Since it's the holidays, I thought I'd tell you I recently broke up with someone. Don't cry for me, Argentina. I break up more often than your cell phone and have gotten good at it, even remaining real friends with this one.

Not like when you say "Let's still be friends," and then you never speak to each other again. And then you get a real friend to burn all the eyes out of his pictures with a cigarette.

But it was different friends I was sitting with at Will's Pub — a Beers R Us hipster joint that has a sign out front some nights reading "This ain't no redneck bar" — talking about romance, or whatever you call it (and please, call it anything but "relationships").

Had I not broken up we'd have been doing something fun, like making up porn names for each other (my favorite is Beaver Cleavage). When your heart is secured in the overhead, your brain feels free to wander the aisles. But when you hit turbulence and your emotional baggage tumbles down and whaps you in the head, it's on your mind.

So I was relating something a friend said about how dating could go from a hairshirt to a cashmere comforter: "Why," she had said, "don't men know how good it would be if they were just well-dressed and interesting?"

I thought that was fair, but her list went on: "And intelligent? And funny? And charming? And rich?" (I think she had one specification for each martini.)

While I was parroting this list of renovations I heard a voice behind me say, "Oh, give us a break."

It's a guy. Not unattractive. Dressed like someone from Clerks.

I guess he's responding to me, though not directly, which would have been more interesting (minus one) and funny (minus one). His staring straight ahead makes him seem chilly (minus one) and absurd (minus one, for a grand total of minus four).

Maybe I should give him a break. But I don't have to. There's a wonderful freedom that comes with a breakup, like the window of dreaming that precedes a lottery drawing, before the real numbers are called and it's back to budgeting and compromise.

Dreamland should be explored, because compromise will come.

Men are like bras. The really hot-looking ones are never very supportive. The durable, practical ones are often bland. They're almost never big enough and they're all pinchy.

I go through them quickly, no matter how well I take care of them, and if I find one I really like I seem to end up wanting two. Free-speech feminist or not, I need them, and want them around, but they're all a bit confining somehow. And you always end up hooked. Men are just bras that drive. That's Victoria's Secret. (Men are also like bras in that you should never be able to see them under your dress, but that's a story for another time.)

But, after a breakup, when fate has thrown open the window of opportunity, you don't have to compromise. You get to have as much expectations for your next love as for your next outfit.

He's fun without being the village idiot, romantic without being clingy, nice without being an adaptable slab of human tofu, and just good-looking enough to make you feel dreamy sometimes, but not so good-looking he could make you forget where your checkbook is.

I know: "Yeah, when you find him, have the pixies come tell me, I'll be riding my unicorn to the moon."

You're probably right. No one is the perfect balance of rigid Oreo and creamy filling. Except maybe one, who's both original and extra crispy.

The ideal man is Gomez Addams. He may be the patriarch of mysterious and spooky, but Gomez has it all.

He's kinda funny looking, but no more so than Mick Jagger, David Caruso or any other inexplicable girl magnet.

He's one of the great romantics, with his French fetish and tango ability and moonlight strolls, but never too busy to play with Pugsley and Wednesday.

He's fabulously wealthy but not serious, gaining and losing dollars like they were dimes. And the most characteristic thing about Gomez is that smile.

Gomez doesn't ask for breaks. He gives them. I do have a Gomez Addams candy dispenser. But since I haven't demonstrated much Gepettolike purity of heart, I don't think the Blue Fairy will turn it into a real dasher just for me.

Still, I'd rather give the possibilities a chance to surface. Wise people don't make resolutions only on New Year's. They resolve every day to revamp, improve and upgrade. So the most spirited thing I can do this holiday is to have faith that there are big, steel-belted Michelins out there, and not settle for the crappy little donut spares that come with the car.

Give them a break? Give me a break. Oh, and if that guy in the bar was talking to the TV, just forget I said anything.

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