“He is my best friend, and it will be that way forever,” Paris Hilton said of Paris Latsis. “She’s the most incredible woman I have ever met in my life,” Paris Latsis said of Paris Hilton, reading from the nearest Josh Groban lyric sheet.

If you assumed that these soul-shriveling testaments of mutual respect and admiration were made when the two Parises announced their engagement, you simply haven’t been reading Us Weekly closely enough. No, this is how the lovebirds informed the world that the wedding was off.

We hate to interrupt the group hug, kids, but for Chrissakes—put up your dukes and come out brawling! Nobody walks away from a broken engagement unless they do so with a pronounced limp. Breakups should be wholly uncivil affairs: smashed plates, shattered egos, cheap insults, hate sex. If you put out a statement, it should come not from a happy-talking publicist but from a ball-busting attorney. And if your lawyer employs a private detective to come up with videos that will cause your ex to drop her alimony charges with extreme prejudice, so much the better.

“All this feel-good breakup stuff rings completely false,” says Greg Behrendt, coauthor of He’s Just Not That Into You and the new It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken. “Nobody comes away from a breakup saying ‘Well, yeah, that was all right!’ Someone’s always crushed. Somebody has to be angry.”

And anger can be therapeutic—or, at the very least, entertaining. You think Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes didn’t feel better after burning her boyfriend’s Atlanta mansion to the ground? Or how about Nicole Kidman? I’m sure that getting in a dig on Tom Cruise’s hobbity stature by sweetly purring “I can wear heels now” was a big step toward recovery. You have to tip your hat to Halle Berry’s ex Eric Benet, who made his exit while plugging himself into any socket that wasn’t properly capped. Even the boozed-up slap-fighting that David Gest complained of in his divorce papers was the least revolting and most plausible part of his eerie union with Liza. Besides, unless you can figure out how to get pregnant, the whirling emotional Ginsu knife of a breakup is the only time in your life you will have carte blanche to offend friends and family like Jenna Bush during Pledge Week.

“It’s hard to be civil, even if you have the best intentions,” says Ian Kerner, relationship counselor, best-selling author, and cohost of Discovery Health Channel’s Love on the Rocks. “But I think you have to go through the anger to get to the catharsis.”

Which is bad news for Bruce Willis, the former badass who has been adopted as a kind of family pet by his ex-wife and her new husband. Bruce and Demi and Ashton vacation together. They go to premieres together. They probably stage naked drum circles in the Hollywood Hills together.