The Belgian – A Little Too Late (2014)

backpackerSince I recently moved to a new apartment downtown I was eager to host someone on Couchsurfing. However, a bachelor isn’t exactly an ideal place for it since you are pretty much face to face with the person day and night. For those who do not know – a bachelor isn’t a TV show, it is an apartment solely comprised of one room.

This guy’s message was asking me to host him for a few days. He seemed cool – extremely well travelled, worldly, he spoke German, French and even Argentinian Spanish. But I was too lazy and uncomfortable to host a guy in the same room. I clicked a ‘no’ and faked a reason. He told me he understood but was a bit upset. It seemed like he couldn’t get hosted at all these days and was losing all faith in Couchsurfing. Something in me felt like I should prove him wrong and take a chance, so my ‘no’ turned to ‘yes’.

Next week, as he walked through the door, I knew we would get along just fine. Eduard was relaxed, easy to talk to, very genuine and sarcastic (which is my weakness in men actually). And to top it off – he was quite attractive. Tall, dark haired, with a longer nose, which actually gave him more of a personality, and a soft accent that would change from German to French to Spanish and even to Irish when he said ‘Fock!’

When he noticed I was cooking dinner, he offered to run to the store and get wine and even brought me some Belgian chocolate.

Over dinner, we talked about our lives. I was slightly envious of his free lifestyle. Having completed his Masters, he was travelling around the world on a whim. He has lived in Argentina and Egypt, has been to India three times and had no fear of going to places like Lebanon and Syria. He owned a motorcycle and was free as the wind, while I was working 9-5 and feeling like I could use a three month vacation.

As it turned out later, he wished he had a life like mine. He wanted to be more stable, he no longer took any pleasure in travelling and while he was a daredevil in many parts of his life, Eduard seemed to lack the confidence to initiate anything with a girl he found attractive. From his stories I gathered he didn’t have a serious girlfriend and seemed to over-think every move he made.

When I took him to a Couchsurfing meeting, he seemed to see other guys as competition and I couldn’t understand why. He was a great guy, with an impressive life, and a cool personality. He exuded confidence, but deep down he was way more complicated and lonely.

Most people at the Couchsurfing meeting knew I was filming a documentary about sex and hook-ups in the Couchsurfing world. I focused on guys that used the site as a tool to get laid with exotic women, and was even going to NYC to stay at a Brazilian guy’s place with my camerguy in April. How ironic was it when I came in with a guy and announced I was hosting him for a few days. Most people winked and nudged me all over the place, while he pointed out that I seemed to enjoy the attention.

And I think it was really funny that while I was focusing on this topic, I really wouldn’t have minded if he made a move on me. I just didn’t want to initiate anything. I was tired of having international flings that were momentary and having already found one boyfriend on Couchsurfing I didn’t want to continue the pointless trend.

We grew really close over the course of the three days. My building had a problem with the water, so we made salads with bottled water, took showers in the gym next door and made countless jokes. He would get vegetables and cookies and we would drink beer and talk. Everything was smooth, easy and I even got used to having a companion. It was kind of nice to come back home and spend time with him, to feel that there was this great guy I could just be with – no games, or pretending or any other crap involved.

But I wouldn’t make any sort of a move. And I was almost certain he wouldn’t either. The last night we lay down on his mattress bed and were very close. Had it been a year ago, I would have probably been more obvious about my interest but at this point I didn’t want to this more awkward so I just let it go.

As I got in bed, he said :

“You know.. Your mention of the documentary about sex made me feel like I had to prove to you that I was different. I wish you never told me”

He left the next day but this is when he finally got enough guts to tell me how he felt. He told me he hardly experiences a strong connection with someone the way he did with me. He was terrified I would turn him down and this made it really difficult to make a move. He wished he could be close to me, not as a hook-up or a fling, but something way deeper because even though he has been around the world he rarely felt this way.

I suspected something similar but this was huge.

And the worst – he was so scared I would turn him down, he never even tried. He waited until he LEFT to tell me how he really felt. He had no fear of booking a ticket to the most remote place in the world, but he couldn’t reach three inches to kiss a girl he really liked. He was so scared of looking vulnerable, he didn’t do anything at all. So now, all we had was something that did not happen. And that, in my opinion, is one of the biggest regrets people have. Wanting to do something and being afraid it doesn’t work out.

I think women like men who take charge, who can initiate something, who may be afraid of rejection but have enough confidence in them to go for it anyways. And this is probably why, while Eduard and I had such a great connection, I failed to see him as the real man. Of course, being hosted is a tricky situation and he was not sure how I would react so I understand completely. But what is the point of wishing I was ‘beside him’ right now when we are miles apart is beyond me.

