that she wants you to feel and remember her in everything that you do (When I scratch my nails down someone else’s back, I hope you feel it) Dido croons It’s too late and It’s too bad and warns Don’t think of me.

From the lyrics, we can gather that you felt she was too messy and that you didn’t like the clothes she wore. Now she wants to know if those things still bother you now that you have a Perfect Replacement and a clean, happy home. The sing-song melody matches the smart-asss tone of the lyrics.

Her replacement is sweet, pretty, cooks delightfully and keeps an immaculate house. An “angel”. “Your homecoming queen.” Being replaced by a woman this perfect would make any girl want to gnaw her own hands off. But Dido gets her own little jab in by suggesting that Miss Perfect may have spent last night with your best friend, and aren’t you happy!

Jewel: “You Were Meant for Me”
The true poet, Jewel is more introspective in her post-break-up period. She is thinking of you, but not in bitterness or anger. She simply misses you and hopes that the two of you will find each other again.

She mentions the things that annoyed you: wet towels on the floor, spots on the mirror, leaving the light on, etc. As morose as she is, though, she insists that she will Go about my business, I’m doing fine.

The song chronicles her own private heartbreak and her struggle to deal with it. The emphasis here is private. She doesn’t want to confront you or make you feel bad about it: Besides what would I say if I had you on the line? Same old story, not much to say. Hearts are broken every day. In contrast to Alanis' in-your-face indignation and Dido's snarky self-satisfaction, Jewel displays tenderness and quiet humility.

In the aftermath and recovery of a break-up, a girl will likely go through all three phases, in no particular order, leaving you with no idea what to expect. If she scrawls insults on the hood of your car with her keys during her Alanis phase, don't be surprised to find her at home the next week during her Jewel phase leaking tears on all the stuffed animals you gave her.


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Tess's Room

A lovely tempest, not easily understood, but worth the effort. Sort of like dark bitter chocolate surrounding the sweetest cherry...

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