(The Root) — Apparently even celebrities have trouble navigating that awkward and unavoidable moment when your ex and your next are in the same place at the same damn time. From Halle Berry to Katy Perry, the sticky situation can call for either the police or paparazzi, depending on the temperature of the adults involved. But does it have to be that way?
Recently while Perry was on a lunch date with her current beau, John Mayer, in waltzed her ex-boo, Brit comedian Russell Brand. And what did the 28-year-old with more than 10 million albums sold do? Why, she reportedly nosedived under her table, of course.
According to a witness at Hollywood's Polo Lounge, "As soon as Katy saw Russell, she hid under the table. When he was directed to one far away, she emerged. John threw some money on the table and they headed to the back door and their waiting car. Russell didn't seem to see a thing but everyone in the restaurant saw what happened."
Perry and Russell were married for 14 months before divorcing this July. Perry's fiery single "Part of Me" is ripped right out of her grief journal: "So you can keep the diamond ring/I never liked them anyway/In fact you can keep everything." She appears to be around stage three — anger and bargaining, especially if hiding under a tablecloth is preferable to a simple hello or, heck, even a head nod.
Wednesday's guest co-host on The View, comedian Jenny McCarthy, who dated Jim Carrey for five years, said Perry's knee-jerk reaction was the opposite of what one should do in a similar situation. "I would suck it in and stick it out," said McCarthy, referring to what I like to call the "ex pose" — in which you make sure all your best bits are on display. But hindsight is always 20/20 when it comes to keeping your head when the dreaded Mr. Right Until He Wasn't shows up.
For Halle Berry, the men in her life — old and new — don't know how to play nicely. So when the father of her 4-year-old daughter Nahla, Gabriel Aubry, and her current fiance, Olivier Martinez, saw each another for a routine kid drop on Thanksgiving, sparks flew. Aubry, who ended up in handcuffs and the hospital, alleged picked (and then lost) a fight with Martinez. Days later Aubry and Berry reached an "amicable agreement."
So what can we learn from the Berry and Perry farces?
Obviously, domestic violence is a far cry from an embarrassing table dive, but drama is drama. In both cases romantic wildfires could have been doused before burning up the tabloids with just a cup full of civility.
Randomly enough, Real House Husband of Atlanta Peter Thomas agrees with me. In an interview with Uptown magazine Thomas, whose relationship advice, admittedly, is hardly sought after, admonished Berry for not taking control of the situation surrounding her. Thomas thought Berry should take a page from his wife Cynthia Bailey's book. "She made sure that everything was so cordial before [our relationship] could accelerate," he said of dealing with actor Leon Robinson, the father of Bailey's 12-year-old daughter, Noelle.
Sometimes referred to as the Hollywood for ugly people (although I take umbrage with that last part), my city Washington, D.C., like La La land, is a fishbowl of ambitious folks who inevitably float into intense relationships. Anywhere where goal-oriented one-track-minders mingle is a recipe for hooking up, breaking up and then seeing the last object of your affections at the next industry reception.
But hiding beneath a table or boxing your way out aren't viable options for any scandal-averse adult. And in a town filled to the brim with ex-boyfriends and future bosses, making a fool of yourself won't guarantee unfavorable publicity so much as it will unemployment. Of course, the easier road to take is the highest one. An added bonus is that from way up there it's harder to get dirt on your shoes or your record.