Guys, and girls – I know it’s hard. But it is better to be rejected than to forever wonder what might have been. I know this is cliche and you have probably seen tons of ‘inspiration’ posters with those same words – but still it doesn’t sink in. Life doesn’t give us second chances. So take the first.

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The Sexy Bartender (2009) – The South African

I was twenty-four and traveling across Europe with a Contiki tour group. In a month we were supposed to cover around eight countries: from England, to Spain, to Switzerland, to the Netherlands.

I instantly bonded with the girls on the trip and made two friends: Demi and Diana who were both from Australia. Demi was a friendly blonde girl who clearly went to Europe to let all her inner devils out as she was constantly drunk to the point of stupidity or unconsciousness.  Diana was a slightly insecure brunette, who always seemed to crave approval. Too white and too curvy, she always compared herself with me, who was ‘too dam’ tanned and skinnay!’

Oh God...

Oh God…

At certain times, I got along with her perfectly; other times she made me feel like I was on the episode of the Hills with all the ridiculous drama and gossiping. Her insecurity became especially evident when it came to ‘who liked whom’ and she later came up with a rule that whenever one of us ‘claimed a guy’, mostly her, no one else could steal him away. The hilarity of it was that Demi went along with it happily, until one night she ended up having sex with a boy Diana already ‘claimed’. After this night, I stopped participating in their girly nonsense and became friends with a couple of hilarious guys from the group.

our Chateau

Besides the initial connection with the girls, I felt zero attraction to all the guys on the tour. I was quite disappointed when at the first group meeting in London I have realized that there was absolutely no potential in the group. The guys were okay, but they were not someone I would ever go for. Most were loud and obnoxious Australians who drank constantly. None were my type.

Our second stop was Bordeaux – a beautiful wine region in France. The bus swerved along the green hills until we stopped in front of a gigantic imperial Chateaux. This is where we were supposed to sleep for the two next days. That is until sleeping turned into partying and water in the sinks turned into puke.

We unpacked and quickly changed into our bikinis. I wore my bright orange one, hoping to show off to the boys from the other group. They definitely had more selection than we did. In comparison to all the Aussie girls I was the darkest with my deep tan and dark hair, so tanned in fact that I literally always get mistaken for Latin.

While in the water, I suddenly spotted a group of guys in red shirts standing by the railing some distance away. One, a very cute blond one was looking my way. A few minutes later, they disappeared just as if they never stood there.

Gollum-lord-of-the-rings

Precious!

After the pool there was the wine tasting. Constantly our schedules were filled up by one event after another, which was a lot of fun unless you were sick or tired. Later on in the trip I was practically forced to walk around Rome feeling like I was going to pass out. And believe me, when you are on the verge of collapsing, no amount of statues or Italian men can make you feel better. On top of it all, I now have lost my voice and couldn’t speak. When I did speak I sounded like the Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

The bed with no railings!

I came in late for the wine tasting. An average looking plump guy was talking about wine, and then another guy took his place. That was the cute blond from the pool. Broad shouldered and athletic, with short hair and light eyes, he was funny and well spoken. And by the look of the drooling girls in the crowd, I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Marla, the red-headed girl from my group looked smitten by him and as soon as he finished the speech, walked up and flirted mercilessly.

“This is disguising” I whispered to Demi and Diana. “Could she be more obvious?”

“Actually” I continued, eyeing Marla as she walked away. “There was one question I wanted to ask…”

groupie

Ugh

Breaking my very serious resolution to not approach this guy, simply because I hate feeding someone’s ego and I being yet another groupie, I walked up the table and directed my attention to the plump guy.

“I have no voice” I whispered “is there anything you can give me to cure it?”

The blond cutie laughed. “How about O de V? A shot of that would probably make you feel better. Even if you don’t get your voice back”

“Whatever helps!” I beamed. Demi and Diana were beaming too, a little too much. They were definitely making me feel like I was part of some boy band fan club. At least they had enough decency not to lift up the shirts so he could sign their breasts.

The blond boy poured all of us a shot from a bottle that had a worm swimming in it and we toasted. He introduced himself as Myles and the plump boy as Sam. Myles worked as a bartender at the Chateaux for a few months, but was originally from South Africa. He had the most beautiful accent I have ever heard. We talked a little bit and I could sense that Myles was interested in me. He paid some attention to the girls, but most of his conversation was aimed at me who still tried to be as flirty as I could be while sounding like a scary creature.

“There’s a party tonight” he said “I hope to see you all there.”

“Sure” giggled Diana yet again “We will see you there!” she twisted her shoulders in order to appear sexier. It made me nauseous.

