I recently announced the break-up of a ten-year relationship on Facebook. The announcement was factual (X ’n Y have broken up), optimistic (hope to stay friends), newsy (X is dealing with it by...) and—as was only appropriate—community-minded (and welcomes other suggestions on how to deal with...).
The responses came in quick and fast and were characteristic of the networking site’s preoccupations: eight friends suggested wine as therapy. ‘A glass, no make that a bottle.’ ‘Wine, wine and more wine.’ ‘Splitting a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.’ Thus chimed the oenophiles.
But there were others. ‘Back-to-back episodes of 30 Rock.’ ‘Retail therapy.’ ‘Reading Thich Nhat Hahn.’ ‘Spa vacation.’ And, of course, the black humour: ‘The best way to get over someone is to get under someone,’ a wag messaged.
This levity and jokey humour might have struck another in my situation as offensive—even cruel....