Lust in Translation Part 1 (by R)

desayuno-continental

I’ll have a continental… And I am not talking about breakfast.

This is one of a few posts on dating men from other cultures or countries…
WARNING: if you are sensitive about stereotyping or mild xenophobia, I would stop reading now. That being said, it is all in jest and I am very aware that most of these stereotypes are purely coincidental.

I recently posted about the amusing experiences I had in The Summer of Tinder. But TSOT (it should be a film) was actually triggered by an unfortunate relationship and then going on a date with one of the most cliche stereotypes of all…

This is the story of cliché numero uno, the Italian stallion

heart-pizza Now don’t get me wrong…I am a huge fan of Italy.
Pizza, delicious. Rome, my favourite city. Positano, my favourite beach.
Prosecco, far more delightful than champagne and much more wallet friendly.

The men, on the other hand, I have been wary of … Having been a regular visitor to Italy and being a long haired blonde, I have had mixed experiences with Italy’s menfolk.

Yes they are gorgeous and just my type, tall, dark and handsome (I defy anyone not to like this in a man… one of my housemates only goes for blondes with blue eyes…ridiculous borderline racist behaviour!) However, the charm it wears thin. From the moment you reach the airport, “Ciao, Bella!”, catcalls, wolf whistles and other animal type sounds … All of which adds to the fantasy of the passionate Italian man who will grab you by the waist, simultaneously serenading you whilst throwing you onto a gondola (No, just me??)

But the fact walking in an Italian city for a woman is like perpetually walking past a building site in England (Oiy,oiy!)… It is too much. It ruffles me, it reminds me that I am very English, in that restrained and distant way. On the one hand, I’m flattered, on the other I want to remind them of their manners and not to get me started on public displays of affection. (I did feel like the ultimate prude during one night time stroll in Rome)

Anyway, as is often the case, I had good intentions. Look at the nice Italian men whilst on holiday and stick to the good old, useless English ones at home. At least you know where you stand.

Oh, hindsight, you are a wonderful thing…
An evening out, rather merry…Dancing at a bar after a famous Bristol event (one of many, one of the reasons Bristol is such a great place to be single, young or anyone I guess…)
Meet a man. In fact meet several… I definitely remember telling someone from Cardiff that I didn’t like his aftershave. He affronted, naturally, tells me it is Armani, I claim it smells like ASDA’s own (And I wonder why I am single?….)

Then there is a lot of dancing. Hot and sweaty. At some point, the Italian appears. I remember this part clearly

Me: Are you SINGLE? (loudly to compete with the music)
He: YES

That is the most important part of the conversation… the rest is brief. Apparently I tell him his dancing is 6/10 (again my flirting style is criticising and spot on!). Eventually my housemates decide to give up dancing and go get some chips. I agree… and give the Italian my number, he’s Italian after all.

He has the same name as my mum. So when I do get a text, three days later, it takes a while to compute. He offers a language exchange. I dither… his text is written in quite broken English. Can I deal with a date as a translator? Is it even a date? Due to a recent very short fling and the need to get over it, I decide (with the persuasion of a friend and several G&Ts) to go for it …
The day of the date arrives. I go for a pre-drink with a work friend who warns me this could purely be a language exchange. I, savvy as I am, have already googled language exchange and have discovered this basically translates to HOOK UP. This is good news… am I going to discover what I have always wondered about Italians? Roar…

LION The date starts amusingly. A man of similar height and colouring approaches me … (have I mentioned that this Italian is not the usual dark stud but a Sicilian redhead… (how on earth I managed to find the only redhead Italian in Bristol I do not know…) He smiles nicely, asks how I am. He’s quite cute so I smile back, wondering if that is a Bristolian-Italian accent (you know the one)… At which he realises I am not his date, and backs out of the pub faster than Usain Bolt…hmmm. I feel for him when his real date turns up (nothing like me, possibly blonde) and he ushers her into a different pub up the road.

The Italian arrives… not quite fireworks. But he is amusing, charming and buys me many drinks including quickly replacing one when I foolishly knock it over. We talk about history, law and our respective countries until closing time. He offers to walk me home. He kisses me on the cheek. I swoon when he says ciao. Italian stallion yessss….

So far, so buono.
But alas…the cliché ….
Firstly a text- He misses my hair (?) and the full moon is so beautiful, it is a sin I could not stay out longer…(I knew he’d mention the moon, just knew it!)

download (2) I find this odd, but reassuring behaviour. He had not seemed that Italian during our date.

If you are going to date an Italian, you kind of expect the song and dance of over the top compliments and passion right…

We arrange to see each other again. Much of the same. No moves are made… This is ironic as before I went out with him, I did some blog reading on international dating and one such post claimed a man would be ridiculed in Italy if he sat on the sofa with a woman and did not try to kiss her. We first sit on chairs, and then moved to the sofa. Still nothing but he did get closer… gradually. A shy Italian? I resisted the temptation to explain to him the sofa rule and wandered home, contemplating when the stallion part would be revealed.
A weekend of no texts. I was busy so I didn’t ponder too deeply on this until the Monday. Finally, I cave and message him again…
He responds asking me to check my Facebook

A request that worryingly reminded me of this irritating scene …

Cliché no 2 (less fun than moon texts)
A long message full of broken English… to summarise: He has a girlfriend

His exact words “I have a girlfriend in Italy”.

