Did you know that there are actual books on how to survive breakups? I happen to own every single one of them. The advice in them is extremely lame and centres around bullshit like ‘not looking at your phone’, ‘making new friends’ and ‘acting calm’. Not my forte. They fail to deal with the big issues, such as how to avoid a full-scale public mental breakdown. So, I’m here to give you some real-world advice on what NOT to do if someone breaks up with you.  

What nobody warned me about, was the initial elation that I would experience on becoming a single independent woman. I have Beyonce playing on a loop. I don the only suit I own and live in it. Unfortunately, this suit is a gold suit and it is covered in my initials (RB – Bleakman was my maiden name). I proceed to read an ungodly number of business books and plan world domination. 

I strut to the library to write my business plan. I’m a god damn entrepreneur. I’m Arianna Huffington. Why did I ever have a boyfriend?

These empowering feelings last for around 48 hours before the searing loneliness and panic sets in. A branch hits my window in the night and I fall to pieces. Where is my male protector/human body shield? (if this is your issue – buy a dog. I bought two and now couldn’t care less about branches on windows). I also couldn’t care less in this photograph that my mother took of me at the height of one of my independent woman manias.

I think she takes these photos in an attempt to jolt me out of what she considers to be unproductive activity. She does not succeed.

Actual things my mother has suggested I do in my spare time when single:

  • Take piano lessons 
  • Go to a car boot sale with her 
  • Learn to sew 
  • Anything that doesn’t involve hoarding animals or wearing my RB suit.

Actual things I’d consider doing in my spare time when single: 

  • Not go to a car boot sale with her 
  • Purchase a pull-up bar so I can train like Sarah Connor does in Terminator. Ignore the fact that she does so from inside a mental institution. 
  • Buy all of the puppies and kittens in the world. I have a particular penchant for the ginger variety as it helps us to look more legitimate as a family unit.
  • Hold aforementioned pets above my head with the Lion King soundtrack on full blast in the background. No explanation necessary. 

If things are looking particularly dismal I’ve also been known to: 

  • Eat sickening quantities of cheese. Sometimes I just pick up an entire block of extra mature cheddar and chow down on it as though it’s a sandwich. There is no shame in doing this when one is not feeling 100%.
  • Watch myself cry in the mirror. There is also no shame in this and I’ve just written that down so that’s a fact. Knock yourself out. I like to mix it up between silent, slow-flowing, music video tears and bawling until I turn purple then start to dry heave (and not in a sexy way). A mirror is essential here ladies, there is no point crying without a witness. Everybody knows that. When you stop crying you feel as though you really have your shit together and you deserve a gold star. Existential crises may also occur during a mirror cry. This is good, as it is about as distracting as it gets. One cannot think of break ups when asking the big questions of a mirror – who is that? Is that me? Who is me? What is consciousness? Why for?

Anyway, this post was supposed to be about how NOT to cope with a breakup, and, so far, all I’ve given you is amazing ideas that you should definitely consider. 

Disclaimer : what follows is a textbook example of how NOT to behave. Do not try this at home.

My boyfriend of 3 years had just been busted cheating on me with everyone ever. I was humiliated, distraught and freaking out about who was going to cook my dinner for the foreseeable future. He had really damaged my confidence and I needed revenge. So I googled revenge. Once I’d waded through all the bullshit about forgiveness and cold dishes I came to the conclusion that I needed to find myself a new man. A better man. Then get photographic evidence and go to town on social media.

So, I finished watching myself cry in the mirror and went downstairs to ask my flatmate if I could borrow his Grindr log in to scope out hot men in the area. He’d embraced his sexuality about a month after we’d started living together but he assured me that there was no correlation. We were a match made in heaven and spent our evenings on pink velvet thrones swiping through dating apps and watching Eastenders. I called him Babybird and he called me by my actual name. We were on our seventh apple martini when Babybird rejected my advances. I fell backwards off my throne spilling drink all over my precious RB suit. I realised I needed to take action and fast. Swiping wasn’t solving anything, I needed to find an actual, real life man. 

I did a quick multiple choice of options in my head 

  1. linger around the places that guys congregate – gyms, pubs, men’s toilets
  2. sign up to e-harmony or other non-seedy dating site
  3. approach men in a nightclub and pretend to have become separated from my non-existent friends
  4. become a stalker 

Having previously exhausted a, b and c, I opted for d. My ex had one major chink in his egocentric armour; that he was neither as funny nor as sexually potent as his hero Russell Brand. With my new motto ‘go big or go home’, I became convinced that I needed to seduce the big man himself. I also took it as a sign that we shared the same initials. This was definitely a good idea. I googled Russell Brand immediately. Google news offered up exactly what I needed, Russ was going to be attending a drugs committee at the House of Commons tomorrow morning. All l needed to do was get inside, slip him a note and sit back while he looked into my eyes and realised that we were soulmates. He’d recently broken up with Katy Perry, so I knew it was only a matter of time before we ended up together anyway. Why not just speed up the process? 

