spy games of the heart

Lessons From Carrie Bradshaw for Edward Snowden’s Heartbroken Girlfriend

Photo: right: LSJourney/Instagram

The discovery of fugitive NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s pole-dancing girlfriend and her sexy, tearful blog has onlookers up in arms. Was Edward a bad boyfriend? Will Lindsay ever recover? Is this like the time Edward left Bella to protect her in the Twilight saga? Should we feel bad about making that comparison?

The Guardian’s interview with Snowden suggests Mills fell prey to a breakup technique known as “the fadeaway”:

As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world.”

First identified in Amy Sohn’s “Naked City” column — and later expounded upon in the texts of Carrie Bradshaw — “the fadeaway” is the type of breakup where the man says he’s just running to the store for a pack of cigarettes, and is never heard from again. Explains Sohn:

Generally, it’s the man who pulls the fadeaway, since the onus is usually on him to call. And though most fadeaway victims agree that it’s acceptable after a few dates, what’s surprising is just how many people end long-term relationships this way. It seems the breakup talk is a thing of the past.

Snowden’s spectacular fadeaway is a byproduct of betraying his employer’s trust in the name of undermining NSA surveillance, which makes his the ne plus ultra of fadeaways. Edward Snowden faded away from Lindsay Mills, his family, his employer, and the federal government as a whole. He is the most epic fader-away-er of our time.

Luckily, the same Ex-Girlfriend Industrial Complex that explains the fadeaway also provides coping mechanisms for its victims. Since America, as a whole, is suffering from Snowden’s fadeaway — wondering where he is now, where he is going, and whether he still wears those sexy eyeglasses —  let us turn to frequent fadeaway victim Carrie Bradshaw for guidance.


After a shattering break-up by Post-it note in the sixth season of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw comforts herself by knocking over a vase of carnations and screaming at Michael Showalter at a nightclub where everyone sits on beds. This makes her feel better.

For Lindsay Mills: Do you still share a home with Edward? Consider burning his clothes.

For America: Tear the Edward Cullen posters from your wall and replace them with Edward Snowden. Then tear those posters down, too. Cry.

For the Feds: The punitive actions you’re probably already working on.


After screaming at Michael Showalter, Carrie Bradshaw uses her tragic Post-it tale to get out of a run-in with the cops.

For Lindsay Mills: As you note in your blog, “for the first time in my life I feel strong enough to be on my own.” Consider an Eat, Pray, Love adventure, writing a memoir, or selling an interview to Today or your life rights to the Lifetime network.

For America: You are going to have so much fun live-tweeting Lindsay Mills’s future Today interview or Lifetime TV movie.

For the Feds: Now you can imprison another computer nerd. You love imprisoning computer nerds.


In the Sex and the City movie, Mr. Big leaves Carrie stranded at the altar. There is violent flower-flinging here, too, followed by the warm embrace of female friends. “The girls” then go to Mexico, where they enjoy Carrie’s honeymoon suite. Charlotte delights everyone by shitting herself.

For Lindsay Mills: Based on your blog post “reflecting on all the faces that have graced my path. The ones I laughed with. The ones I’ve held,” you may already be doing this. Consider asking a “laughed with” friend to shit herself.

For America: Find your office IT guy. Hug him. Then apologize for hugging him, you don’t want him to feel threatened and start reading your e-mails or something.

For the Feds: You’ll always have the Bradley Manning trial.

Carrie Bradshaw Advice for Snowden’s Girlfriend