What’s a Girlfriend Got to Do With It? (2013)

surfer

Does culture dictate what is acceptable for men or are there simply assholes regardless of their country?

I was in Panama for a teaching job I found accidentally. You can’t imagine my happiness at leaving behind freezing Canadian winter and heading off to the land of sun, beaches and Latin dancing!

Before I started my job, I decided to take two weeks to travel the country and got a volunteering gig as a hotel helper in a surfing town of Santa Catalina. Basically all I had to do was lie in a hammock waiting for guests, reading a book or sometimes dozing off after a day at the beach.

lazy life in the village

lazy life in the village

I worked alongside a very nice but quite smelly and unattractive bearded American guy Rick who had a crush on me. For the lack of any other company, we would go out at night to one of the few little bars followed by the owner’s dog Darly. The dog would run alongside us, barking at anyone who would get close.

I have spent a few days in Santa Catalina and loved the little village atmosphere, the endless fruits on the trees and the lush nature, but I was bored. So, so bored. The bars closed at ten p.m. so that the surfers could wake up at dawn to do what they do best… Surf.

One night I walked into Chile Rojos pizza bar with Rick, and a bit fed up at spending all my time with him (as well as tired of his arm-pit smell) I joined a table of four guys. Two guys were serious blond Fins, and the other two dark shaggy haired Argentinians.

Chile Rojos

Chile Rojos

One, Pablo, was the most attractive one. Rather, he exuded a mix of confidence, easy-going charm and ruggedness all in one. With a sleek body covered in a few tattoos, he was shaggy haired and slightly bearded. I didn’t fall for him, rather he won me over with his easy demeanor.

At first we became something like friends. We got along perfectly and understood each other’s sense of humor, even though we spoke only in Spanish. That night, as the electricity died in the bar (which was a normal occurrence in Panama), us and the Fins plus Rick and Darly walked to the beach. Pablo and I walked together and he sang me songs in Spanish. Cheesy maybe, but he made everything seem natural.

“That was so lame the way he kept on trying to win you over. He just wants to get into your pants.” hissed angry Rick as we walked home.

“Pablo?” I laughed. “I am not taking him seriously.”

I really didn’t. Pablo was fun, relaxed and sexy. And that was enough.

The next evening I saw him again. He was sitting with his friend Pato (who spoke even less English but was the nicest person) in Chile Rojos and was very excited as I came in. As we started talking, he went over the list of all the guys I know and began quizzing about me about who I found attractive, clearly sorting out through the competition. First came the Fins, then Rick. It was a big bold NO for all.

“What do you think about me?” he asked me in his sing-song Argentinian accent. A little knowing smile on his face.

I avoided the topic and looked a bit uncomfortable, so he gave up. At least for that night.

santa catalina2

I didn’t see him the next day, so I started to miss him a little. He didn’t show up to Chili Rojos for a couple of hours, so I sat there with Rick and another guy hoping and wishing he would come through the door. And just as I was about to give up, in he came with that relaxed grin on his face and that shaggy hair of his sporting a regular attire of T-shirt and surfer shorts.

He sat down near me and began flirting mercilessly.

“So is it a yes?” he asked finally, in a cryptic voice.

“It’s a maybe” I finally uttered, unable to keep on prolonging this any longer.

He seemed to take it as a yes and as we began to part, he offered to go to the beach. Rick thankfully declined and Pato came for a bit, then with a not-so subtle look from Pablo finally said he had to go sleep. As he left, Pablo decided to romance me the Latin way and put on some romantic Argentinian music for me. And he even sang along to it.

We started kissing and then he began to kiss my breasts. I was going to say no except it has really been a while and at this point, who really cared? We went further and further.. until he wanted a blowjob.

OK, so my rule with blow jobs is that I only give one after sex.  After all, I don’t know where his penis has been! Why would I put some unknown object in my mouth? Kids are taught not to do that.

I told him NO. And what did he do? He stood in front of me with his penis sticking out and his arms on his sides. He even tried to grab my hand so I could touch it. And believe me when I say, there was not much to grab onto there. But that’s beside the point. Exasperated, I told him I was leaving. He followed me, now with his penis in his pants, thankfully. We were also accompanied by Darly, who jealous or angry began jumping on me and biting me, seeing as how some unknown boy was all over me. She wouldn’t leave me alone, so Pablo tried to calm her down.

“I want to stay the night with you. We are not going to have sex” he said firmly, holding the dog with the other hand.

I shook my head. “You are not”

“I am. I am coming”

“No. I said you are not”

“Yes, I am grabbing my things”

“Pablo! No!”

“Ok, wait for me. I am coming”

The forest

The forest

And apparently this pushy Argentinian logic worked since the next thing I knew we were walking to my place. By place, I mean an attic in the middle of nowhere. Downstairs lived Rick and if you climbed the ladder up, you would have to sort of walk/crawl through my wooden door. Thankfully Rick never tried it.

“How long has it been since you had a girlfriend?” I asked him.

“Hmm.. Long time” he said as he held my hand through the woods.

I missed sleeping near a guy and living in a little village with woods on both sides of me didn’t help matters. It was really nice to have this shaggy haired VERY PUSHY Latin man with me. Even if he did just stick his wiener in my face.

Pun intended

Pun intended

After we got heated up again, he gave me oral and asked me to reciprocate (which I admit, I hate. It’s almost like ‘I do you. You do me’). I told him about my rule.

