The Italian Job: How to Break Up with Your Boyfriend. On Vacation. In a Foreign Country
Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.
I learned a lot from dating an Italian. I learned how to say "fuck you" in Italian ("vaffanculo"). I learned how seriously a man can take his personal grooming. And I learned that you should never, ever break up with someone while you are on vacation.
But let's back up to grooming. When a relationship is on the fritz, you begin to notice the little things about your partner. The blackheads on their nose, the way they chew their food, the stupid catchphrases they use, and how they manage to make the simple act of breathing so unbelievably annoying.
Seriously, was it always this loud?
In Romeo's case, it was his eyebrows. There was no denying this man put a lot of time, money, and wax into his eye bush. But as the relationship went on, the eyebrows, much like us, seemed to be growing farther apart.
I would catch myself staring blatantly and the sizable gap between them, debating whether to slip Rogaine into his face wash or color them in with a Sharpie while he slept.
Even as we boarded the plan to our first (and ultimately final) getaway in Spain, I stared at them. I wondered: If the plane went down and news programs were to broadcast images of the lost passengers, would they Photoshop his face? "They would have to," I thought. "No one would take those eyebrows seriously."
You learn a lot about someone on a trip. You learn how they operate, how they navigate, and how easily you could kill them and make it look like an accident.
Within a few days of our trip, Romeo's temper had been cut short and my patience even shorter. We had barely made it halfway into our vacation before I turned to him in our shitty hostel bed and announced, "This isn't working."
Despite his refusal to even talk to me, we made the unspoken agreement to go home early. I imagine we aren't the first people to depart from the airport as a couple and arrive back as two unhappy singles. But as if the breakup weren't enough to cause a rift, the universe stepped in to make sure it was official.
Like an unfunny version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, we found our way back to Scotland using every form of transportation imaginable: a four-hour bus ride that took us to a farm passing itself off as an airport in rural Spain; a delayed six-hour flight that left us stranded in even more rural Scotland; my negotiating my way into a $200 cab ride with four other people (my newly mute ex included) at one in the morning because all of the buses into town had stopped running; my further negotiating with a couple of girls to let the mute ex and I sleep on their kitchen floor till dawn when the first bus rolled in because the bus stop hookers that night were giving me dirty looks; and lastly hopping on yet another bus to get back to my apartment and finally end things with a man that I had broken up with but was nevertheless stuck with for the past 72 hours.
Maneuvering your way around a break up is hard enough. But maneuvering your way through a break up through a foreign country? It's a suicide mission, folks.
Get the Arts and Theater Newsletter
Weekly information keeping you in the know when it comes to the Phoenix art and theater scene. Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events.