Thinking of going back to a former lover?
Don't do it.
Instead, snap out of your love daze with the help of a rubber band in The Original Dump Kit, created by Patti Watkins, a Lawrence native.
"It's for those times when you start thinking, 'Oh, the relationship wasn't that bad. I think I'll call him,'" she said. "So, you can snap the rubber band on your wrist and snap out of it."
The lighthearted kit developed from a girls' night out a few years ago for Watkins and four friends, who were venting about their relationships with men.
"Several of the girls were going through breakups, and I was dispensing advice," she said. "One of my friends said I should write a book."
Watkins, a free-lance film consultant who now lives in Westwood, said she intended to develop a book of tips for "getting over it." But then she decided a woman really needs some tools to get over a breakup, so she started brainstorming.
At one time, she said her list of ideas included 40 items such as chocolates, coupons for ice cream, sending flowers to yourself and shampoo to "wash the man out of your hair."
"It got pretty far out there when we were brainstorming," she said.
Finally, Watkins settled on six essential items for the red box:
l "Stop me before I date again!" lapel pin. "Just wear it for a while until you're ready to date again," she said. "It's a reminder when you're out with friends."
l "Wash-your-hands-of-him" soap.
l "Dear Jerk" form letter.
l "Stick-it-to-him" voodoo doll.
l "Snap-out-of-it" rubber-band.
l Bull's eye with dart. "Just put his photo in the center of it and you can throw the dart at him when you're angry," she said.
In July, Watkins started distributing the kits through Mudlark Papers, Chicago, and they now are sold nationwide. Locally, the kit is available at The Palace, Eighth and Massachusetts streets, and through her Web site. The suggested retail price is $15.
Watkins said the kit is designed to be fun.
"To me, I think you have to have a sense of humor of the whole thing and let go some of the more painful feelings to help you go on," she said. "It's a way to kind of laugh at the situation."
Watkins said women have shared their breakup stories through her Web site's "Let's Talk" section. She said girlfriends often give their friends the dump kit to help cheer them up. One woman told her the kit helped her get through the pain.
"Some people might actually use some of the items, and others might just want to give it to a friend to make them laugh," she said.
Surprisingly, Watkins said she has received many responses from young teen-agers who have been hurt by their first crush or first love.
"Those feelings are really strong," she said. "I think this is a fun way to get over it, and it's real affordable at their young age."
Even though it's difficult getting over a former boyfriend, Watkins said the experience can help a person become stronger.
"From breakups, you learn a little bit more about yourself," she said. "It's inevitable you'll meet someone else who's better. The dump kit helps you get ready for this."
-- Staff writer Joy Ludwig can be reached at 832-7144.