A growing number of women are dealing with guys who break their hearts by turning to a new Web site, and a new twist on an old formula. Instead of getting mad, they're getting cash.
That’s what Megahn Perry, one of the founders of exboyfriendjewelry.com, decided to do when she broke up with the man she thought she was going to marry.
“I had a couple necklaces and, um, a wedding set. Yikes!” she said in a piece reported on Thursday for TODAY by NBC’s Michael Okwu. “I loved wearing them at a certain point, but I never felt right about wearing them post breakup.”
Perry took them to a pawnshop, but it was in a sleazy part of town and the proprietor, who was dressed in what she called a “wifebeater” T-shirt and was packing a gun, didn’t fill Perry with confidence. A consignment shop didn’t offer prospects that were a great deal better.
She ended up talking about her dilemma over a dinner of pork chops with her stepmother, Marie Perry.
“God, wouldn't it fun to have a Web site where you can post things, buy jewelry, sell jewelry and kind of blog about the breakup as well?” Marie Perry said.
And just like that, exboyfriendjewelry.com was born in February. It is, say the women, equal measures capitalism and group catharsis — and more personal than other online auction sites.
Although the motto on the page said, “You don’t want it. He can’t have it back,” Marie and Megahn said there is a protocol for whether a woman keeps a gift or returns it.
“We both feel pretty strongly that an engagement ring, you always try to give it back,” Marie Perry told TODAY. Sometimes, the former fiancé or boyfriend doesn’t want it back, she said, in which case selling it just makes sense.
“If you’ve been married, what do you do with it?” she said of a ring. “You’re not going to wear your old wedding ring.”
Marie Perry also said that although there are some tart comments included with the merchandise, “We don’t want to make it a male-bashing site.”
The Perrys launched the site by sending e-mails out to friends and acquaintances. They soon attracted attention from local newspapers in California, where they live. Then it hit the New York Times and now the TODAY Show.
Marie said the good news was that Thursday’s piece attracted a lot of traffic. The bad news is that the Web site's server didn’t have the bandwidth to cope with the surge and crashed.
“This morning, it’s completely overwhelmed,” she said about an hour after the segment aired. She added that they are switching to a better dedicated server to handle the traffic.
Early Thursday morning there were nearly 150 items up sale, from a starfish-shaped dish to a $4,800 platinum wedding band.
It’s a simple transaction. Women register and put the gifts they got from ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands and don’t want anymore up for sale. Marie Perry said the site is entirely supported by advertisers, and the Perrys charge no commissions or registration fees; women keep everything they make.
The only catch is they are asked to include some sort of confession along with the merchandise.
For example, one woman is asking $1,000 for a three-diamond engagement ring that originally cost $2,800. Her explanation: “I was young and in love. What the hell was I thinking?”
Another woman has an alleged Yves Saint Laurent handbag for sale. About the bag, she says, “He looked good, but a fake just like this.”
Another women reports: “He gave me a cross that was given to him by his mother who I hated.”
And still another: “Turns out he bought the same pieces for his wife! Doh! He was married.”
One woman had listed a pair of his-and-her watches. She was so eager to get rid of the painful reminder of happier days, she was offering them for free.
After all, the site aims to give women more than a few dollars in return for his parting gift of a broken heart.
“By telling that story you're getting it off your chest,” said Megahn Perry. “You’re getting it out of your life.”