The Cruddy Award

The Tournament of Exes

Monday, April 18, 2005


D's story: The worst part of this story is that I stayed with this gigantic gaping asshole for nearly three years...

We met at my girlfriend's vintage clothing store in New Orleans, where I lived at the time. He had just rented the studio apartment behind her shop and he had a certain disheveled, Paul Rudd-esque charm. He was unemployed, so I finagled him a job at my friend's bar. After a few months of flirting, etc. I fucked him, and next thing I knew, he had moved in to my house. Somehow the arrangement involved me paying all the bills and him occasionally “borrowing” my ATM card to “put gas in my car”. I worked days at a respectable office job, he bartended at night and would wake me up at 4 AM, when his shift was over so “I could pick him up because the bus sucks.”

Once, he took my ATM card because he wanted to go have an after work beer and I was too tired (it was, after all, 4 AM) and next thing I knew he had emptied my checking account buying drinks for everyone and playing video poker. I had to borrow money from my boss to pay my rent on time that month.

Then he got drunk, totaled my car by hitting four, yes FOUR, parked cars, and ran off, leaving the keys in the ignition. I was woken at 4 AM by two cops at my door. Then, a few months later, he totaled my replacement car by hitting a cab at a stop sign in the French Quarter. He made it a hit and run and drove the car to my house, parking it around the corner. When I woke up and went to go to work, I found the front end all bashed in. He tried to tell me someone must have hit it overnight while it was parked. It wasn't until the cabby's insurance adjuster came to my door with witness statements that I found out what really he happened.

After each of these incidents, somehow, I was moronic enough to forgive him. I still am in shock that I was that stupid. The final straw came on my birthday. He had switched to day shift so that we could go out to dinner (I was paying of course) to celebrate my birthday. He never showed up and no matter how many times I called his cell (that I had given him and was paying for), he didn't answer it. I spent the whole night calling hospitals and the police. Finally, the next morning at 10 AM, he finally answered his cell to tell me that...

A) my incessant calling was annoying him
B) he had gotten drunk after work and fucked some cocktail waitress
C) he'd be home later and we could celebrate my birthday then

That was the straw. I had the locks changed within two hours and had all his crap, most of which I had bought him, on the curb in garbage bags shortly thereafter. He actually showed up a few hours later and tried to make up with me.

Do I win? By the way, I can promise you that NOT A SINGLE thing in this story is exaggerated. I can, and will, verify each aspect of this story if you need me to. I even still have all the insurance claim paperwork.

“I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it.” -William Faulkner

K's story: At 19, I split up with a long-time boyfriend and found solace in a 31 year old that I was in a show with. I told him from word “go” that he was a rebound. One week into our relationship he told me he loved me. Two weeks into our relationship he began sabotaging condoms. A month or so later I find out I'm pregnant and he's ecstatic. “Great!” he says, “Now I can be a daddy and we can start a family!” I break up with him, and begins calling me 50+ times a day, leaving dozens of schizophrenic messages. I finally need to take out two restraining orders-one for the phone calls and one for the crayon drawings of him snuggling my uterus he would tape to my front door. I wound up giving our son up for adoption, but he spent months attempting to get sole custody of my unborn (he was found unfit after getting caught tying up one of his deaf, blind, mute, autistic students at the State School for the Blind).

Recently I ran into him (five years later) and attempted to smooth things over-since we both work in the same profession in a small city. He asked if he knew me, and when I said we'd had a kid together five years back he told me it didn't ring a bell.

“And what is it to work with love? It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit, and to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.” -Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”

Old Hag says: I could not, upon reading these sad tales, but reflect that a simple change of exes here would have done the trick. (Can't you just picture #2 being glad that rebound man is happy to run around fucking cocktail waitresses, while #1 enjoyed all the sketches tie-me-up-tie-me down made of the products bought for his pleasure?) I could also not but reflect that, while #1 was certainly terrifyingly accepting, #2 was a little mean. (Given such latitude, I might well crash several cars, and, denied my baby, I might also find that tying up a deaf, blind, mute, autistic student was the only way to go.) Still, my job here is not to judge the defendants but the exes themselves. Crashing cars, fucking cocktail waitresses. Unacceptable. Forgetting you had a baby with someone-equally poor conduct. (We're going to leave out the tying up the student, because, after all, he did not tie up THE GIRLFRIEND.) Still. CRAYON DRAWINGS. Worst ex EVER!

And #2 proceeds to the finals.

WINNER: The girl with the uterus. Oh, wait. The second one.