Not just in Italy though really is it… If you have a girlfriend, she is always there. I don’t follow that post code excuse…

Can we blame this guy…download (3)
That is not the worst of it … After explaining that he wanted to tell me because it is the right thing to do… No wait, that’s the moral thing to say…After explaining that he wanted to tell me because she was visiting in two weeks (!?!!), he suggested we continue to see each other. But if we do see each other, he would like something to happen.
You can imagine the expletives I used and I was in a shop at the time… French connection, I believe, rather appropriately.

download (6)

SO that was my experience of the Italian stallion. On the cliché counter, he didn’t fare too badly.Singing, check (in public, very loudly, I was torn between hilarity and mortification)Cheating, check. Lazy, check (he found Black Boy Hill quite a trek) Jealous, check (self confessed jealous guy… which makes me wonder if the Italian women are playing around as much as their counterparts?) Food lover, check (he demolished a whole plate of garlic bread during our second date)

On the other hand, he was entertaining, very intelligent, liked Albert Camus and graveyards (the latter of which is a MASSIVE plus for me). He was very knowledgeable and managed to explain Milanese architecture to me, quite a feat and he managed to do it without me yawning, very impressive.

But the Lothario thing is impossible to get over. He told me defensively that it is what every man does. Which I am trying not to believe, otherwise that is some pretty unhappy reading for my fellow ladies out there.

This story is not quite over… but for now…
Ciao
Next in this series: Spanish Omelette anyone? 😉

For more, check out my fellow blogger here: http://theredlandrapscallion.wordpress.com

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My Greek Hook-Up Story ( by K)

photo1My best friend and I decided to leave Montreal for a two week vacation. We spent the first few days in Athens, went to Cairo, got traumatized and came right back to Greece to forget all about it.

Namely to Mykonos.

By that time it has already been nine days that we were out of Canada and I have not gotten laid yet. The blood was boiling inside of me. And it just happens that I got my period when we got to Mykonos. My dream of tasting a Greek man kinda faded away at that moment.

We rented this cute room/villa at this hotel on a hill about 10 minutes walking from little Venice.

The view was just dreamy! The smell of sea air, the mountains and the view of the turquoise water was incredible. Perfect place to fall in love/lust.

Once we got there, my friend Carla went to shower and I went to the pool bar to get our welcome drinks. As I walked through the opening, I saw these hot Italian looking men. So hot, they were probably gay. As I turn my head towards the bar my eyes rest on a good-looking bearded man behind it staring back at me. Jackpot.

While I’m sipping this whatever fruity drinks he made I am super aware of his eyes on me. He walks up and asks me where I’m from and we end up chit chatting. His name is Vasilis, he is Greek and twenty minutes later he is already inquiring about my plans for that night. Upon hearing my friend and I are thinking of hitting the party scene, he offers to show us around, throwing in “we can have a lot of fun together.”

I’m thinking this man either really likes me or he’s genuinely nice to hot tourists. I found out later that “we are gonna have fun” in Greek translates to “We are gonna have sex”. Me and my naive self. Oh well… What did I care? I knew nothing was gonna happen. It was my time of the month after all.

After walking around the beach and eating at a seaside restaurant with Carla, I was dying to go to the bar and see Vasilis, but it was already midnight so I figured “oh well… Another time.” Let’s see what Mykonos has in plans for us.

After a pretty crazy night out in Club Paradise, and a great start to the day at the pool, I was still hoping to see Vasilis. Instead, I see this other Greek stud. And I think to myself…. “Will I ever be able to stop falling for these Greek Gods?”

We have breakfast. He makes us freshly squeezed orange juice and adds some vodka in. Way to get the two hangover girls drunk again.photo3

We rest around the pool, sleeping, enjoying the cloudless sky and the hot weather of Mykonos.

Then, in the corner of my eye, I see Vasilis at the bar, who seems like he sees me too. As I wake up from a nap after, I feel a little tap on my shoulder. I turn my head and guess what I see – Vasilis’ face looking at me with his big eyes, a drink in his hand.

“Hey K, this drink is for you. You never came to see me after and I was waiting for you”

“I was going to see you” I said “But it seemed kind of late”. That part of it was true.

photo2After he left and I rested some more, I figured, hey this is my last day in Mykonos! I might as well go and innocently flirt with the bar boy. I will myself to walk up to the bar, giving a sign to Carla that I am abandoning her for an hour or so.

As Vasilis and I talk, I feel his eyes burning into me. He asks me what I’m doing tonight and I tell him I’m leaving back home.

“Oh no…” he says “I thought you were gonna stay longer. I could bring you to the beach and we could have fun there!”

“Yes I know” I sigh.

“You know, we can still have a lot of fun” he hints.

Ok, so I know where this is going, however I’m bleeding, but this is probably my last chance to get laid while I’m in Greece with a hot Greek man. I think “screw this” and grab his hand as I finish my cigarette. “Why don’t I call room service?”

I offer him to wait a few minutes then come up with a pretense of  giving me my phone charger.

I said wait a few minutes then you can come by and give me my charger.

As I leave the bar, I am walking slowly. When I am sure nobody can see me, I charge. I tell Claudia that I’m gonna be busy with the boy so she can tan somewhere and read a book.

Get to the room. Clean myself. Pick up the messy clothes scattered everywhere. Get ready to greet him in my bikini.

He knocks. Comes in. As I close the door, he grabs my face passionately and kisses me.

Ouf…. I’m in heaven. We keep on making out, then I realize I’m still on my period, so I have to tell him. I start laughing and he’s a bit bedazzled, so I come right out and say it.

He looks at me with his wide eyes “Are you serious?”

I’m thinking this guy is probably feeling like he has made a bad choice! First I gotta leave in two hours, and then this surprise!

But then he surprises me even more by offering “other holes!” I guess it’s true what they say about Greeks!

I offer to go to the shower instead.

