A History of Sex: The Origin of the "Dumping"

A brief explanation for those who are not familiar with the art of the post-dumping checkup. Apparently, if you've hooked up with someone -- or if you haven't technically hooked up but were going out for more than a month or so -- and then dump this someone, it's considered poor manners not to calmly "check up" on your ex-girl- or boyfriend later on. It's the new etiquette: One may dump shamelessly, but one must always be friends and check up! You know, just so that they should find out how you've been doing ever since they decided they didn't like you. And if you are a really well-behaved 90s man, you're expected to be tolerant of all your girlfriend's ex-boyfriends who are religiously performing their post-dumping checkups on her. Dave, 23, told Cosmopolitan in 1998 that of course "My girlfriend talks to her ex-boyfriends." Why? "They were part of her life before she ever met me, and I'm not going to try to intrude on that."

The same year, Daryl Chen in Mademoiselle gave her readers pointers on how they could increase the likelihood of receiving their post-dumping checkups:"He's no longer a lover. It's even possible you can't stand the sight of him. But if you follow our timetable, you can still recycle him as a confidante, mentor, handy-man and fan." If he hasn't called after three months, "you may be ready to make that initial phone call and set up an exploratory meeting." We were advised to "keep conversations short," and only say extremely clever things, such as "'fallen under a bus? Just checking.'" Then after six months, "it's safe to go back to the movies" with your ex. And finally, "By the two-year mark and later, you and your ex should be incorporated neatly into each other's lives...you know you can look forward to a long and eventful future spent in the comfortable orbit of each other's existence."

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