Old Hag once purchased two pairs of J. Crew pants for a penniless gentleman days after he had told her to, quote unquote, shut up. The next day, he broke up with her, then asked if he could keep the pants. She let him.

Friday, April 08, 2005


R's Story: I somehow fell in love with a guy we'll call David. I lived with him and his blind, chain smoking mother in a tiny cockroach infested townhouse (no wonder it was infested, he used to leave food in his room for days and then eat it). He would shower once a week approximately. Carrying on...he drank so much that he used to pee the bed (or wherever he passed out...couch, floor etc.). I would wake up in a warm disgusting pool of it regularly.

He cheated on me with one of the girls at the bar he used to own. By this time we were living together in our own place. Girlie used to circle our building in her car and follow me around town. She sent me letters telling me how lucky I was to have him. The grand finale... he got angry one night, threw a pizza at the wall, cut the phone cord in half and punched a hole in the wall. I knew at this point it was time to call it quits.

I look back and wonder how I could have possibly stayed for two years.

R2's story: My cousin was getting married in Atlanta, so I naturally roped in my boyfriend of 2 years as "And Guest." In that easygoing way he had, A.G. didn't care much whether he went to the wedding or not, but the deal was sweetened when he learned one of his favorite bands, Suicide, was playing a show that same weekend. True, it was the same night of he wedding itself, and yeah, the band had a show back in our hometown he following week, but somehow "And Guest" made this gig the centerpiece of the entire trip.

A.G. appeared for his car-ride down with a Tupperware full of hash brownies and a sixer. Not inherently bad, but it was a matter of simple etiquette, like how you don't smoke in front of friends who are quitting. You don't kick off a passenger-side road trip like that. I took my frustration out on the gas pedal, so just over the NC line I got nabbed for 85 in a 60. A.G. was unphased. Back on the road, he retrieved the Tupperware from under the seat, killed the last beer, and dozed off.

Upon arriving, a sluggish A.G. excused himself from me and the fam to go down to the club and buy tickets for tomorrow's show. Sidetracked by southern hospitality and alcoholism, he failed and had to go back he next day. The club didn't open until 6; waiting for A.G. to get back, we missed the nuptials themselves. Eschewing tardiness twice in one night, as soon as he'd finished his dinner at the reception, he told me he was out to catch the band.

He stumbled in at 3 a.m., piss drunk, reeking of rock and roll, and woke me up. "I wish you could have been there," he slurred passionately, "Suicide is so great." Perhaps, but could it really hold a candle to homicide at that point? A.G. slept through brunch the next morning and was still snoring when I shoved him awake so we could check out.

Doing the speed limit, it takes 7 hours to drive from Atlanta, GA to Washington, DC. When you are not speaking, it feels even longer.

Claire Zulkey says: This is a tough one, because while R's story is indeed horrible, it's hard to imagine why she put up with this guy. Did he leave ho-ho's underneath the mattress? But pity points must be deducted when one is staying with a guy so obviously horrible. You woke up in a warm disgusting pool of pee "regularly." This is the 21st century, my dear: pee in the bed once, shame on you. Pee in the bed twice, shame on me. Really, seriously, shame on you though. By the way, the pizza story needs more detail: if it landed crust-first against the wall, then it isn't quite so bad but if you had pepperoni sliding towards the carpet, then you'd get extra gross-out points.

Maybe it's because I too have been stuck as the sober sidekick on an otherwise drug-filled car drive, but I think the award goes to #2. Why do I get the impression that her boyfriend didn't make brownies for his sweetie, but only to enjoy the magic of his own baking? Plus, humiliation in front of friends and family always adds up to extra points.

WINNER: Suicide girl.

Claire Zulkey is a Chicago writer, who "blogs" or whatever at and She once found out that her ex-boyfriend had been lying about his fancy job, and that the whole time they had been dating, he was working for a restaurant. Okay, that actually happened to a friend of hers. Claire Zulkey is too awesome to dredge up her own past: only other people's.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


J's story: Just over two years ago, I asked my girlfriend to marry me. I loved her - she was a sweet girl, helped my family a lot when my mother had gone through chemo the year before. But now my mother was cured and I asked her to marry me when I took her on a 2 month trip through Europe. She said yes and we returned to the states. I had a job in Atlanta and she had school in DC - so I turned down the job in Atlanta and moved with her to DC so she could get her postgraduate degree in Peace Studies (Peace Studies!!!)