We get in the shower. The window is open so you can see the mountains outside and the breeze is coming through. We have the best sex ever: it is passionate, unexpected and incredible!

As we finish, we dry ourselves, kiss, and I thank him for his “room service” which makes him burst out laughing. Before he left the room he told me to pass by the bar and say goodbye.

Truth is, I didn’t wanna say goodbye. I just wanted to stay in perfect Mykonos forever. My face was glowing so much, Carla looked at me and started laughing.

As I walk up to him to get my final drink, it’s sunset and my body is filled with all kinds of emotions. I feel like crying of happiness, because I had such a wonderful experience with this place. I give him one final hug and I leave.

As we’re in the car to get to the ferry and my mind is still in the clouds, I receive a message from Vasilis: “I will miss you. Hope to see you again :)”

Even though we are leaving this paradise, I’m in heaven.

By next day, I came down to earth. Through Facebook, Carla and I realized he lied about a couple of things. First he lied about his age. Twice! First he told me he was twenty two instead of twenty five. Then it turns out he is actually twenty years old. Way to feel like a craddle robber instead of a man eater I initially considered myself as!

Second it turns out not only does he actually have a girlfriend, after telling me he was single, but that they have been together for three years!

Don’t get me wrong, I was still on a high because of what I’ve experienced. But let’s just say that I felt bad for that poor little girl who trusted this man whore.

And the worst is yet to come. When I get back home and we chat, he tells me he is waiting for both Carla and I to come back because he would love to have fun together. By this time, I get the full definition of fun.

About the writer: Vietnamese, born in Montreal, 27, single, and living the life.

I Want to Read & Feature YOUR stories!

TravalotHi everyone and thank you so much on your warm comments about my posts! It really meant a lot that you spent hours going over my extremely lengthy stories and even sometimes sat through my entire blog!

I have to say, I really  loved sharing these sometimes funny, sometimes emotional and oftentimes embarrassing stories. At first it was simply an outlet, since my friends got tired of me talking about it and I loved to! Later, it because a hobby, and from time to time, I actually noticed myself getting into these stupid situations as a way to get content for later. The Dutch story started like that. I was literally bored and I needed an interesting tale, which actually ended up being the least memorable.

This blog led to me to a bigger video project, which I wish I could share with you! It is now my main priority and takes LOTS of my time, but I love it beyond anything I have ever done before. Ironically, once I started the dating project, I also stopped dating. This brings me to the fact that yes, I love sharing stories, but besides having no time, I have NO STORIES! I am a single, boring girl with no more international dating.

A lot of you spent time writing your own personal stories to me and from the jumbled up version, they seemed quite interesting and worthwhile sharing, so I figured, why not create a community of international daters? If you have an interesting story to tell, email me at miainternationaldating@gmail.com. If I like your story, I will make sure to feature it on the blog. If not, I will ask you to spend more time on revising it in order to make it presentable (and relatable!)

Looking forward to your stories!
Mia

Never Have I Ever… (2013)

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I collect moments so I can look back at them when I am old.. but which are the moments that we really remember?Which do we keep on recounting over and over again?

Upon request from one of my readers to write about Swiss men, I have decided to share a fairly old story about a Swiss-German guy I met while working in Panama. The reason I didn’t write about him write right away is for some reason he didn’t stick in my mind. There are men I have had the most romantic experiences with, only to forget them as soon as the wheels of the plane took off the ground. While others, like my friend Franko, still make me sad with every Facebook update.

Anyways, requests from you guys are important to me, so here goes…

The rainy season wasn’t coming for a month, so in order to conserve electricity and not use up the so needed AC, Panamanian workers received a week off from work. When I realized I would get a four day long weekend, I quickly decided to head back to Santa Catalina for a break. There was an international surfing championship happening there, so lots of parties to look forward to. Two busses and a long walk later, I arrived to the surfing hostel with two new friends I made on the bus – one Australian and one German.

The owner of the hostel was away so in charge were his two pot smoking young Brazilian sons. One, Gabriel, was gorgeous. I stared at him on my way in and he at me. He couldn’t have been older than 24, so it was a definite no go. Still, the attention he showed me was really flattering. When I asked him a question about why there was a closet full of surfboards instead of a bathroom as the sign showed, he stared at me for ages before coming out with a response. And ok, he might have been stoned, but he also looked mesmerized by me, which felt great.

That night, the German, the Aussie and I headed to Chili Rojos. If you read my Argentinian story, you will know that was the same place I met Pablo. We stood in front of the bar, when a car came to a halt in front of us and a blond boy with a very German face leaned out of the window.

“You know vere zer is good place to eat?” he asked in a very thick accent.

We directed him to where we were going and soon enough, ended up joining his table. He was with two other guys and a girl with cropped hair, who later turned out to be his brothers and sister.  Being very German in behaviour, the guys were very nice, but quite robotic and awkward around me. Erich seemed to be the fun and loose one of the group. When we played a game of “Never Have I Ever”, he seemed to be the most experienced one. He was also the most flirtatious with me, and of course quickly established himself as the leader, being the oldest.

After we headed to another bar, where I felt more awkward by the second as the brothers surrounded me and flirted with me. They were all over me, hanging on to every word I said and instead of flattering it began to feel slightly creepy. Flirting is definitely not the Swiss-German forte. Nor the German. Instead of the natural fluidity of the Italians or the Spanish, Germans are stiff and uncomfortable, which makes you equally so.  Once the brothers realized I was into Erich, they grew visibly sad and just stood there even more awkwardly.

Erich offered we go for a walk to the ocean, which was about a twenty minute hike in absolute darkness made only lighter by the bright stars that covered the sky. During the walk, he kissed me and we kissed the whole dark way down to the water. Once on the beach, our little adventure got crazier.

