Manchester popped my lap dance cherry in a Mexican cantina last week.
Then the fucker broke my heart.
That’s probably an exaggeration, he never really had it to break. Let’s just say that he turned from cool to cunty in just seven standard drinks and left me feeling bruised.
Manchester could be a bad drunk, which is something I’ve noticed with a lot of Bipolar people. Drinking with him was a game of glass bottle Russian Roulette- was he going to be excessively happy and talkative, or was he going to be an argumentative prick? He had never been mean until this particular evening which started, funnily enough, with him calling me his girlfriend for the first time. Somehow that turned into a lecture on my marriage.
For reasons that will forever remain a mystery to any rational human being, he chose that evening to give me his ill-informed and slightly arrogant opinion about my fucking marriage. The fact that I’m divorced- as is he, mind you- is such of a non issue with me now that I was consistently surprised when he’d bring it up. The evening started with the sentence, “I think that you are a gigantic pussy for taking a cheater back and marrying him,” and quickly degenerated to “It’s kind of all your fault.” I was more than slightly affronted. Number one- my marriage and the choices I made leading up to it are none of his fucking business, and number two- who the fuck is he to judge me for my past? He didn’t know me then and, realistically, he only has my side of the story, which isn’t enough to base an opinion on. It annoyed me, but rather than discharging a barbed comment of my own regarding the questionable romantic choices he’s made in his past, I put my big girl underpants on instead. “You can judge away, but my decisions- right or wrong- are my own. It was the only thing that I could have done in that situation and it was a choice that put me in a place where I’m now happy. I’ve harnessed something post divorce that keeps me content, and without it I wouldn’t have gotten here, so I won’t be made to feel bad about it.”
I know- right on, CC. I’m usually not too proud of the stuff that flies out of my mouth, but I was sort of proud of that. Apparently it was the correct thing to say because he dropped it. We went out to a club with a group of people from the hostel and here he went from mildly prickish to festeringly cunty. Not wanting to put up with his shit, I left for the dance floor with a group of girls I’d met.
I later discovered that this was the wrong decision. I wasn’t meant to man up, I was meant to submissively latch onto him and put up with his crap. When I found him later in the evening he was chatting to an ex-girlfriend, a girl who greeted me in that unashamedly hostile way that women who believe they are in competition with each other do. I found it funny. I mean, she was four foot tall so not only could I have raised a leg and crushed her under my Doc Martens, but the poor girl also bore an uncanny resemblance to a bridge troll. A pug nose being turned up in the air is hard to take seriously. I made a flippant comment about her hostility to Manchester who took it the wrong way. After assuring him that I didn’t give two tenths of a fuck about what his fucking Mexican ex thought of me, we engaged in a fight. Here, he kicked off. He chastised me for disappearing to the dance floor. I laughed.
“What, you’re mad because I went dancing?”
He became nastier until I eventually I did what I always do when backed into a corner- I went for the jugular.
In a way, he only has himself to blame for this next part. I’d warned him that I had an innate ability to figure out what will cut a person to the core and when I get mad enough I can be horrible. I think that years of honing my observational powers as a psych nurse has refined the skill of figuring out someone’s emotional Achilles tendon. Friends, exes and, regrettably, family members have all copped the sharp end of my tongue at some point. It’s not an aspect of my personality that I particularly like, but it’s there and at least my temper hides at the end of a very long fuse. What Manchester had done throughout the night was poke a bear with a broom handle. When a single paw swipe removed half of his face, he was stupid enough to act bewildered. I knew Manchester well enough to say this, “Okay, well I guess you’ll have to find someone else to pay for everything, then.”
It might not seem like much, but Manchester was between schemes and suitably broke. The fact that his life was an indelicate mess was a sore point for him. It didn’t bother me, I had judged him on his behaviour rather than his bank balance. He had grand plans for an Eco Resort that he was sourcing crowd funding for, but this was slow moving and he was stagnating when I met him. Sleep on the beach because you have no cash kind of stagnating. He’d gone from being a successful lawyer who travelled Europe through a network of five star hotels to a poverty stricken, Puerto Escondidan bum and like all good capitalists, he found this absolutely tragic. When his meager cash ran low, I began to pay. There was nothing expensive mind you, and I kept within my budget for the trip, but I’d rather spring 30 pesos for a bottle of cheap rum that we would drink on the beach than sit around doing nothing. Money means shit to me. Want proof? I quit a well paying, cushy job to travel and I gave back $45,000 that was wrongfully put in my bank account once. I’d rather have an experience than a dollar. And I didn’t feel irritated about paying or I wouldn’t have done it. I’m not a fucking idiot. This is something he misunderstood when he later accused me of “internalising everything”. He tried to paint me as a doormat who’d finally snapped. Not true. I’m a bitch who wanted to hurt his feelings after he’d been on my case for an evening.
