Dear Girl Beside Me, I don’t think you’d remember me.

I was the aunty who ran to the empty table beside yours at the cafe, the one who was reading The Sunday Times while waiting for her husband to be done ordering the food.

While you were still typing away on your phone, the guy you were with came back to the table. He got angry because you were busy. To get your attention, he snapped his fingers loudly in front of your face—twice.

You looked up and apologised.

Why?

Why did you apologise? Why does he think it’s ok to snap his fingers at you like how he would a dog?

Even worse, why did you think it was okay?

I stared at your boyfriend. I’m sure he could tell I didn’t appreciate what he did. He very pointedly ignored me.

The conversation between the both of you was all about him.

His friends. His work. What he was planning to buy later. His latest game score. What someone said to him. What he thought about what you were wearing.

When you were both done, he stood up and left the table, even though you were still stuffing the portable charger and the tissue packet he used back into your bag.

He went outside and checked out his reflection, adjusted the sunglasses sitting atop his head, and dusted the crumbs off his tight shirt.

You caught up with him, clutching his arm.

I couldn’t help but look at you a few times when you were sitting beside me. You are so young.

And you reminded me of me many years ago.

Dear Girl Beside Me, you may think he is your best shot at finding love, that though he has his flaws, he’s actually not that bad.

I just want to tell you this. We all have our flaws, and we’re all not that bad.

Don’t be with someone who disrespects you. Don’t be with someone who snaps his fingers at you. Don’t be with someone who can only see himself, someone who forgets you.

Maybe one day, you will meet someone, someone who will make you laugh, who doesn’t mind how you look, who tells you each and every day how important you are to him. Someone who respects what you do, who supports you, just like you support him.

Even if you don’t meet someone like that, it’s okay, because you’re better off alone.

There are so many things you can do if you’re on your own: travel solo, teach English in Japan, volunteer at a dog shelter, save lots of money, eat pizza in bed while in pyjamas and live a perfectly fun and fine life.

Someone who snaps his fingers at you? Don’t stand for it.

Dear Girl Sitting Beside Me, break his snapping fingers into two.

You want to know how?

Let the aunty sitting next to you show you.