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Wine Corks, Guitar Picks, And Other Dating Mementos

When we go on vacations, we buy souvenirs. When we go to concerts, we save ticket stubs or tshirts. After dances, we dry our corsages. So what kind of stuff do we keep around after we're done dating someone? published a few essays on dating mementos: little souvenirs of past relationships and love stories.

When I asked my girlfriends about this phenomenon, most admitted to at least keeping a tshirt or two from previous boyfriends--girls are much more likely to part with boyfriends than they are with tshirts.

One friend amazingly had a number a previous boyfriend had ripped off his door their first night together: a shiny brass "3" which she looks to with much more fondness than the actual ex himself.

Other friends confessed to corks from special bottles of wine, guitar picks, stuffed animals, posters bought together.

Jewelry seems to be unanimously held onto, and still worn: eventually after a breakup, it loses its sentimental significance, becoming less of a dating memento than an item in a collection. (The same, as far as I can tell, is true for guys: I have an ex who still wears the cuff links I gave him years and years ago.)

Some girls keep all the things together in one place, a special box where old boyfriends can keep each other company, and be called upon when needed. Others make a point of getting rid of as much stuff as possible, an important step in their post-breakup process.

Most girls will never burn a love letter: it seems bad luck to do so, somehow, and there's no guaranteeing you'll ever receive one again. Unless of course it's a particularly dramatic breakup, in which case the letters will be burnt and returned to the sender, charred and ripped up.

There is a bottle of bug spray I have somewhere that I refuse to throw away, because one whiff of the smell and I'm instantly transported back to the day I bought it.

But for me, the biggest mementos, the ones I can't quite seem to get rid of, are names and numbers in my cell phone's contact list.

It doesn't matter that I haven't called in three years, won't ever call again.

It's just there, for historical purposes. A number once dialed often, a name once familiar--useless in function but somehow a little too hard to erase.

What sort of mementos do you guys keep after a relationship ends?

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