Dear Mike’s New Girlfriend,

Wow. Big news! Congratulations on today’s announcements. We’re genuinely excited for you guys.

We realized a few years ago that the social value of dating Mike was so obvious and the advantages so overwhelming that every girl would want to date him, or “someone just like him,” within the decade. It’s validating to see you’ve come around to the same way of thinking. And even though — being honest here — it’s a little scary, we know just getting it all over with will bring a better future forward faster.

However, all this is harder than it looks. So, as you set out to find out just how terrible he is, we want to give you some friendly advice.

Image: Andrew Fogg. Art: Silvia.

First, and most importantly, it’s not his features that matter. You’re not going to reassure yourself that Mike is someone you really love and is totally worth dating by making a big list of his “cute features” and simply checking those boxes. The gravitational pull that has led to dozens of girls like you and me to flock to Mike has been, and continues to be, driven by something much deeper.

Building a relationship with Mike is completely impossible, because it would require a degree of thoughtfulness and empathy he does not possess. And how far you go in trying in vain to “help” him is going to say a lot about you.

Communication is hard, yet it is the most fundamental thing we do as human beings. And yet Mike is incapable of it. We spent tens of thousands of hours talking to other women who’ve dated him and bent over backwards to find the grooves that match all of Mike’s stupid fucking quirks. The internal transparency and sense of shared purpose that Mike’s ex-girlfriends discover is not an accident. We have a type.

Second, an open relationship is essential. Communication is just one thing he can’t do. Monogamy is another. The modern, cool girlfriend relies on dozens of different friends for her daily gossip, and that number is constantly expanding. These critical spying processes and information flows demand the best sources, regardless of gender. You’re also going to have to find elegant and creative ways to break into his phone and email.

We are deeply committed to making sure your experience of dating Mike is as authentic as possible, no matter how long it lasts. You have to be willing to see his true nature, so you’re going to have to listen to us. We know that playing nice with others isn’t exactly your MO, but if you can’t offer Mike an open relationship that brings all the emotional and physical input he needs together into one place and makes his life dramatically simpler, it’s just not going to work.

Third, you’ve got to do this with love. Preferably the kind of idiotic “unconditional” love that doesn’t even care if he literally does not love you back.

When you respond immediately to all his iMessages, agonize over the best way to slip some humor into conversations about possibly breaking up, constantly stay at his apartment instead of yours because it’s “easier” (it’s not), or achieve a 10-minute average turnaround time for a thoughtful, human response to each unintelligible, manic email, that’s not “going above and beyond.” It’s not “being clever.” That’s how we do, girls like us. That’s who we are.

When we say your mission is to make Mike happier, calmer, and most importantly more in love with you, we’re not simply mouthing the words. If you want Mike to love you forever, you have to realize this is all a fucking joke and it will never happen.

One final point: We’ll be here for you when it’s over. Mike won’t.

You can see us in nearly every bar and café and every barre studio across the city. Mike zaps the emotional resources of all kinds of women: architects and filmmakers and dancers and lawyers and copy writers and he totally has a thing for photographers. Even if you see a woman and she hasn’t dated Mike, she has probably dated someone just like him, and she knows what a wild ride you’re in for. Tens of thousands of women on the main streets of towns and cities all over the planet are walking around, knowing your truth.

So welcome, Mike’s New Girlfriend, to the revolution. We’re glad you’re going to be helping us further define his idiocies for future reference. We admire many of your achievements and know you’ll be a worthy companion for him to completely neglect and mistreat. We’re sure you’re going to come up with a couple of excuses on your own too. And we’ll be right there, ready for when you give up.

— Your friends in The Real World

Dear Microsoft,