He removed my clothes, and almost ordered me to get into the water. With his thick Swiss-German accent, it actually sounded quite dominant, so I obeyed. Curiosity tends to get the best of me as I always long for adventure and new experiences. Well, this was definitely an interesting one. Naked, and emerged in shallow water, with him over me and melodic trance playing far off in the distance, I felt weightless and carefree.This is when he scooped up mud and began ‘drawing’ on me. Yes, I am not even kidding. The whole thing was surreal but I enjoy people with a sense of creativity and this Swiss boy had more than enough of it.

Never have I ever lied naked in the water with a stranger covered in dirt and here I was. Mr. Artisto decided to stick his cell phone in my bag and hang it across himself.  It wasn’t a surprise when it fell in the water and died. By the end of this adventure, we were both shoeless, (as our flip flops got carried away with the tide) and dirty.

We walked barefoot to my hostel, laughing about the whole thing, only to find out that there was no water back at my hippy place and we would have to sleep dirty. Using the only towel I had, we dried ourselves off, or rather – scrubbed the dirt away and got into bed.

I shared the room with another girl who slept off to the other side. However, we ended up having sex in that same room, and then Mr. Commander decided he wanted to try it on the balcony until the rail almost gave out and we had to step away quickly. Otherwise, they would have found two muddy, naked people lying on the grass underneath the window.

Why did I have sex with Erich the first night? Well, he was definitely inventive and there was not a dull second with him. And even though he definitely had a few slightly crazy ideas in his head, I fully trusted him. The guy spent majority of his twenties in a serious relationship. Now, he wanted to try something new, to experiment, to have crazy moments in his life. I felt we both wanted the same thing. Not even the sex itself, more an adventure to share.

The_Beach_at_Santa_Catalina,_Panama_(8369739920)Early that morning, we walked down the beach in search of our shoes and praise Jesus, there they were! Rejoicing, we hugged and kissed. He went back to his hotel and I went back to get some breakfast. He told me he would contact me that evening.

Meanwhile, Gabriel, the Brazilian kept on throwing longing gazes at me. I wasn’t really into anyone. If I really fell for Erich, I wouldn’t have noticed anyone around me, but I was bored. Life in Panama didn’t give me what I wanted – feelings. And if I couldn’t get feelings, I would compensate for something memorable.

“Are you going to the party tonight?” Asked Gabriel.

He was behind the bar serving drinks and he looked gorgeous – curly hair, full lips, that bronze tan that comes with life on the beach.

“I think so.”

There was a surfing championship end party happening that night and the whole hostel was going. Apart from me, there were only a handful of girls staying at the surfing hostel and as flattering as the attention was, ten guys to two girls ratio got to be a little much. The Swiss brothers, the Brazilians, men everywhere. You could probably smell testosterone a mile away from Santa Catalina. That and horniness.

I wasn’t sure how, but I wanted to have something with Gabriel, even though Erich texted he would see me later. I drove to the area with Gabriel’s brother and soon we got a group of Panamanians dancing to reggaeton. Neither Gabriel nor Erich were anywhere to be seen. Suddenly, as trance began playing, I could see a group of blond Europeans charging our way, their fists pumping the air.

One of them was Erich and his brothers, who now actually began to act coolly around me. I hugged him to me and we all began dancing. An hour or so later, he had to drive everyone back.

“You will wait for me, Mia? I will be back in twenty minutes!” he told me.

“Sure” I said. “I will wait.”

At first I danced by myself, feeling quite awkward amongst a crowd of people I didn’t know. Then, I saw Gabriel. We talked a bit, then began dancing – closer and closer until his breath was on my face. He seemed nervous as he leaned in to kiss me, but relaxed as I reciprocated. We kissed and kissed, until I realized it was time Erich would be returning. Like a complete bitch (I still feel kind of bad for it), I told Gabriel I had to go to the bathroom and walked the other way.

Just in that moment, Erich saw me. One second earlier and he would have seen me with the Brazilian. I jumped into his arms and he hugged me tightly to him. I thought I saw Gabriel looking at us, though I wasn’t so sure. We danced, then went further on to the wooded area to continue dancing barefoot until he forgot where he left his shoes. Again. We searched for them until even the police themselves decided to help us out with a flashlight.

After the dancing, we drove to the beach where he played commander, part two. He took me in his arms and asked me to lean backward on my hands as he kissed my body. I don’t even know why, but I was relaxed and eager to try all these things with him. Never have I ever done acrobatic tricks on the beach, and here I was, completely out of my body, not thinking… and as an over thinker, that was a refreshing sensation.

Never have I ever had sex in a car” I offered as we got into the comfy minivan.

He eyed me. “We can arrange that.”190342482_552ad209ac

We drove into the woods, ‘parked’ in a ditch and moved all the seats back.  The windows got fogged, as if we were both in “Titanic” (except without the hand imprint), when the police decided to check up on us. They thought something might be wrong with the car. Erich, his hair discheveled and his face flushed, opened the window.

“No, todo bien. Gracias” he said in his broken Spanish.

I killed myself laughing.

Later, we sat naked on the floor of the car with the door slid opened, naked, my head on his shoulder and talked about life in general. I wish I could remember what we said to each other, but time erases memory, leaving only the most significant conversations in your head. Next day, I was leaving back to Panama City and he told me he would visit me before he left back to Zurich.

Last time I saw him, he took a taxi to the old part of the city just to meet me a couple of hours before he had to leave.  He spent those hours giving me a massage and did not even instigate sex until I lunged at him, which showed to me I gave him more than just a great sexperience. He lay next to me, caressing my face until it was time to leave and after kissing me softly, closed the door behind him.