Our walk back to the Chateaux was filled with the most girly talk you can imagine consisting of he’s so hot and who does he like, finishing with whoever he likes, that’s who gets him. I agreed with the plan, because I was pretty certain he liked me.

The basement bar was filled with people from our group and many from the other bus. I spotted Myles at the bar and he smiled to me charmingly. I took a deep breath. He was really gorgeous in that beach boy kind of way.

I positioned myself in his eye view and danced, turning back every so often to check if he was still looking at me. I noticed Marla on the other side of the room also throwing glances his way. I was not exactly jealous of her, but I felt that if I did not do anything soon, she would. So I inhaled deeply and walked up to him.

He seemed genuinely interested in talking to me and actually asked me personal questions about my job and my life. The conversation was going very smoothly, until Demi, who was standing to the side of me laughing with Sam and drinking, simply collapsed to the floor. She did not look sick nor did she prepare herself for the fall. She literally collapsed like a sack of potatoes, killing my conversation immediately.

I was scared for her but also angry at her for ruining my night. I rushed to her side immediately, screaming “Demi!” but she wouldn’t even budge. Myles offered to carry her to our room and Sam helped him, while Diana and I walked alongside them. Once in the room, Demi gained consciousness, but at this point I couldn’t exactly leave her alone, so I nursed her back to health. Myles and Sam left back to the bar.

After Demi stopped throwing up and started laughing like her usual self, I decided to head back. I tried to talk to Myles, but he was distracted, so I went back to dance. Soon, he came to join us. Slightly drunk, he danced close to me, but for some reason I felt uncomfortable getting really close, even though I was extremely attracted to him. Marla, however, did not hesitate a bit. She was suddenly all over him. Wanting him to realize that I was classier and would not slobber all over his body, I held back. Torn between the two of us, Myles looked like a lost child. The top part of his body leaned my way, but the bottom wanted an easy lay.

The bottom half clearly won as soon he disappeared through the door. Marla followed him. The rest of the evening I sat on the windowsill and cried with Cassie, an older girl from my tour.
“Why are guys like this?” I asked. “Do I have to be a slut to get someone?”

“No, you don’t.” Answered Cassie. “You only have to be a slut to get someone for one night and that’s what Marla will get.”

Obviously Myles wasn’t my soul mate and clearly we were not meant to be together, but it hurt to be rejected like this. My pride held me from chasing after him and I would not go against myself in order to attain someone. In order to have meaningless sex with someone I barely knew? Still the picture of them two in bed was depressing. Here I was, trying to be coy and playful and all she had to do was follow him out the door. How is that for subtle?

I went to sleep in tears. Thankfully I didn’t fall off my bed with no railings! Otherwise I would have been crying in the vineyards.

The next morning I have decided to try another strategy. After all, we still had one more day. At this point it was my self esteem that needed a lift. However, I didn’t see him until the early evening. During the morning we had to go for a picnic to the vineyards. Marla was there with her little clique and I still remember how much I loathed her. Every laugh I saw, every smile just made me imagine her in bed with Myles. And I was extremely jealous.

The picnic was torture. It was extremely beautiful: rolling green hills and a variety of fruits along the way, but all I wanted to do was get back to the Chateaux so I could see him again. I knew I shouldn’t even talk to him again after what happened, but I could not let it go.

I saw him later on when we went down for dinner. He was behind the bar, but paid very little attention to me. I was so conscious of him being there that I could not concentrate on anything. I absentmindedly listened to people talk and smiled at appropriate moments. Why wasn’t he paying attention to me?

I was so miserable and felt so insecure that I have even changed my clothes and put some makeup on so he would notice me. However, that changed nothing. So I sat there furiously until I thought enough is enough and went up to my room.

I sat on the bed feeling dejected when Demi walked in the room.

“What’s wrong?” She asked me.

I ended up telling her how disguising I felt about the whole situation. I was still obsessed with a guy who was ignoring me and has already slept with another girl.

Demi sat on the bed. “Mia” she said in a conversation I never forgot to this day. “You are the most beautiful girl on this tour. Not only are you pretty on the outside, but you have an incredible personality that goes along with it. So start believing in yourself.”

The fact that Demi could comfort me without a touch of jealousy or girly cattiness literally wowed me. In that short speech she had lifted my spirits so high I felt like I was on top of the world. It is incredible what a surge of confidence can do to your appearance and how people start looking at you.

I changed into my heels and a sparkling yellow top and walked out the door – my head Wonder-Woman_Animatedhigh. Every step I made was filled with  confidence. I am pretty! I do have a great personality! And I am confident! I thought as I walked down the hall. Who is he or Marla for that matter to make me feel insecure?