Anyway, things were going well. We'd been in DC for a few months and I'd found a pretty good job after a long search - I liked it, at least, and it paid well. But then one day in March I got a call from my family - my mother's cancer had come out of remission. It was a bad day. I was distracted enough at work that one of the schizophrenic girls (I worked in mental health) stabbed me with a pen, right in my neck. It hurt like hell.

So I went to pick up my girlfriend. She was working nights at the Spy Museum and going to school in the daytime. So I swung by the museum to see my fiancée. It turns out that she didn't work there - she wanted to come to DC not because of school but because she thought it would be fun to be a call girl. Later, she asked me "What could be more karmically nice than giving orgasms to lonely old men?"

So I moved out - she decided that meant she could keep the $1000 deposit I'd put down on our apartment. But she was still mad that I'd ducked out with 6 months left on the lease. So she sent my mother letters hoping that 1. cancer was spreading and 2. it is fatal (for both of us).

My girlfriend these days wonders why I have a fear of commitment...

L's story: I was going out with awful ex number two for four years and slowly drifting towards marriage when my younger sister came to live with us. Within a month the ex and I at loggerheads and after a protracted process we called it quits. ONE WEEK after we broke up I went on holidays to get drunk and fuck backpackers I came back to the news that my darling sister and my darling ex had "got it on" and were now expecting a bundle of joy.

Said bundle is due on my birthday.

This was AFTER I had acquired Ghana's national debt to furnish the house that she and I would be living in together.

They now live in the suburbs together. Apparently I have an attitude problem and it was my fault that it happened because I went on a holiday.

The final kick is that I was so disgusted in terrible Ex's behaviour that I destroyed the Limited Edition Joey Ramone Action Figure and The Misfits Coffin Shaped Lunchbox that he gave me.

I really regret that now but he still sucks.

simon hb says: Instinctively, it would seem that the first entry doesn't have very much to complain about - your girlfriend's a hooker? So, basically, you've been getting something for free that other people are prepared to pay for? Plus you don't have to worry about that awkward leaving cash under the clock or whatever.

On the other hand: your ex taking up with your sister is surely flattering? It's like saying "I really dig your DNA, I just don't quite like the way it's working there." Obviously, being asked not to visit your sister any more hurts, but that sort of thing happens in all the best families, exes or no exes.

So, the winner then: entry one, with extra marks for the mother-directed bile.

simon hb does No Rock and Roll Fun when he should be working; he was once dumped in favour of someone who believed Janis Joplin was not only still alive, but was a man. Upon returning home, he tried to play The Smiths until he realised it wasn't that bad and downgraded to The Wedding Present.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


T's Story: This story was actually submitted in the form of a graphic novel, or, as we like to call it, a comic strip. Read it here.

A's Story: I was the only white cheerleader during my junior year of high school, and had somehow attracted the eye of the really hot football player with a terrible reputation for womanizing.

I think we dated for nine months. after taking my virginity and promising marriage, in those months he'd managed to:

• ban me from drinking because "it wasn't ladylike”

• sleep with a number of my friends

• get one of them pregnant (a catholic girl who had the pleasure of asking her mom accompany her to terminate her pregnancy)

• sleep with three other girls on the cheerleading squad

• father a child (with a girl from a different high school)

• get suspended for proposing sex with one of his teachers

• make a sex video with a 14-year-old girl that floated around school that even our principal saw. I got to see it after he left for college.

the night before he left for college he convinced me to stay out later than my curfew, resulting in my parents initiating a strict curfew of 11 p.m. my entire senior year.

i think the only things i got out of this were a pretty sweet mix tape, a lot of college feminism courses and the long term effects of an eating disorder.

ah, young love.

Jeff Johnson says: GRAPHIC: After reading this thing, I feel cheated on, too. While I appreciate the drawings, I have no idea what the hell happened. Dude loves a chick then she wants to borrow his key and breaks up with him? Is there something I missed? Visually it reminded me a lot of Karl Heitmueller's old retail-is-hell "Kalli & Rex" cartoons.

CHEERLEADER: I'm so glad she pointed out that she was white early on. That tells me everything, like who to side with in this drama. Fucking Eskimos. They're so goddamn pervy. Never fuck an Eskimo. But the transition from the horrid EX making a porno with a 14 year-old to "keeping me out past my curfew" leads me to believe that this gal got off easy. (no pun intended). I feel some of this story may be embellished -- like the whole thing perhaps, but it is the clear winner between these two.

WINNER: The chick with the pom-poms.

Jeff Johnson once had an ex who told her friend that he slobbered all over her while kissing. That hurt. Especially when she slobbered all over him first.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


K's Story: Exposed.