Anyway, after my paying comment, he threw a tantie and walked away. I became remorseful, drunkenly emotional and, before I knew it, salt water began to leak. A few hours later he saw me again, picked another fight, and when I told him that I was upset he called me pathetic.
Oh, he laughed, too. I believe the phrase was, “Ha ha ha, you actually cried? You’re pathetic.”
Now, was it a slightly low blow on my part to call attention to the fact that he’d made me cry? Was it mild emotional manipulation, perhaps? Sure. But, come on. His subsequent comment was cunty on farenhietian levels. It was cuntier than lesbian porn. Cuntier than Hugh Hefner’s Grotto. And I’d argue that it was his behaviour that was pathetic, actually. I made one little comment about him being a kept man and he lost his shit. That’s the ironic thing about arrogant people, they are often hiding something as fragile as a newborns skull under the ego. He used to chip me about my self deprecating nature, but I’d argue that it takes a lot of confidence to poke fun at yourself. Just like it takes a robust level of self esteem to publish a blog post about being spectacularly dumped while on holidays. Say what you will about me, but at least I’m not so fucked up that a single sentence can floor me. Manchester acted like I’d turned into Linda “Your dead mother sucks dick in hell” Blair. I didn’t even have to swear to piss him off so thoroughly. I’m hurting more than I care to admit now, but a small part of me is smirking that I have the ability to break a bastard with a single sentence.
I tried talking to him the following morning. I didn’t want to leave us as curdled milk. To be honest I wanted- stupidly- to sort it out. I was putting his cunty behaviour down to the bipolar and the booze. Plus, I did like him. Despite all of his complications, I foolishly thought he was a good person.
“You can go and fuck yourself,” was his opening line and it seemed to quickly decay from there. I won’t go verbatim, because it was pitiful: “I’m hungover and I’m getting the flu and I just don’t want to deal with you at the moment,” excessively cruel: “I’m done with you,” and slightly unimaginative: “You’re just a bad person”.
“I’m not a bad person,” I replied, slightly stung.
And fuck him, because I’m not. I don’t play ridiculous emotional mind games. I don’t say “I’m done with you” to people that care about me, and I don’t insult someone who hurts my ego. I insult someone who treats me like shit for longer than three hours, and I do it well. I’m totally a better person.
I left the hostel feeling like cracked pottery. I missed my friends. I wanted the kind words of a loved one back home, but it was 4am in Sydney. And I was alone in Puerto. Acquaintances at the hostel wouldn’t have helped, especially since many of them had witnessed the teary drama the previous evening. Figuring that falling apart was acceptable, I went into town and got blisteringly drunk. Here, after four beers on an empty stomach, I came up with this, ‘I know, I’ll get the fucker deported.’
I really wish that part wasn’t true. I’ve learned something about myself in this that I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with. If you scorn me I won’t just tip your clothes onto the front lawn; I’ll take a deep breath, level my gaze, and ruin you. It would have destroyed him, too. He’s overstayed his visa by months, he hasn’t got money for the fine, he’s working illegally, and it would have completely obliterated his MexEco project. If I wanted to, I could send a well-timed email and sabotage everything he was working towards.
But I’m not going to. Sometimes knowing that you can do something horrible but choosing to be a bigger person is enough. Plus, Manchester isn’t completely irredeemable. He looked after me when I was sick, and we spent a few awesome weeks together where he was perfectly chivalrous, attentive and affectionate. For a while, being with him was amazing. Really amazing. That’s probably saved him.
I ran into one of Manchester’s friends that day, the fellow whom we had been out with on the lap dance evening. He approached me and asked me where Manchester was. I told him I didn’t want to talk about it, then added that I was leaving Puerto that evening.
“You’re coming back, though?”
I shook my head. He deduced what had happened and said something lovely to me. Nothing much, just a few words about type of person that he thought I was, and it made me feel exponentially better, then worse as more drunken salt water threatened to leak from behind my sunglasses. He hugged me, we became Facebook friends, and I promised to drop a little plug for his tourism website: www.guiapuertoescondido.com. And I will. Well, I just did. Visit the site for all things Puerto Escondidian- from accommodation to restaurants to real estate. Not only is he highly professional and knowledgeable, but he discharged three small sentences that made a bruised girl smile. He’s awesome.
So that’s my Mexican Manchester Memoir. Looking back to when we started to spend more time together- when we really began to click- I was in two minds about whether to stay and pursue something with him, or whether to be the independent girl who continues on with her own plans with blinkered aplomb. I chose to stay because I didn’t want to leave with the ‘I wonder’s’. At least I’m not. I’m leaving with the ‘I know’s’.
Because I now know that he’s a cunt. Which is okay. At least he’s not a cunt that I have to deal with any more. He’s just a blip and a blog post.