Suddenly, I felt as if everyone became so utterly insignificant and here I was – radiating with confidence.

Diana caught up with me in the hall and stared at me with even more insecurity and some confusion as she followed me down the stairs. Immediately, I walked up the bar stand.

“How are you?” I asked Myles playfully. His face literally lit up. I could control him like a puppet, I suddenly realized.

The power that confidence can give us is truly incredible as he no longer treated me as invisible. In fact, I was more than visible as he literally could not take his eyes off of me and my new found confidence.

“If you turn on some Latin music” I offered “ I can teach you how to dance salsa.”

“Deal” he smiled and we shook hands on it.

Minutes later he ran up to me saying he could not find any Latin music, but we could still dance to something else.

“Let’s get some air instead” I offered.

I'M-SEXY-AND-I-KNOW-IT-песочница-114840He followed me up the stairs commenting all the while about my fit legs and how often I must go to the gym. We sat on the hill outside the Chateau right underneath my window and talked. In reality, maybe because he was drunk or tired, or possibly because he really was not my ‘type’ we had not very much to talk about. Our conversation was quite hollow and very dull. In fact, I felt as if I was slowly being slaughtered.

Suddenly we heard voices from the window above us: “Just do it!” Turned out afterwards, it was the girls from my room who, much like me, could no longer handle the agony of this painful conversation.

“Well, I should go” he suddenly said, but did not move.

“Let’s go then” I said, pissed off at him and stupid me for trying to ‘entice him’. I think I even tried my Russian accent on him, which is usually my last plan. And which generally works quite well. I began picking up my shoes.

“I should tell you something” he then said. “I am very attracted to you, but I already hooked up with one of the girls on your bus. And to be honest, I didn’t really like her.. She was just there and I went for it.”

His honesty took me back a little. Ok, so at least he had the decency to let me know.

“I know” I told him. For some reason I exclaimed that Marla wasn’t even attractive and muttered about how sad it was to chase after a guy like that. Even though, technically, that’s exactly what I was doing.

He stared at me for some time, then realizing I was not angry and was still interested, leaned in to kiss me. We kissed for some time, though I felt cheap, as if I was still the second best. Here I was, putting down the girl for sleeping with a guy, yet still taking her hand-me-downs.

After we kissed, he had to go back to work and I went back to answer multiple questions from girls. When I came up to the bar, Marla was there, but he was smiling to me. It felt amazing. However, it clearly infuriated her and she tried to get his attention any way she could: she flirted and danced with another guy in front of his face, but he did not seem to care.

Later, Demi and I as well as a few other guys from our group, sat on the couches outside of the Chateau. Myles came out of the door of the building and awkwardly smoked as he stared my way until I picked up my shoes and walked towards him, through the hooting of “he’s dreamy!” that a few guys started.

e372d92cMarla eyed us as we walked into the doorway and I definitely felt a lot of pleasure from her watchful gaze. He led me into the Chateau where he pressed me against the wall and kissed me passionately. He would tease me by kissing me deeply then pulling back and running his hand over my neck and stomach. The bastard knew what he was doing as every time he pulled away from me, I wanted him even more. I swear it was incredible.

However, I would never be someone’s second best.

“I will not have sex with you” I smiled to him. He seemed a little bit thrown off, but continued kissing me as if I haven’t said anything. He told me he would close the bar and find me.

He may have come out looking for me, or I may have created that illusion to console myself, because when he did come out again, Marla joined him. I was incredulous. “Does he expect me to go there with both of them?” I asked Demi. I looked, but I couldn’t move. They sat side by side talking and suddenly disappeared in the doorway.

I guess his lower half won again.

I was disgusted with both of them: with her because she knew he was with me and yet had no pride to say no to him, and him because he had nothing besides his penis to think for him. I sat on the bathroom floor crying, then finally sobered up. Who was he to cry over? I created an illusion out of a guy, simply because he was ‘my type’. A guy who constantly fooled around with eager girls passing by Bordeaux, hoping to have their little fling in the vineyards. Marla and I were just one of many.

I never told Marla about my side of the story after we became closer friends. Apparently the night with Myles also meant a lot to her as it was the first time she ever had a one night stand and I didn’t want to ruin on her parade. It was kind of ironic how much I hated her when in reality it was him who made the choice.

1de113708cdf75ebeec48b601e6b4925-d2y5bshI realize that this is a pretty insignificant story. However, for one reason or another, I still remember this player boy from time to time,especially the thrill I felt while being kissed against the wall. And isn’t it what we all want – some passion? Even if it is followed by some tears in the bathroom!