I asked him to mail me some Swiss chocolate.

We wrote each other back and forth until we had nothing more to write about. I will be honest – I hardly ever think about Erich and had it not been the request to write about a Swiss guy I never would have mentioned him.

There are guys we can have the craziest, most amazing few days with, but not remember, and there are those we barely know or exchange one kiss with, but that is the one kiss that we keep on reverting back to over and over again. I’m glad I did those things I have never ever done, and wouldn’t have if I didn’t meet Erich, but real feelings are so much more important than just a sum of experiences.

When you like someone, really like them – every look is meaningful, every touch is electrified and every sense is heightened. And even the most regular experience can take on a new meaning. It is not the moments I tried so hard to collect, thinking ‘that would make a good story’ that I recall, it is those that I lived and breathed through, the ones when I really lived in the present.

Believe it or not, but never have I ever been in love. I write about dating, I make videos about dating.. but I have yet to feel an overwhelming emotion. And that, my readers, is the biggest irony of all!BeFunky_970981_409179255857516_1613477559_n32.jpg32

Please share with me any story of mine that really caught your attention and tell me why. Thanks for reading and keep asking for requests!

Why Pick Up Videos Bother me to the Nth Degree

Dating Beyond Borders

Image Pick up lines. Youtube is full of them. Guys trying to kiss girls. Guys proposing to girls. Girls picking up girls. Girls picking up dogs…

I’ve had enough.

It is not the idea that’s the problem. It is the way it is carried out. The point is – there is absolutely no sincerity in any of it. So what? You will say. It is just a way to kill time and see some guys (or girls) ‘score’.

The problem arises when already clueless men are faced with different ‘rules’ and ‘strategies’ to meeting women. From books like “The Game” to “Pick-Up a Girl” (with a million different variations), men are getting a straight shooter approach to getting a girl to do everything from give you the phone number to kiss her. But how do you generally carry them out?

1. Provide her with cheesy lines, but act like you are mocking the idea with…

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Soulful Painter – The Cuban (2014)

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Where did old-fashioned romance go?

My big camera slung over my sweaty blue halter top, I walked through the crowded club to the bar stand.

My Macedonian friend Ilena and I have just arrived to Cuba, on what I called the lame touristy vacation for Canadians. We were staying in the resort, drinking sugary Mojitos, Pina Coladas and cervezas (favorite foreigner word, usually accompanied by mispronounced dos); eating a variety of semi bland food and lounging by the beach with a book in our hands. All in all, it wasn’t so bad. All we needed was a mindless vacation and Cuba was the cheapest option.

Within fifteen minutes of arriving to the club, Ilena was already dancing close with a buff, dark Cuban. She seemed to have a thing for Pitbull lookalikes.

Dale! Mr. Worlwide

Dale! Mr. Worldwide. Mr.305

I told myself I would never get involved with a Cuban here. In fact, I brought my camera just so I could film an episode on the Cuban Lover and his pursuit of foreign, mainly Canadian women, as a way to get a green card. I thought these women were slightly pathetic and couldn’t fathom why they couldn’t see through all this romantic crap.

Now, walking through the club, I noticed quite a lot of attractive guys. Men from Argentina, Germany, Canada and yes, Cuba. But there was one guy that really got my attention. Tall, light eyed and dark haired, with broad shoulders and full lips. Yes, he was attractive, but there was also something quiet and serene about him. I literally craned my neck to look at him, but he barely noticed me among the crowd of people.

I looked for him, but realized it made no sense to search for someone I didn’t even know and focused on dancing. Just as soon as I did, BAM, I turned around and there he was! Seems that when you let things go, they somehow happen naturally.

What did he do? Well, instead of dancing like pretty much everyone else in the club, he just stood there – staring at the big TV screen, his arms crossed in front of him. Ilena and her dark man kept on grinding closer and closer to us. It soon turned out that the light eyed boy was friends with her Pitbull.

“Why aren’t you dancing?” I asked to him finally, yelling over the reggaeton.

“Oh, I do not like this music” He answered in bad English, then “You are Spanish?”

” Russian” I said, leaving out the Canadian part “And you?”

“I am Cuban”

Of course. He had to be. 

“Christian.” He stuck his hand out instead of kissing me on the cheek. “Mia”, I answered.

There we were – a foreigner and a Cuban. I was now becoming a victim of my own documentary. However, that didn’t stop me from dancing with him. At first he didn’t even hold my hand and danced at a distance, but soon we were close together, moving to the sounds of Cuban salsa. Christian wasn’t very good at salsa. He would turn me around awkwardly which would lead me to either hit him by accident or awkwardly shuffle around, unsure about which way to move. Sure, Cuban Salsa was different from the one I was familiar with, but I was starting to feel sure this white-washed boy wasn’t the epitome of a Cuban Lover.

We literally danced the night away, and with the words “Be careful, I might kiss you”, he did. So we danced and kissed some more.

At the end of the night, Ilena and her Pitbull – Mario, as well as Christian and I decided to head to the beach. There, as I conversation consisted of (let’s be honest here) not much, I still enjoyed the feeling of his big hands furiously trying to keep me warm, his gentle light eyes and his presence overall. I have been boyfriend-less for too long.

