Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dear John

Is there an etiquette when it comes to responding to Dear Jane* letters? Or emails, rather, in this modern world we live in. "Hello" in the subject line of an email never bodes well; it heralds (a) unsolicited and misspelled shite from concerned strangers about the size of my penis (is it just me? All of my gmail spam relates to penis enlargement) (b) a bollocking from a flatmate about a recent misdemeanour or (c) a Dear Jane. I knew what was coming but my morbid curiosity would not allow me to delete it, unread. Almost immediately I began to hammer out a response but I checked myself before sending it. I find rejection embarrassing enough without exacerbating it with an ill-considered and hasty reply. And that got me thinking: How should one respond in such circumstances?

One could ignore it, and maintain a dignified silence. My garrulousness generally does not allow for such things.

One could rally back with a stream of invective; berating the Dear Jane's author for choosing an email over a call, for leaving it for too long before sending the email in the first place, for not having the energy or imagination to pursue something more.

One could be cheery and nonchalant; thanks, but I didn't care too much anyway.

Or one could be honest, disappointed, and a little relieved.

In the end I replied with the words I had rattled off upon reading the email. It's the only way I know how.

*The source of all knowledge informs me that In more recent times, women have come to be subjected to such impersonal break-up letters as well. These are refered (sic) to as "Dear Jane" letters.

17 comments:

nuttycow said...

You're braver than I am. I tend to rattle off an email full of hurt and recriminations and then save it. I look back at it a couple of hours later, get cold feet and then just don't reply or reply with something suitabley insipid.

AJ said...

Dear John/Jane Letter ? I always thought that meant some agony aunt kinda letter..like Dear John, My hamster is lodged and I can't get it out kinda thing..

Don't think it's right to do it by letter/email though, sure it's easier but if we wanted life to be easy we'd never get involved with anyone, ever.

Jayne said...

Better than me too. I rattle off a mad email, put it in my draft folder, look at it hours later and think phew, glad I didn't send that. Then get drunk and send it anyway.

Could be worse though. I'm old enough to remember the days before t'internet when you'd send a tearstained letter and a mix tape *cringe*

Rosie said...

no doubt what i should have done, Nutty.

AJ, i don't know what kind of relationships you've been having or how they're working out for you, but if the hamsters were involved i'd hazard a guess at "not so good". i would have agreed with you re the letter/email thing but i think with someone as volatile as i can be it was probably a smart and considered move.

(yes, kids, i have a temper)

Jayne, i'm crying a little inside for you. please tell me it's true and that you did that in a former life? i'd love you for it.

Jayne said...

Oh dear. Do I really have to tell?

OK then. Yes... and I seem to remember Willow by Joan Armatrading was one of the songs. Dear god...

*hides*

AJ said...

That was emm just emm artistic licence...never had a hamster...definitely never...I mean i love animals but I don't love animals...I mean ewwww.


Temper? Eeeekk...duly noted.

Rosie said...

Jayne, you're officially my new hero. that guy i saw cycling while smoking and reading the paper the other day is so last week.

AJ, hell hath no fury like a Rosie scorned.

prenderghast said...

Hi Rosie--

The correct response is to tell him he's a coward for his inability to look you in the eye as he's breaking up with you and that if you'd known before that he was that sort of person you'd never have gone out with him in the first place.

There's no excuse, even in this day and age, for that kind of cravenness.

AJ said...

Ahaha, Yah Prender ! That's what I meant, but ain't that vocabularious.

Rosie even if ya are tempermental the dude should still have had some balls about it.

prenderghast said...

Cheers, AJ.

Chalk it up to his emotional immaturity, Rosie. I can't believe that anyone who has had his or her heart broken would behave like he has, simply because he would then know how much hurt was involved and would have the decency to act appropriately.

Rosie said...

ara, bygones. don't get too worked up about it, gentlemen. it's ancient history.

prenderghast said...

heh heh. Ancient history to you, maybe. ;-)

The Major said...

I'm not sure if I ever mentionned French artist Sophie Calle in a previous comment, and if I did I do apologize but I think she has invented the mother of all replies to Dear jane's letter. Here's the link of a review: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jun/16/artnews.art
It's one of the most intelligent, funny, fascinating things I've ever seen in a museum.

Rosie said...

thank you for that, Major, it has cheered me immensely. i shall keep Sophie as my role model whenever i suffer an emothional setback from now on.

Rosie said...

with all of this emothion i seem to have acquired a lisp...

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