Raw Material

Creative Revenge Techniques

Excerpted from Pawholes

Pawholes CoverA woman scorned. Throughout history the folklore of revenge has focused on women. Jealousy of other women, retaliation for romantic and sexual rejection, bitterness and torment have long been the subject of art, mythology, literature and countless Sunday night television docudramas. From Euripedes' "Media" and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" to cinematic masterpieces such as "The Girl Most Likely to..." (starring a fledgling Stockard Channing) and "Fatal Attraction," the concept of women exacting justice and retribution has remained a central theme. Good, satisfying revenge requires cunning, wit and forethought. Below, dear reader, you'll find two tales that embrace this fresh bold aesthetic, gut-wrenchingly, assuredly and tenderly confessed:

Bachelorette #1:

The downfall of my relationship, and later the impetus for my revenge, came at what I thought to be the apex of my 18-month-old relationship. We, Paul and I, had just moved to separate cities, entering the long-distance portion of our coupledom: he attending law school in D.C., while I was in Pittsburgh pursing an MFA in creative writing.
At first all was lovey-dovey fine—a happy mix of intermittent four-day weekends spent together, complemented by a slew of long-distance phone calls. Three months into our separate-city love, something strange happened, some inexplicable shift. We began to talk less frequently. If we did talk, it was because I called him. I quit calling and waited to see how long it would be before he called me. Three weeks passed and I gave in. I called and asked him what was going on. He said nothing. He said come visit.
Upon my arrival in D.C. he was a half an hour late to pick me up. In visits past he was usually there, waiting. When we got to his place, it was a mess. This new feature was a departure from his typical "just cleaned" reception. Also, as I surveyed the room, I noticed several notes from his roommates saying some woman had called. I asked, "Who is this Ramona woman?" He said, "just a friend." I decided not make a big deal out of it, to cut him some slack. Instead, we went out to dinner at a horrible Peruvian restaurant. Some guy was playing keyboards. There were plastic flowers. I felt like we were at a wedding reception in a church basement.
We went back to his apartment and had old-relationship sex. I reminded him that I loved him. He didn't respond. Then, after some prodding, he reported that he didn't think he loved me anymore. He didn't think he ever loved me. I asked why exactly he thought this, why now? Why had we been together? He said, "Because you were nice to have around." His semen was running out of me and leaving a little wet spot on the sheet. He said he was sorry. I took a shower.
In the morning I caught a Greyhound back to Pittsburgh. Three days later I had a breakdown on a public transit bus. I couldn't stop crying. The driver made some woman walk me home from the bus stop. I took a long bath. I listened to Patsy Cline. It took me about two days of repeating this activity before I realized that rising to the surface, beyond hurt and overall grief, was the fact that I was way pissed off. I called Paul and yelled and screamed. He cried. Said he didn't know anything anymore. Said he was confused. I suggested he find a therapist.
I called Paul's former roommate, Mort, for some insight. He didn't have any. I started dating other people. I tried to forget. Five months went by. Then I got a call from Mort. Paul had married a woman he had started seeing upon moving to D.C. He had married his friend Ramona.
bedbugsI thought long and hard about ways to acknowledge this little union. I though perhaps a gift would be appropriate. But what could I give? I thought it had to be intimate—something that might remind him of the time we shared together. Something familiar, yet something that would let him know I was angry in the psychotic, over-the-edge sense of the word. I thought about the Mafia, how they send dead things in the mail. I was in the shower and thinking about how a more respectable woman would not dignify his actions with a reaction. I thought about how women seem, too often, to play this pristine role while men get to punch holes in walls and drive their cars into highway embankments.
I started wanting a piece of the drama. The thought of getting the slightest bit even gave me a huge rush. I felt more alive than I had in months. That's when I looked down and noticed it. The perfect gift: my pubic hair. The image of him opening the envelope, of his screwed up, little lawyer-to-be face slowly pulling out the cute curly hairs, and saying "What the hell?" was too beautiful to resist.
I leaped out of the shower, dried my crotch, and snipped off as much as I could part with. Then I taped my pubic hair in the shape of a triangle onto a 3" x 5" index card. On it, I wrote "wedding gift" and drew a little arrow to the hair mass in the center of card. I threw on some clothes, stuck the card in an envelope, addressed and stamped it, and ran to the mail box. I was in the most absolute state of bliss. After months of harboring heartfelt hatred, I was truly joyful. I had been cleansed and reborn right there at the mail box, in my bare feet and wet hair.
The funny part is I never heard from him again. Not even a sarcastic thank you card. I had stunned him into silence. I had gotten the last word. Mort still hears from Paul sometimes, but says he's never mentioned my pubic hair. Says Paul's pretty closed-lipped about the whole thing. My fantasy is that my intimate and original wedding present had a respectful reception, at least made it's way to the wedding gift list. Next to the entry "Aunt Sally: Deep Fryer," I imagine one reading, "Former Girlfriend: fur on index card."

Bachelorette #2

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