The Santa Fe, New Mexico Chapter of the Sad Boys’ Club of America

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The Santa Fe New Mexico Chapter of the Sad Boy's Club of America
meets at my house, in my arms. On a sad boy’s couch in a sad boy’s living room where he’s spent the last three days watching TV. At Better Day Coffee with his forehead on the bar, mumbling something about being a failure. In the passenger seat of a sad boy’s car, driving in a big circle up Bishop’s Lodge Road to Tesuque and back down the 285 at midnight on a Tuesday while he says, “I don’t know, I guess I’m just not like other people,” and reaches over to hold my hand.

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How to Identify a Sad Boy:

He looks half-dead, for starters, like he hasn’t slept in days. His eyes are reddish and his hair’s a-muss, with stretched-out clothes that hang limp on his body: a Southwest print t-shirt and pink skinny jeans; camouflage pants and pale blue sneakers. He has a face that says, I die now? but an outfit that says, Let’s party, and audibly sighs before each line of dialogue. He smells like alcohol, or cigarettes, or coffee. Shakes like an old man, so much so that you wonder if he’s possessed by one.

The Sad Boy is comprised of equal parts unmet expectations, self-hatred, and entitlement. A girl hurt his feelings; his boss doesn’t appreciate him; he’ll never succeed in life. He doesn’t know why, exactly, but he’s very sad and very special, and now that he knows you know it too, he won’t leave you alone.

Not that you’ll hesitate, even for a second. Your dating prospects are dim, you have a lot of time on your hands, and, besides, you’re nothing if not appreciative of a sensitive guy.

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Sad Boys’ Club Meeting Quick Reference Guide:

Oh, wow.

I’m sorry.

That sucks.

It wasn’t your fault.

Well, I think you’re awesome.

Do you need a hug?

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The trick is to be invisible, to expect nothing in return, like the maid who makes the hotel bed while you’re out to breakfast; like your aunt who works a double shift while your uncle is sleeping; like your mother who puts in 12 hours at the hospital without a break while her boss is eating jam from some gift basket in her office; like your friend who does hours of therapy, breathing exercises, journaling, yoga, reading of self-help books, and praying to a higher power so she can remain above reproach when her partner takes an ax to the picnic bench in the backyard out of anger; like the cute new dress, all stained with his tears, that he didn’t notice you were wearing just for him.

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How to Found a Local Sad Boys’ Club Chapter in Your Town:

  1. Be a woman.
  2. Find a sad boy. (Don’t worry, they’re not hard to come by.)
  3. You know what to do.

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You’ll know you’ve done your job when you’ve been forgotten. He’ll stop calling, stop texting, and after a few months you’ll run into him in the coffee shop on a Sunday morning.

He’ll say: “I’m doing pretty good, actually.”

You’ll say: “That’s great,” and embrace him like a child you raised, feeling equally proud and lonely—more lonely than proud, actually, though it’ll take years for the implications of that to fully sink in.

You’ll have the dress on.

You’ll have washed it since you last saw him.

You’ll catch another eye on your way out the door.


Photo used under Public Domain.

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About Author

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Bucket Siler is a writer, zine enthusiast, and the founder of Santa Fe Zine Fest. She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop, and has been a Vermont Studio Center Fellow and the recipient of a Fulcrum Fund Award. Her work has appeared in *Atticus Review*, *Bracken*, *The Nervous Breakdown*, and *Storm Cellar*, where she won second prize in the 2017 Force Majeure Flash Contest. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has lived in New Mexico since 2006.

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