I lived with a stone carver 25 years my senior. We lived in the woods in a house without plumbing or electricity. After two years, I realized that I couldn't stay with him any longer. I needed more, like hot water and a flush toilet.

One day, shortly before we finally split, he was in need of a photo reference for a carving. We were in the midst of a heated debate about our future, but without hesitation, I posed in the complicated manner required for his work.

No big deal.

About a month after we stopped speaking to each other, I received a package from the public library. I opened it to find nude photos of myself, the ones taken for his reference, along with a letter from a librarian telling me they were found inside a book.

I'm not sure which one.

The humiliating part of it, aside from the fact that the library staff identified me from the photos, and I do not know how many people were part of this process, is that there was nothing provocative about them. They were taken for purely technical reasons, and as such, were awkward and unflattering.

That hurt.

V's Story: Before I smartened up, the last asshole came on the heels of a prolonged, very happily-single period of my life. What can I say - he was hot, had great tattoos, and wrote earnest typewritten love letters. He also had a bit of a homeless criminal past (edgy!), a father who had cut off his own genitals (understands my weird family!), and ambitions that ended at social assistance and a basement apartment for him and his pitbull. But, he seemed smitten, and I was going with it. Despite his joblessness, he didn't expect me to pay for him - he was happy to watch me drink all night then stand at the table downing the 2 inches of beer I'd left in my mug at the end of the night. A few months in, he relented and got a part-time job as a cook at a local pub. One night while I hung out during his shift, he had his friends rob my apartment, stealing my beloved guitars, recording equipment, and my roommate's laptop.

Of course I didn't find out it was him until later. The robbery left my roommate and I shaken. And she was going on a trip the very next day. I was scared to be alone, but he promised to stay with me. But when I called, he said he couldn't come over after all - he had forgotten about "plans" to get stoned with a friend. Wha? I'm baffled and tearful. Later, he called from the friend's place. A change of heart? No, but he really wanted me to hear the friend's really cool new computer program that generated a voice to read aloud the stuff you typed. A robot voice proceeded to read me a long letter explaining to me that he had decided to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, but that I am a "great girl" and will find love. At the end of it, I quietly hung up the phone. Hobo punk robbed and computer-dumped me. The End.

Prof. Drew LeDrew says: Let's face it, any good break-up story requires three things: 1) homeless criminals; 2) mutilated genitals; and 3) a long kiss-off letter voiced by a robot. Three things that really slow a good dis down? 1) libraries; 2) geezers; 3) unflattering nude photos. All of which makes this particular match no contest.

In this corner we have "Exposed," the story of a woman (we're surmising) who lived two years in the woods with "a stone carver 25 years my senior." She needed more --- "like hot water and a flush toilet." (Candy Bushnell, this is your fault.) In the midst of their break-up, geezer asks her to pose "in the complicated manner required for his work." (Is it just us, or is she not over him yet?) So she does, "without hesitation." (Hello?) Wouldn't you know, about a month later the photos turn up tucked into a book at the local library; the library staff is able to ID her and sends along the "awkward and unflattering" images. Setting aside the fact that the folks at the library staff knew her face (we're surmising) well enough to finger her (hello?), all we have here is that a librarian or two got to see some artsy, un-airbrushed photos of a dedicated library patron. Oy. Haven't these people heard of a little thing called an internet? That these pics didn't end up on any one of our favorite porn sites is a small miracle, and one we should all be rather relieved about.

And in this corner we have a lady we'll call "Hobo punk'd," who relates the tale of a "hot" gentleman with "great tattoos," who, in addition to writing wonderful, typewritten love letters, also came with a bit of baggage, namely, "a homeless criminal past, a father who had cut off his own genitals, and ambitions that ended at social assistance and a basement apartment for him and his pitbull." Beautiful. The gentleman, initially content to suck the backwash from our heroine's beers, eventually gets a job of his very own, as a cook at a local pub. One night, the fair maiden hangs out with him during his shift, and -- hey, what a coincidence -- her apartment is robbed the very same night. Fearful of being alone, she calls him; he relents, having "forgotten about 'plans' to get stoned with a friend." But before the call ends -- well, we'll let her tell it:

He really wanted me to hear the friend's really cool new computer program that generated a voice to read aloud the stuff you typed. A robot voice proceeded to read me a long letter explaining to me that he had decided to get back together with his ex-girlfriend, but that I am a "great girl" and will find love. At the end of it, I quietly hung up the phone. Hobo punk robbed and computer-dumped me.

