The other night I was scrolling through Instagram in bed, as I’m inclined to do these days. I used to read books, devour magazines, and have sex, but now I just scroll through Instagram because my life is both meaningless and sexless (I’m currently staying at my parent’s house in Florida. No one gets laid in Florida).
That’s beside the point.
The point is, as I was scrolling my youth away, I happened to notice that a couple I was once well-acquainted with (Sarah* and Violet*) who had broken up two years ago, appeared to be back together! I was shocked as the breakup had been harrowing and messy (as dyke breakups tend to be) but there they were. Locking lips at a chic downtown lesbian hotel room party.
Because my life is not only meaningless and sexless, it’s also bleak, I happen to live for little gifts from the universe such as this. I took a cheap screen-shot of the salacious kissing pic and sent it to a snarky lesbian group text I’m in. “Look who got back together!” I captioned it.
Lena* the snarkiest of us all, wrote back right away. “That’s not Violet, asshole. That’s Sarah’s *new* girlfriend.”
I peered closer at the picture. My mouth hung in horror as I realized snarky little Lena was correct. The girl kissing Sarah wasn’t Violet. She looked like Violet. But she wasn’t Violet.
Because my life is sexless, meaningless, bleak and blazingly immature for a girl/woman my age, I decided that I wanted to ~stir~ the Sapphic pot. So I sent sweet Violet a text.
“HAVE YOU SEEN SARAH’S NEW GIRLFRIEND?” I typed out in all caps, as I took popped an over the counter sleeping pill into my mouth.
“Dude,” she responded right away, “people have been asking me if we got back together all day. That’s NOT ME!”
“How do you feel?” I asked her, feeling very much like a shady millennial dyke shrink, who treats her patients via text from her bedroom.
“I feel strange.”
Strange. Such a simple, yet such an emotionally jarring word. The perfect word to describe the harrowing feeling that resides in the pit of your stomach, when you realize that your ex is dating a woman who looks exactly like you.
A few years back, I had an ex date someone who was the exact opposite of me (I detailed the experience in my first ever viral personal essay). And babe. Let me tell you. That’s an, uh, “discouraging” experience to say the least. You ask yourself, “shit, was I ever her type? Was our entire relationship a lie? Or was I just such a whacked-out mental-case that she had to go for my polar opposite in her next relationship because I traumatized her so deeply?” It’s a real sock in the jaw.
But at least in that situation, you can put the relationship to bed. As painful as it is, as large of a blow it is to your ego, at least you know the truth. You’re not what your ex is looking for anymore, sweet kitten.
On the contrary, I’ve also, like Violet, borne witness to my ex dating someone who looked exactly like me. And both Violet and I agree it’s a different kind of mindf*ck. It’s like little Vi says: strange.
Here are seven strange thoughts that swirl through your fragile brain when your ex starts dating someone exactly like you.
1. Does the bitch realize she’s dating someone who looks exactly like me?
That’s the first thought that flew through my head. When I gazed at the sulking, brooding-looking brunette my ex Stevie* dated right after we broke up, a strange feeling came over me. “Does this asshole even know she’s dating my physical twin?”
2. Oh, goddess! She’s a better-looking VERSION OF ME. I knew it.
Because I’m equal parts vain and equal parts insecure, I immediately became wildly paranoid that my ex was dating an upgraded version of me. Like we were both Chanel handbags, only she was the ~creamy~ leather oversized tote and I was the tiny clutch bought on sale during black Friday at Neiman’s. No one wants to be a sale item. We want to be the expensive statement piece purchased at full price, you know?
3. Is she intentionally taking photos of them together as some sort twisted signal directed towards me?
Is she sending me a message that she’s still hung up on me (even though she’s publicly declared that she hates me and scorns the day I was born), by dating my doppelgänger? Or is she saying “Bitch, I’m over you and I’ve replaced you, just like I replaced my favorite black leather boots! Only this time the boots are new, asshole. Not tattered and worn, like you, Zara.”
4. I wonder if she shouts out my name in bed sometimes…
Shouting out the wrong name in bed is a common malpractice performed by many lesbians because we often date people with similar names. I went on a whole “L” streak for a few years, where everyone I f*cked/dated had the first letter “L” in their names. I lived in constant fear of shouting out the wrong name in bed (I never did). But if I HAD done such a thing, it would only be because all the ladies shared a common name. It wasn’t because they looked alike. That’s when it gets weird, babe.
It’s a very dark thought to imagine your ex shouting out YOUR name when in bed with her new girlfriend because her new girlfriend looks so much like you. For the record: It kind of infuriates me, but it also kind of turns me on, but that’s because I’m a cold-blooded narcissist.
5. Is she trying to turn the new girl into me?
Because I can’t be replicated, girl. The knock-off is never quite the same as the real thing. Some things can’t be taught. Like wild individuality, baby.
6. Never mind, she’s a bizarro version of me.
Upon closer evaluation, you will always eventually come to the conclusion that, even though your girlfriend’s new girlfriend has dark cascading hair like you do, or maybe even the same teal-colored eyes and 5’1 frame, she’s not the better-looking version of you.
She’s the bizarro version of you. The poor man’s version of you. Because even if she’s wealthier, or has less acne than you do, or appears to go to pilates seventeen thousand times a week, and has 100,000 followers on social media platforms, you were there first. You are the original lady lez. And nothing baby, NOTHING, is ever quite as fabulous as the original. It’s precisely why original paintings go for thousands upon thousands of dollars more than the lithograph. It’s where the concept was first created. Everything else is just a copy.
7. I’m going to stop being a terrible bitch and wish them the best.
The last strange thought you have during this emotional rollercoaster is the strangest of them all. Suddenly you realize that you’re acting vile. You’re comparing yourself to another woman, which is entirely against your ideals as a feminist. You’re broken up, too. And maybe your ex is dating someone who looks like you.
Isn’t that kind of cool, when you think about it? Isn’t it sort of flattering? And aren’t they even sort of kind of cute together? And isn’t it important that someone you once loved with all of your heart, is happy and in love once again? Don’t you wish her only the best? Even if it feels like you’ve been kicked in the chest to look at pictures of them, at the end of the day, aren’t you and I above acting like a wildly jealous bitch?
So here’s what you’re going to do: You’re going to send them all of your best energy and you’re going to strut away into your new life. You’re going to close the chapter, get a fresh haircut, get a new tattoo, swipe for a different type of woman on Tinder, go to a shrink and process your feelings, crush it at your job, crush it in the gym, hang out with your lovely friends, paint your nails jet black, bury yourself into a self-help book, put on a pair of shiny pleather pants and head to the dyke bar. Like the fierce single woman you are.
Zara Barrie is the Executive Editor of GO Magazine. She’s consumed by style, sexuality, women, words, fashion and feelings. She identifies as a “mascara lesbian” and lives beyond her means in Manhattan. Stalk her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.