Bitter Betty: A Week After Valentine’s Day

Bitter Betty gets a special sms on Valentine's Day

What’s the worst Valentine’s greeting you’ve ever received? Mine is this: “Hi Betty. I have thought about our conversation last Friday and I don’t think I can be your boyfriend. I’m just not at that place right now. I hope you understand”. To make it extra classy, the news was delivered to me by a text message. On Valentine’s Day.

Five hours later I staggered out of my local pub with the help of two of the regulars. “Promise me you won’t text him, sweetie”, said one of them. I could barely text in the condition I was in, but I can tell from my archive of sent messages that I managed to send him these words: “Cloud you gave me an explnation pls?” No reply.

How could I have misjudged Gustavo so badly? Those of you who have been following my column will remember him from such graceful entries as my bikini-waxing accident and bum-flight down a set of stairs, which put me in hospital but didn’t stop him from asking me out on a second date. We had a great time together and, granted, I was so infatuated with him that I completely neglected to fill in my readers in my love column. I guess a Single in the City column just doesn’t flow very well when written by someone who is head over heals in love with her boyfriend. Or in my case, the person she thinks is her boyfriend.

When I woke up the morning after Valentine’s Day, the dry taste of alcohol in my mouth and the rumble from my tortured intestines only distracted me from reality for a couple of seconds. Then I remembered what had happened. I felt so stupid. For shouting out loud in the pub that men are pigs; for knocking over three drinks in the bar; and for thinking that Gustavo actually wanted to introduce me to his family when he clearly had a completely different idea of our future. That Friday evening before Valentine’s Day, I had told him with excitement that I had taken time off on the dates when he was planning to go to Brazil to see his family. Instead of the ecstatic look I had expected on his face, I got a stiff smile and a look of slight horror. That led to a discussion of where we were in our relationship, and we had agreed to think and talk again later. Still, I didn’t expect to be dumped with a text message on Valentine’s Day.

My thoughts got interrupted by the beeping sound of my phone. My stomach contracted. It was a text from Gustavo. “Hi, do you want to come over tonight?” it says. This man clearly had communication problems, so I took it that he wanted to talk about why he had ended things the way he did.

On my way to his house, I got another text: “Do you want syrup or lemon juice on your pancakes?” Now my confusion was total. I smashed my phone on the pavement in sheer outrage and rang his doorbell five minutes later, with a broken phone in my hand and proverbial foam at the corners of my mouth.

His face lit up when he saw me, and he came forward with his head in what I realised was an attempt to kiss me. Without thinking I pushed him back and shouted “What do you think you’re doing? I want an explanation!”

He looked taken back, which is not surprising since I was probably glowing red in the face and my eyes were swelling up again. He led me into his living room where he had lit up some candles and placed two plates and a tray with pancakes on the table. I spotted a couple of DVDs from the rental place around the corner.

“I thought we could have a nice evening in” was his only reply. Confused and angry, I sat down on the sofa and broke down in tears. This was just too weird. Had he broken up with me or not? I didn’t get it.

Gustavo sat down next to me. “I didn’t think you would take it this way,” he said and tilted his head so he could look into my eyes.

“I thought we were just taking it easy. I didn’t mean that I don’t want to see you anymore, I just don’t want to get too serious right now.”

So that was the deal. We hadn’t broken up because we weren’t actually really together in the first place. Good to know. Gustavo actually thought we were going to eat pancakes and watch Lord of the Rings that night, and then probably go to bed as always. Just goes to show how differently two people can view the same relationship.

It has been a week now and my phone just got back from the repair shop. It’s so tempting to text him, and I know he would want to see me if I suggested it. But I don’t think I can handle being the one who wants more but can’t have it. Seeing him would be an immediate cure to my longing but it would eat away my good spirits and my integrity (if someone with my dating record can be said to have any of the latter). So I guess I’m back as The First Pint’s Single in the City. Prepare to cringe.