For reasons still unknown to me, I decided that the note should be written on special tea-stained paper. I gathered the ingredients necessary to write Russ a note that would later become known to friends and family as the most embarrassing love letter of all time.


piece of card

2 clothes pegs

a washing line 

4 earl grey tea bags 

a jug of warm water/tears

a complete lack of self-respect

I set the card to marinate and proceeded to have a panic attack about my unsexy illegible handwriting, so I downloaded samples of calligraphy, searched for a ruler, ruled out some pieces of paper and practised the alphabet. For 4 hours. Then, I did what I always do when I have a deadline looming, and I passed out. On waking, there were only minutes to spare before I needed to race to Westminster. I grabbed my tea-stained paper, a biro and legged it towards the tube.  

When I arrived, I was surprised to discover that the building was teeming with police and security guards, who were checking everyone’s press passes on entry. It was almost as though they were worried that some lunatic might break in and cause trouble. I swaggered up to the front desk and claimed to have lost my pass. Bizarrely, they believed me and printed me a new one, before sending me upstairs where I joined the other journalists.

I overheard them complaining that there wouldn’t be enough seats for everyone to fit inside. Shit. I needed to get into that room, and I was fairly low in the hierarchy of journalists, on account of not actually being one. So, I approached who I assumed was the head of their gang. She was a severe looking woman, with immaculately blowdried grey hair, and everyone seemed to fear her. I opened with a pick-up line, ‘I like your skirt.’ Thankfully, she was flattered and ushered me in ahead of her when the door was finally opened. 

I took a seat in the back row, laid the tea stained paper on my lap, and began to write. Unfortunately, at this point in time, we were no longer pre-political era Brand. He was in full swing both idealistically and spiritually, so I wrote my letter accordingly. From what I can remember, it read something like this:

Dear Russell,

I took the morning off my usual regime of meditation and green juice to come here and tell you something very important…

Buddha came to me in a dream and handed me a bouncing baby, this baby was you and I was to take care of you. Now, I don’t like to presume, but I think he may have been hinting that I should bear your children.
FYI I’m not your biggest fan or anything. I’m as surprised as you probably are that Buddha sees us together. It’s just a merry coincidence that you happen to be a sensational comedian and a brilliant film actor. That’s not why I’m writing to you though, I just don’t like to ignore the spiritual realm when it speaks so

Love me?

Rose Bleakman


And that’s the least embarrassing version that I could bring myself to share with you. I’m pretty sure the real deal contained 3 forwarding addresses and a totally fabricated life story that made us sound perfect for each other. Which we are. I also couldn’t bring myself to tell you, earlier, that I had singed the edges of the paper with a lighter to make it look extra cool and mysterious. Like a treasure map to the most ultimate treasure of all – true love. 

Anyway, I had just finished writing the letter when the trouble began. Russell kept turning around in his seat to eye up other women. I was outraged, but reassured myself that he probably just didn’t want to leer at the future mother of his kids. He was just being respectful. Then things went even more awry. Now, where I come from, when you are having a televised debate with someone, once you’ve said your bit, you listen to them saying their bit. Then you say a bit more, then they say a bit more, then you all go home and wank over the sound of your own voices. So I was not prepared for what happened next…

Everyone was sitting nicely, following the unspoken rules of society, when Russell stood up directly after saying his bit, and started to walk out of the room, and away from me. People craned their necks to watch him make his early escape. This was not part of the plan. I was mid row. But it was a state of emergency, so I stood up too, clambered over the normal people, and followed him out into the hall. 

The journalists who hadn’t been street enough to bag themselves a seat in the room swarmed around him. I took a deep breath, squeezed through them, and tugged on his sleeve. He was taller than I’d imaged, a tower of charisma. I was frozen with fear. I kicked myself for not having prepared a speech. He was peering down at me with a bemused look on his face and the clock was ticking. I summoned some of my improv skills from GCSE Drama, thrust the tea letter at him and said ‘you read’. Not unlike Borat. Well, I didn’t say it, I squealed it. My voice had ascended 10 octaves. Only dogs could hear me now. I saw pity in his eyes and began to regret the content of the note. In an instant he was swept away by the crowd and I ran outside to get some air. What had I done? Had I just completely ruined my chances?

Thankfully, the panic subsided, and a big part of me, I’d say around 100%, was still sure that he would call regardless. I became convinced that when I’d touched his arm, an electrical current of sexual and cerebral connection had jolted through him, as it had through me. He would call. I went to get back on the tube to go home but stopped myself just in time. Russ would probably have a withheld number, so it would be a disaster if he called when I had no reception.  Not wanting to spend the last of my student loan on a taxi, I began the long walk back to Finsbury Park. It took 7 hours. 

It didn’t take long for word of what I’d done to reach my ex. I was desperate to be able to tell him that Russ had not rejected me, but that we were, in fact, courting. So I remained ‘above ground’ for a month waiting for Russell’s call. This meant no basements, no underground trains, and no remote locations. When friends phoned, I would berate them for being so bloody stupid as to block the line. Seven years have passed now and the call has yet to come. Starting to think I might have written my number down wrong…

So that’s all Gentle Reader. This post was not sponsored by Twinings and is not a #Ad for anything. Except maybe the importance of seeking out psychological help if you need it. 


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