“You know” he told us “It’s not that I hate Cuba. I only wish I could see other countries to compare it to. How can you love something when you don’t know anything else?”

abstract-art-floral-tree-landscape-painting-fresh-blossoms-by-madart-megan-duncansonHe was an abstract artist, who lived in a city next to Varadero. He had a gallery opening in Havana the following week, but even so, he could only dream of leaving. We were told of a raffle where only a handful of people were allowed to leave the island. With the Miami lights so close, they could possibly feel them, Cubans were under the constant presence of America and the feeling of missing out on that something. Later, I learned they had barely any access to the Internet, let alone Facebook or Youtube. Most of the food was rationed by the government, meat was in very short supply,  many places denied.. with the majority people earning as little as thirteen dollars a month.

Barely four hours apart on a plane, Christian’s world and mine were vastly different. My regular conversations about travelling seemed out of place here. When I told him I was going to New York the following week, he could only look at me in awe. He has never even left the island. I instantly regretted mentioning the trip, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew I had the ability to travel the world; that most people did.

Havana

Havana

The first night Ilena and I went to sleep at 5 am and so continued the rest of our sleepless nights with the Cubans. During the day, we would lounge on the beach, reading a book, drinking coconuts filled with rum and of course filming. However, the interviews with the Cubans turned out to be quite fruitless. Most would easily talk about their sex appeal, sabor and the love of life and women, but when it came time for something more controversial, they grew uncomfortable. A bunch of lifeguards told me off camera that while some of the Cuban men did indeed fall for the tourists, many used the opportunity to leave the country. If there was a choice between a Cuban woman and a foreigner, the foreigner always won.

At night, I wished we could have turned the camera towards ourselves. Here we were – two Canadians, out with Cubans. We were embarrassed to even mention this anyone else.  Since there was no real conversation to be had, besides translation and simple dialogue, Ilena was only interested in Mario sexually. Christian seemed interested in me as a person – constantly asking questions. However, even though I spoke Spanish, our conversation was still painful.  Most of the time, I felt like an ESL teacher, taking a vacation from my teaching job, only to be teaching again – this time for free.

The first night they took us to a rock bar where foreigners screamed along to Alanis Morisette and ACDC. Ilena and I exchanged ironic looks before reverting back to our Cubans for more kissing and ESL. We then took a stroll in a night park, as if were on a high school double-date. Next night, they met us at an outdoor bar with roses, and Christian didn’t even let me get up to get a water. He wanted to do everything for me.

Maybe I was just another tourist for him, but I felt like it meant more. The way he gently and carefully touched me, the way his eyes looked at me… In a short while I grew used to him and he started to feel more like a boyfriend. That’s vacation for you. One week and you are in a serious relationship. Was I crazy over him? No. I wish I could have felt something resembling the Franko (see Puerto Rican) attraction, but in a way I was glad. There would never be a future for this. Even if I desperately wanted it. I would not be the Canadian girl I talked about. Nor did he want anyone’s help in leaving, he mentioned.

After the fourth night together, I got into the taxi with a veil of tears covering my eyes. We were seeing each other every day now, going to different clubs to dance. I loved his attention, his touch, his affection. That night he came to see me after sleeping for three hours. He had no strength to dance, only to watch me dance and hug me to him. He called my hotel room five times before I picked up. He told me he didn’t have any money to go out, nor did he like it, that it was the only way for him to see me. He didn’t try to grope me or attempt to have sex with me for five days. They were simple things, really, but they felt romantic.

“Look at yourself” said Ilena and our new friend Anna “We should put your camera back on you. Mia, we are here for a week! He knows you are here for a limited time, you know it. How do you know he didn’t do this before?”

“But I feel that it means something more” I pleaded. I knew I would leave, but I didn’t want to feel like I was one of many.

“What do you want? To take him to Canada?”

“Of course not! I just want it to be meaningful.”

“Then it is”

On Friday, Christian was coming to pick us up to take us to his city. He came an hour early and was hanging out by the hotel in some hideously bright shirt. Apparently he had the taxi waiting for us for a whole hour, after which we switched to a communal truck full of Cubans eyeing us with interest (and the Puerto Rican towel I randomly brought with me).

204bike_riding_learningHis city was not actually a city.  Roosters and horses took over the dirt road. Kids ran around shoeless. Crowds of people lounged around gossiping. We were in a full blown Cuban village. Christian’s mother worked in the airport (and was at work when we arrived), so he was from a fairly wealthy family. Even so, the house he brought us in really left an imprint on me. Mismatched furniture, Disney Princess pillows (even though they had no kids), rusty rocking chairs on the porch, random posters, a fridge filled with cans of all sizes… Granted, he had a flat screen TV and a laptop, so I suppose he definitely was from a higher class, but it couldn’t in any way compare to the Franko’s modern condo I last visited in San Juan. The two islands were so close but miles away in terms of development.

We ate mayo filled pasta and watched the home videos of shy teenage Christian, after which we headed for the beach were he took me snorkelling just off the shore. We swam past amazing underwater corals and caves, surrounded by big fish and I at that moment I genuinely felt happy.

Maybe many Cubans were unsatisfied with their life, but at least they lived closer to the nature and were more in touch with their bodies. Sun kissed, barely dressed, with fragrant tropical air filling their nostrils. It is no wonder romance and sexuality came so easy to them.

After making out all over the beach and water region, we finally decided to head back to his place. Ilena and I knew what it would entail. We have been thinking about it the whole week. During the day, she would proudly tell me she wasn’t planning on having sex with Mario; that she didn’t see the point. One or two drinks later, she was falling into her hands and talking about ravishing his body.

So yes, we knew what was happening.

They left almost immediately under the pretence of ‘sleep’ and I nervously hung around on the porch barefoot. Chickens clucked outside, kids ran around, the warm Caribbean sun warmed my darkened skin and I felt more carefree that I had in a long time. He came out of the shower, his hair wet and a towel around his hips. His gorgeous green eyes were brightened by the sun and he looked like he should be on the cover of a magazine, except he didn’t seem aware of it. I took the shower and began putting cream on while sitting on his bed. He sat near me. Soon enough we started kissing, with Sarah Mclachlan singing in the background.