Now, the robo-letter is pure genius -- we've always believed there is nothing like a dehumanized voice to communicate deep-seated emotional truths (just ask the wife) -- but we feel for this "great girl." She had us at "cut off his own genitals."

WINNER: "Hobo punk'd" in. a. land. slide.

Prof. Drew LeDrew helps maintain the weblog Chemistry Class. A former girlfriend dumped the good professor after she fell in love with the French Culinary Institute. Most of LeDrew's friends, including his roommate, got some good meals out of it.

I know I've lied to you before, but this time it'll be different, I swear.

We're sure many of you have lost faith that you'd ever see this project come to fruition: To be honest, so did we. It's only been, what, a month or so since we announced it? But shockingly, we finally got off our asses and mailed out the entries to the judges. Even more shockingly, some of them have already written back. Starting today, we'll be posting judgments as we receive them, moving the tournament along to its inevitable denouement when the worst ex of all time (of the people who bothered to write in) is chosen, live on the Internet. A couple of things: We'll try to update daily, but we're at the mercy of our judges and their busy schedules. Check Lindsayism and TMFTML for information on when new posts have gone up. Or get yourself an RSS reader, that's probably easier than having to wade through the crap on our sites.

Also. You know the part in contests where they say that all entries were uniformly excellent and we wish everyone could be a winner? That ain't gonna happen here. Most of what we got was shit, and subliterate shit at that. We're lucky that we were able to pick out sixteen entries without having to make some up. On the other hand, there were a few entries that, while strong, we were unable to use because of the limit. If we didn't pick yours, just tell yourself it was one of those. Okay, a quick rundown of the rules: Two entries will be paired against each other and evaluated by one of our judges. Whichever entry he or she deems superior moves on to the next round, where it will be once again judged, this time against another survivor, until finally two entries stand alone, and the entire panel votes on the winner. All clear? All right. Let's start this thing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Is it even possible to libel a pseudonymous individual?

Oh for the love of Crudup, this is exactly like the Iocaine powder scene in The Princess Bride...

From yesterday's "joke" submitter:

"I expect an apology as unfortunately that whole story,
with the possible exception of being the perfect
boyfriend, is completely true. The visit to the set
was arranged though the the Make-A-Wish foundation and
my girlfriend accompanied her sister and mother down
to North Carolina. Her sister actually appears
briefly in the episode, "Barefoot at Capefest", in a
non-speaking role. She not only got to meet the cast
and appear on the show, but also had dinner with Josh
Jackson. It was probably not the most prudent thing
to confront her about cheating while she was there,
but my emotions superceded my better judgement. I
think part of the reason that I stayed with her
despite my overwhelming suspicion of her
unfaithfulness was the guilt of having blemished her
sister's visit . I recommend that in the future
before calling someone a liar in print that you give
them the courtesy of proving themselves first. I
would have provided substantiating details if asked.
If you disqualify my story for any reason, it should
be because it slightly exceeds the 200-word limit."

Best regards,

- Beat Royalty

Monday, March 28, 2005

Here Comes the Crud

Okay, all entries have been received, and the sixteen best of them have been forwarded along to the various judges. As soon as they make their decisions, we’ll start posting them here. Until then, please enjoy the following entry, which did not pass the selection process on the grounds that it’s pretty clearly bullshit. Which is sad, because it was certainly the most entertaining piece we received. Without further ado, Beat Royalty’s tragic tale of love, loss, and possibly that kid with the giant head from an old WB show.

"I was the perfect boyfriend. I had been comforting, understanding, self-sacrificing, and even attentive in bed. I had surrendered both nights and weekends alone, so that she could be with her 14-year old sister who was undergoing extended treatment for cancer. I even stayed behind as they went to the set of Dawson's Creek. It was while she was away that I discovered a letter poorly hidden in the bottom drawer of her dresser. This was followed by the discovery of several emails confirming my suspicion that she had been cheating. It turns out that the trip she had taken recently to New Mexico with friends had actually been with someone else. She had lied to both me and her parents and I confronted her with what I had found. She was upset and denied it, seeking solace with the cast of Dawson's. Katie Holmes called me an inconsiderate bastard and Josh Jackson said far worse. I gave her the benefit of the doubt when she returned as I did love her and I think she still did love me as she would lovingly call out my name in her sleep. However, I was never sure as it was also the name of her step-father's cousin, who I suspected her of having an affair. "

And there you go. Real entries to come as soon as our judges get off their asses and send them in. [MEMO TO L.: Let's remember to send the entries to the judges ASAP.]