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Being dumped from a book club


One the one hand, you feel sorry for the clueless guy who gets dumped.

I mean, he’s nice enough. And things may work out for him some day, assuming he ever discovers which direction is up.

On the other hand, you have to hold him in contempt because, really, how can you be so clueless?

Well, I’m your expert witness — the clueless man who got dumped.

I deserved it.

And the only shred of self-respect I can come up with is that this time I got dumped not by one woman but by, like, six or seven at the same time.

Like any self-respecting man, I blame a lot of this on my wife.

Despite ample reason, she has for 37 years stolidly refused to dump me.

Not once in all our years together has the 24-hour locksmith service made a house call on us.

I’m not saying she doesn’t have the number saved on her cell phone or that she hasn’t dialed it a time or two. I’m just saying my keys have always worked not only in the front and back door, but in the structure I’ve identified in my federal emergency shelter plan: the garage.

And because she hasn’t dumped me, my skin has grown unmanly thin.

So, let’s start with the questions.

What was I thinking when I got into an otherwise all women’s book club?

Why did I stay in it despite my own reservations when I was invited that I simply didn’t belong?

Why did I ignore all those beer commercials God sent to me that mocked book clubs and their unmanliness?

I mean, since ESPN began broadcasting, has there really been any need for a man to read?

I sometimes think I’d have been saved if they’d only told the truth in the commercials about low testosterone. Sure, they mention low energy and decreased sexual drive. But none ever mention what must be a third key symptom — an increased libido for literature.

Oh, the shame.

No matter. It wouldn’t have made any difference.

As many a grandma and grandpa have said, there’s no cure for stupid.

And so the day of reckoning arrived when the charming chirp of “you’ve got mail,” a reminder of a chick flick if there ever was one, announced the arrival of my Dear Tom email.

To give the club members credit, they chose the right dumper. More likely, the right dumper volunteered herself.

The email told me that the meeting I’d missed had been “cathartic.”

The word often means purging or cleansing.

In this sense, I’m confident that the meeting had been purging or cleansing in that the women in the group felt freer without my presence to discuss not only the book but the realities of life from a woman’s point of view.

And, Tom — oh, clueless, Tom — isn’t that a big part of a woman’s book group?

Isn’t that what you allowed yourself to remain truly clueless about — the thing that made your dumpability index soar?

Well, yes and yes.

But I couldn’t help considering the medical meaning from the term cathartic springs.

In that sense, cathartic means “evacuating the bowels, a purgative.”

It truly means being dumped.

I’m fine, though, thanks for asking.

As is the case with most men who have been dumped, either for cluelessness or crimes against humanity, I managed to muster a little masculinity. Henceforward, I will describe the day I was dumped as the day I made six or seven women happier than they’d been in a very long time.


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