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Last night I went out for dinner with Theatre MILF and she informed me that she’s broken up with Dunkin Donuts.  “It’s for real,” she assured me, “I’ve taken my CDs back and everything.”

Then I pictured my friend emerging from the back room of a Dunkin Donuts with a box piled high with jewel cases and a few t-shirts.  She’d cast one forlorn glance back at the coffee maker and display case before squaring her jaw and walking out, head held high.

Taking back your CDs at the end of a breakup used to be the one action that signaled things were really over.  If you were one of those couples that broke up and got back together regularly, that would be the one step you’d have to take to communicate to your former flame, “I’m ready to bang someone else/I may already be banging someone else.”  So that begs the question: Is it easier/less final to break up now that no one has CDs anymore?  What’s the new equivalent of CDs when breaking up with someone?

When I was with my first long-term boyfriend, we consolidated CDs and DVDs because we were going to be together forever and who wanted the extra clutter.  It was an unspoken vow, a show of fidelity, like a ring, but entertaining.  Then when I broke up with him, he inventoried all our stuff while I was at work and I lost my Pixies collection.

“I like them better.” He told me, “It’s only fair.”

“Most of those CDs were mine initially, remember?  You were all excited that I had them so you could save money.”

“Well, I had planned to buy them.  You never listened to them, and I had on Trompe Le Monde just last week.”

“Fine, take that one.” I said, thinking that he should have picked a better album if that was his angle but also wondering if citing one of the weakest albums was meant to be a testament of true Pixies love on his part.  Saying Doolittle would have been too obvious, Bossanova just unbelievable, but Trompe walked the line.

Over the following months, I noticed that a lot of things that were mine, purchased with my money, had wandered off.  In the moment, when you own something like 400 CDs and 100 DVDs, it’s hard to recall which ones are missing, but on a Tuesday night when you want to watch Edward Scissorhands and there’s a gaping hole on the shelf, you start to become awfully bitter.

There’s nothing you can do about it though.  Calling that person up three months later seems both crazy and sad, and gives the other person the upper hand.  I have to hand it to my ex, it was a bold and inspired move, and had I been less lazy/not keeping the apartment, I might have tried the same thing.

So what do the young kids these days do to stick it to their new ex?  You leave with the same Mp3s you brought into the relationship, a lot of people just don’t have that many DVDs, what’s the new stick-it-to-them item?  Or was it never really about the CDs, just anything that the other person cared about that you could fuck with?