When news broke that Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage, a lot of people had the same question: Jeff Bezos is married?!
Apparently, yes. And now the Amazon founder is likely to divide his fortune — the world’s largest — with his ex poised to reap around $69 billion in assets. (Nice.) But, again, I ask you: This guy is married? This Lex Luthor–looking, tech-vest-loving, union-obstructing Silicon Valley megabillionaire with a pet robot dog? I mean, this guy?
The longer you stare at an image like that one — and I don’t recommend it — the clearer this paradox becomes. It’s not that Bezos seems like an odd, wealthy bachelor who would never get hitched; it’s that for a couple of years now, he’s exuded what can only be termed “Big Divorce Energy.”
It’s confusing to find out he’s headed for splitsville when he strikes you as a dude who already has the first marriage in his rearview mirror. The updated clothes, the clean-shaven dome, the ripped revenge bod: “powerful divorced guy vibes,” as the Outline‘s Brandy Jensen put it.
It’s almost as if Jeff saw the writing on the wall, knew he’d be single in the near future and decided to fast-forward his character arc by skipping the traditional post-divorce malaise and sliding into Tinder mode. When my wife and I separated, I was suddenly broke and sleeping on a floor mattress, the very investment that devastated my bank account. I got a tattoo and smoked enormous joints and rode the bus a lot. When I had to feed myself, it was a choice between two nearby taco trucks — or another bag of chips from 7-Eleven. This, I thought, was the aesthetic of divorce. It didn’t have to be!
Little did I know that thousands if not millions of people are walking around as though they’ve been through a complete marital breakdown and emerged stronger on the other side, confident and thriving thanks to some kind of juice diet. The divorced person, of course, has more time to focus on themselves — they can get into yoga or elaborate skin-care routines, or, in Bezos’ case, a space rocket competition with Elon Musk.
Now that he’s in for an actual separation, however, ol’ Jeff may lose the luster of a purely theoretical divorce. He’s put a brave face on it so far, what with the “we’re still friends” announcement, and he’d have to lose the equivalent of a mid-sized country’s GDP before we thought of him as financially weakened. Still, he’ll have an inexplicable pop singer girlfriend before you know it — I wanna say Lorde? — and probably start tweeting too much. Maybe he’ll finally read Jordan Peterson’s Amazon bestseller, 12 Rules for Life. Don’t be surprised if he develops a passion for big-game hunting. If we’re truly unlucky, he’ll run for president. Anything besides washing the dishes every night.
But even as Bezos declines into more eccentric forms of supervillainy, and his awkward dates with swimsuit models become TMZ fodder, the rest of us can seize the Big Divorce Energy that propelled him to the top of the American oligarchy. Whether unattached or in a relationship, we ought to strive for self-improvement as if we are about to have our hearts broken and get dumped like a sack of manure. When faced with the worst scenario, you must be ready to flex on Instagram the day after. Think of it as doomsday prepping, but for your personality. Do this well and you might avoid a breakup altogether! Not wearing exclusively sweatpants does make a difference.
So go for it. Put yourself in the mindset of emotional resilience and redemption. Spend 2019 pretending that you have a former spouse now desperate to win you back, because you’re just that fabulous. And, uh, go full bald, I guess.
But also, start paying your workers a living wage and letting them take bathroom breaks. Like a boss.