Samara O'Shea

The Stuff Memorable E-mails Are Made Of

Earlier this week, a friend of mine was telling me how upset she is that another one of her friendships seems to be ending. That friendship is with her ex-boyfriend and he has recently gotten engaged. The girl I’m speaking of is happily married, so no, there is no lingering hope of romance. She has been friends with her ex for years, and she had hoped they would be friends for many more years to come.

If you recall, I went through a similar situation myself. It began here and ended here. To console my friend, I sent her the following e-mail which my friend Rich sent to me as I was going through the same thing. As I re-read this brilliant piece of correspondence, I realized it must be shared. It’s insightful, it’s got a great literary reference, and it makes me laugh each and every time I read. This is the stuff memorable e-mails are made of!

August 26, 2010


Let me get right into it: this is ridiculous—and he’s going to regret it. He is, of course, operating under the assumption that, since he’ll have the splendid (I’m sure) Sally* for the rest of his life, he won’t really need his friends. Many have made this mistake and found themselves virtually friendless when their marriages or relationships imploded. Give it ten years: he’ll be back, begging for forgiveness. They all do.

I’m reminded of an episode from Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence (I believe it appears in the film version, too, but I’m not sure). While traveling in France, Newland Archer and his new bride, May, attend a dinner party where they meet a young man who works as a tutor. Newland and the tutor have “an awfully good talk after dinner about books and things,” and Newland tells May he’d like to have the guy over to their place for dinner. May scoffs and, to Newland’s chagrin, casts the deciding vote on the matter—a resounding no: “The little Frenchman? Wasn’t he dreadfully common?” And then the third-person narrator breaks in with this passage, which I’ll never forget: “[Newland] perceived with a flash of chilling insight that in the future many problems would be thus negatively solved for him.”

I think that Kevin’s going to find the same thing: this is the first of many decisions that will be made for him. He couldn’t find the courage to stand up for a friend of ten years…wow, just imagine what’s in store for him! Stick a fork in the man—he’s done. In other words, she’s got him by the balls already!

Just look at it this way: no expensive gift; no subpar dinner; no stupid conversation with the inevitably inane table-mates; and, most important, no goddamned chicken dance and hoky poky. (I hate weddings.)

I hope you decide to come to Pittsburgh anyway—and look forward to seeing you if you do!

Rich*Names have been changed