Yes, my dear readers.  He put Sarah Mclachlan on to seduce me. Ilena told me she got Celine Dion.

I wish I could describe to you just how incredibly sexy he looked at the edge of the bed, as he looked down at me. Then he was on top of me, pinning me down to bed.  As kissed my body, I couldn’t help but stare at him and the tattooed underside of his muscles. He looked sensual and impish at the same time.

However, just as he was about to come, he stopped.

I turned to him “What’s wrong?”

His eyes were red. I continued asking, until I realized what he wanted to say.

“I really like you too” I told him and he hugged me tight to him. I don’t know how I figured he wanted to say this, except the incident reminded me of Luiz (see the Portuguese). Christian told me afterwards that the moment was really intense for him and he almost couldn’t continue. I know most of you will say “what a pussy”. Maybe he was. I guess an artist and a Latin create a hyper sensitive combination. But what about the men in North America who are too scared to look desperate, to feel needy, to look anything, so they put up a tough front? What is better?

Afterwards, he wanted to show me the sunset. We ran through the village, so we wouldn’t miss the sun going down and it seemed like the entire village stared at us. I felt like I was in a chick flick, but it seemed like the whole trip could have been filmed. I suppose the all inclusive package includes the romantic encounters tailored to fit your preferences. This for me, was probably one of the most favourite parts of the trip. The feeling of freedom and youth, the sun-kissed skin, the boy at my side.cuba sunset

He hugged me from behind as we watched the sunset and told me “I think no matter what, it is important to take time to watch the sunset”. However, not only do we not watch the sunset in North America, but we hardly look up from our phones on the way to work.

After our walk, we made more pasta.

“What do you think I need to put in pasta?” he asked me.

“What do you have? Mushrooms?”

“No..”

“Tomatoes”

“No tomatoes right now.’

“Ok, well do you have olive oil?”

“Mia, you are in Cuba. Don’t forget” he smiled.

“Just give me the cheese and ham then.” I offered.

Ilena and Mario came back from their ‘sleep’ and as I ran out to greet them with “Mi casa es su casa”, Ilena announced that I was probably drunk. When we moved the furniture to dance salsa, she said Christian was drunk also. I told her I was high on life, which she used to mock me consistently from that point onward.

I stayed at his house, but Mario whose crazy mother only let him host Cuban girls, denied Ilena to spend the night. He ended up taking her back. Christian’s bed was not comfortable, but I wanted to stay with him. As we lay side by side, he told me “You know, you put life back in me? I was not doing too good but you made me feel hopeful. I don’t know what will happen, but even if I don’t see you again, I don’t ever want you to change. You are really beautiful to me.”

“Will you come say bye to me at the airport?” I asked.

“Of course” he hugged me. “Thank you for asking me”

We fell asleep to the sound of the ocean. By the ‘sound of the ocean’, I mean a sound track he plays in order to fall asleep. The guy lives near the beach and plays ocean music.

Anyways.

The next morning we went back to the hotel, where he hung out on the beach since he was not allowed to go any further. At the end, I was tired of lying in the blistering sun and kissing him every two minutes, as he would stare at me soulfully. I missed laughing with the girls and speaking fast English with lots and lots of slang!

So when he finally went home I breathed out. I needed a bit of a break!

That night Mario bailed on Ilena(with work as his excuse), making her extremely mad and cursing “My Heart Will Go On” that played from a speaker on our way to the restaurant.

“He ruined Celine Dion for me!” she mock cried.

Christian had managed to ‘get’ the money to go to a club with me (most likely from his mom, since there are no drug dealers to be had) but I told him I would meet him on the hotel beach. The poor guy came for two hours. He was burning up with a fever, but he sat by me as I practically fell asleep on his chest. He offered I go home with him, but I declined. I didn’t want him spending money he didn’t have and I loved the feel of my hotel bed.

Ilena told me she was convinced he cared for me . While she was hesitant at first, she grew to like Christian and his open feelings for me. She called us the over-the-top romantic couple or Aventura (a famous Bachata band) and said we could be annoying as hell.

He was at the airport the next day. I wrote him a letter Ilena poked fun at in the bus (since it was written in a red pen and on the pages of my girly diary..) I knew he would appreciate it, especially because I was sure he would do something similar.

Mario worked at the airport so he was there, trying to make peace with Ilena, who was starting to behave like an angry Cuban woman.

“I don’t want to talk to him!” she told me and marched right past him. But as soon as he created a separate line for us and gave her a rose over the counter, her anger began to melt. My face with a huge smile plastered on it didn’t help either. I mean the guy made a separate line for us! Some Canadians followed us, only having to move to the next one right after.

Soon after, as her and Mario were kissing and discussing the difference between shorts and pants,there was an announcement that the flight was delayed by two hours. Excited, Christian offered to go to his house. The idea was crazy, yet kind of sane, since all my luggage was already on the way.

There we were again. Chickens, children, beautiful sunset, me with my huge bag and jeans. I met his mother, who hugged me and fed me with the most fattening food ever, consisting of mayo, deep fried fat (yes), fries and a milkshake.

“If you stayed here and ate that, you would become like the rest of the Cuban girls – fat” he told me. “And then I would stop liking you!” he added as a semi joke.

my arteries!

my arteries!

