Mark Zuckerberg ruined my life

By Paul Lester, November 10, 2011

Breaking up - as that old Jewish sage Neil Sedaka once put it so pithily - is hard to do. And that was in 1962. These days, it's even harder. Everyone knows everyone else's business and there are no secrets in this modern, multi-media, socially networked age.

Let's imagine, for the sake of argument, that you had just split up with a girl who had, these past few years, been your on-off partner - one who might reasonably be described as "long-suffering". Let's say she was named after a song by another famous Jewish philosopher, Barry Manilow (clue: not Lola), and that you loved her very much but that you couldn't quite give her what she wanted - a baby - because you could barely afford the three that you have already, so you had to go your separate ways.

How awful would it be watching her live her new life - her life without you - on Facebook, that most cruel of 21st-century inventions, having fun, making friends and updating her status to communicate to all and sundry, especially the gentlemen of the free world, that she was no longer in a relationship and therefore up for grabs? Awful enough to make you want to take a contract out on Mark Zuckerberg, for starters.

Don't know about you, but I'd rather not have to witness the wonderful time my ex was having without me - although I guess if she wanted to have a miserable time, oh ok, go on then, if you insist. Factor in the endless parade of tweets and txts and you've got a recipe for despair. Oh, to live in an era BC (Before Computers) - although touch my MacBook and I'll issue a Jewish fatwa.

Other things you wouldn't want to happen after a break-up include, on a sliding scale -- well, right at the top of a list of dread imponderables - would be discovering she was dating one of your mates. Actually, that's not true. No, the absolute, worst-case scenario would be discovering she was dating your mate who you remember vividly from school being in the showers after rugby and impressing everyone with his tackle - and I'm not talking about his finesse in the scrum. The best-case scenario would see her get abducted by aliens and taken to a galaxy, far, far away. Failing that, she'd leave the country, never to return again.

There are many paradoxes that emerge after a split. You can finally go out - but you've got nowhere to go. When you're with someone, you want them to become part of your social circle. But as soon as you break up, you have to run the gauntlet of friends who might tell you something about your ex that you don't want to hear, such as, she's married a millionaire. When you're with her, you want everyone to declare her the greatest thing since sliced matzah. The second it's over, you secretly hope people will, without prompting, admit they "never liked her really", particularly her habit of squealing every time Gary Barlow came on TV.

Lately, in my emotional state, I've been listening a lot to the music of Drake, a 24-year-old mixed-race Jew from Canada, whose rap songs about loneliness and heartache say more to me whenever I'm down than rock's great confessional Heeb troika -- Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon - ever could. Sensitive, moi? Obviously, I'm not your usual fortysomething male. Then again, I don't really correspond to many of the dictionary definitions of "manly", especially when it comes to dealing with a break-up.

You know how women sometimes compare themselves to the characters in Sex and the City? Well, I'm less like Mr Big or Aidan than Carrie, with occasional moments when I resemble Charlotte or Miranda. (I had a Samantha phase once, years ago, and by "phase" I mean "night").

I don't do laddish bravado or blokeish banter down the boozer. No, I'd rather stay at home and discuss my feelings. And then once a month I get to write about them.

Maybe Zuckerberg will read this, take pity on me, and shut down Facebook, at least for a little while.

Last updated: 10:49am, November 10 2011