His mom had beautiful light green eyes and I felt like we were all a family. With the same dark hair, green/blue eyes and tanned skin, we definitely resembled each other in a slightly creepy way. We chatted on the porch, and I even got some time along with Christian to lock the door and have sex for one last time.

I know he spent his last money on the taxi to the airport, but he wouldn’t accept my money and when time to leave arrived – he put his sunglasses on. I burst out crying in front of a customs officer who seemed to understand. I am sure I am not the only foreigner to leave Cuba in tears. After all, Cubans and foreigners is an old story.

In the airport, I opened the envelope he put into my bag and saw he gave me his ring, a letter written in Spanish and his childhood photo. These were simple gifts that didn’t involve any money, but that were made by hand and that told me he genuinely cared about me. Apparently he wanted to make me a mix CD, but even after collecting all the songs, he had to go to another city just to get the actual disk.

In North America, we have everything but it seems most of us no longer make any real effort to romance each other. Emails are replacing hand-written letters. Facebook chats are replacing emails. Downloaded songs and Youtube links are replacing CDs. We can get flowers on every street corner, deliver them with a click of a mouse and create a custom card in a minute.

But we are too lazy to pick up the phone and call someone to wish them a Happy Birthday. We don’t even need to remember it. Facebook can do both for us.

I will not say I came back enlightened, because that’s a cheesy overstatement. But at least for a little bit, before settling into my routine, I feel like I have gone back in time, back when romance was simple and direct. Back when there was no such thing as “cheesy” or “corny”. Back when we didn’t have to pretend we didn’t care or were the least interested party. Back to when you could simply enjoy the sunset and not worry about Instagraming it later.

I think the women who go to Cuba and fall for the Cubans are not pathetic or desperate, they are just tired. Tired of being independent. Tired of playing games, Tired of the coldness with which they are treated. They want to be seduced, they want to be “the one”, they want to be romanticized. Sure, in men’s opinion, women worked hard to feel independent, but at the end of the day, we all want someone to write us a beautiful romantic letter.letter-from-william-love-1923_love-family-papers001

Not a Facebook message.

 

 

The Primal Instinct

cavemanCocky to the extreme and certain in his ability to charm the pants or skirts of off women, Francois is as French as you can get. And he is currently my student.

Did I mention I manage a department in an international school downtown? Sounds impressive, I know. However, it mainly consists of me listening to online dating stories of another manager, who is currently trying to get laid on a site. But that’s a whole other story.

The fact that I haven’t had any sex in months now doesn’t help when I have to work with attractive students only a few years my minor. Maybe I should be the one looking for a quickie on a site, however, thankfully I haven’t sunk so low.

Francois is obnoxious, loud, speaks in a stereotypically French accent (seems like half of it might even be put on), eyes women indiscreetly and is a pain in the ass to teach as he thinks he is above every other commoner. Homevorke? Vy should I do ze homevorke? It is like, you know, fois gras? Zey take ze meat from ze duck. Zis is how I feel ven I do homevorke! 

He pretty much speaks like he is buying a croissant. Twenty four-seven.

Unfortunately, my hormones are that of an eighteen year old girl and the fact that he annoys me doesn’t stop me from getting excited every time he looks at me. Is that crazy? Pathetic is more like it.

The other day, I was out in the hall when he saw me. He then did something simple,yet primal and sexual.

He looked me up and down. But not just that, his eyes dragged across my body in slow motion, letting me see that he was observing every inch of me. Even his eyes darkened with lust. The boy knew exactly what he was doing. And the amount of guts he had to have to assess me as if I wasn’t his teacher or his senior but a girl he wanted to rip the clothes off of and drag off to a cave somewhere was incredible.

I should have been indignant. How dare he?

I am sorry to all my feminist readers (if I have any). I was not.  I felt a bit uncomfortable, sure. My status as a teacher has suddenly diminished and I felt completely vulnerable, like a high school girl would feel… No matter the fact that he is five years younger than me. And I will be honest – that raw, primal gaze got my heart beating extremely fast.

Sure, Francois is a good looking guy. Sure, he knows it and flaunts it. But he tapped into something many women in North America are not used to getting anymore. And that is the honest, sexual, no excuses gaze from a man. It is not “Heyyy, girl, yo lookin sexay!” from a car speeding 60 miles per hour. It is not grinding from the back (does anyone actually do that anymore?) It is definitely not trying to appear less invested than the girl is.

It just is. The sexual gaze. The sign of interest. The intrigue. The lust at its basic form.

I don’t know about the rest of the girls in North America or the girls who are reading this, but I am almost sure they will agree with me here. We all want a quality guy. Someone who doesn’t hit on every girl, someone who treats you with respect, blah blah. I want that too.

But unlike French. Italian and Argentinian girls or even the girls residing in places like Miami, we are not used to the constant sexual tension surrounding us. In Canada men try not to appear too invested, too interested, too obvious, too direct. They push down their natural instinct, not even to do something extreme like look a girl up and down, but to even look at her. And I mean REALLY look at her. Lock their eyes with her, flirt with a look, drag your gaze on, let her know you notice her.

Francois might be the example of the extreme. Yet he tells me (and I believe him)- girls come up to me. I do not know vy? Zey jus do!

And why do you think that is?

Maybe they are so used to being ignored by the other men, that they yearn for a sign of male appreciation. Even if it is as vulgar as an assessment from head to toe. After this long, tedious, cold winter where we seemed to freeze over emotionally, we all need the scent of intrigue and possibility in the air.

No, you don’t need to put on a fake French accent. You just need to focus your gaze, show real interest and not worry that she might not feel the same. That’s her choice. Your choice is to be a real man or a lame guy who yells after a woman from the safety of a  moving car.

Which one gets the girl?