“You have some stupid rules” He said. I should have been mad maybe, but it was kind of funny and in fact, maybe he was right. I ended up giving him one. But on second thought, personal rules are good to have and no one should ever argue you out of them or you lose your sense of integrity.

We slept in each other’s arms and in the morning, he rose early for surfing. I looked up at him a bit bewildered. I have never spent the night with a surfer/hippy/tattooed guy. But I figured that was one experience that would be interesting.

To be frank, I avoided him the whole day. I mean, OK,  I wanted to see him but that would entail something else. I couldn’t continue sleeping with him and not having sex. I also couldn’t just walk away. Rather, he probably wouldn’t let me.

That day, however, I didn’t see him and though relieved, I began to wonder – maybe he left!? What if he left? What if I never saw him again?

However, the night after I was walking home when I saw him and Pato strolling towards the beach with a surfing instructor Ronaldo. They asked me to join them and I succumbed. Besides everything, I loved spending time with them. They were funny, friendly, playful and so easy going. If it wasn’t for the almost sex I was having with Pablo, we could be great friends.

Sitting on the beach, Pablo didn’t try to caress me or kiss me in front of the guys.. So when Ronaldo offered me a massage to “relax me”, I saw it as okay. I didn’t see it as anything else. Pablo, who was gone for a few minutes, came back to see Ronaldo massaging my back. Clearly irritated, he offered Pato to leave the beach and when I looked at him quizzically, ignored me.Beach_Bonfire_by_anarsil1

“It’s great, I will drop her off” offered Ronaldo.

“No, no!” I protested “I am coming with you, guys!”

As it turned out on the way back, Pablo did in fact get jealous and could not understand why I would let another man massage me. I couldn’t understand how a massage turned into something so serious? After all, he didn’t act like we were anything more than friends/almost sex partners.

Ronaldo followed us on a bike, clearly thinking he still had a chance but Pablo would not let that happen.

“I am staying with you” He whispered to me. No please. No maybe.

Ronaldo’s face fell and Pablo’s brightened as we walked away together. As we lay together that night (without sex still) we began talking about our lives. He opened up about his life, his mom dying.. And then he uttered my favorite phrase which at the time seemed so genuine but now I have no idea.

“You are my perfect girl” he whispered “I mean we have fun, you are hilarious, pretty.. Everything I want. Would you consider coming to Argentina? We could try dating.”

We could dance tango

We could dance tango

I don’t know if that worked its magic or maybe I was just horny, but we ended up having sex that night. The sex was nothing special, I think it was more the closeness I craved.

That morning was a soap opera. Rick, for some unknown to me reason, decided to practice yoga under my attic window.. meaning Pablo couldn’t get down or he would be seen. I climbed down and tried to distract Rick. I offered him to go surfing so he could finally leave and when that worked, told him I would meet him halfway. Pablo during this time, was browsing through my underwear collection and smirking. This went on for an hour, until he finally climbed down my window and we arranged to meet on the beach.

That day he taught me how to surf and acted as the sweetest guy ever. He only bit my ass twice, and was excited every time I got on my board. “Agarra el tablero!” He would yell on top of his voice and cheer me on as I shakily managed to stay on long enough. You see why I am still of a good opinion of this Argentinian boy.

Oh yeah, a pro like me

Oh yeah, a pro like me

That night, however, he never came and as it turned out later, spent the night on the beach. I left for another place the following day, having cried a bit as I walked home the night I didn’t see him.

Bocas del Toro was comprised of three islands, and close to the border of Costa Rica. I was there for four days when  I saw him randomly strolling down the street. On Valentine’s Day of all days.

bocas

Sure, I was still mad he didn’t come, but to hell with it.. I thought. We spent the day on the beach and the evening eating pasta and flirting furiously. People turned around at us with smiles as we fought and made up playfully within a matter of minutes. His hair was tied up in a small ponytail and he looked a bit like Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean. At least that’s what my new friend thought. The poor girl didn’t speak any Spanish and had to spend her dinner listening to us bickering in a foreign language.

We spent the night dancing. Actually, he would stand there distracted watching surfing one second. The next, he would press me to the wall with his body. He told me I was like “a thousand girls in one” – meaning I was that amazing and energetic.

He rented a motel room that night, but for some reason I felt cheap. Especially when coming out of the bathroom, I saw him fully undressed lying on the bed waiting for me. The sex was average once more.

The morning after was my last day in Bocas. I had to return to Panama City to start work. That day however I met Giles (See the French) and since I was extremely attracted to Giles, I later on hid from Pablo in the club.

And good thing, because this is the conversation Pablo and I had two weeks after.

“So Pablo, what are you doing? Are you coming to Panama City?”

“Oh I don’t think so. My girlfriend is coming tomorrow so we might go back to Santa Catalina”

“…Girflriend?”

“Why, does it matter?”

“…YES!?”

“Well I didn’t think it mattered. You never asked.”

“I asked how long has it been since you had a girlfriend. I didn’t assume you actually HAD one.”

Thus the story ends, with a little insight on Argentinian culture, in which it is apparently normal to have an open relationship and cheating is considered as normal as peeing. Who knew? It was my first experience and it shocked me.

Corazon

Who has any similar experience with Argentinians? I would love to hear your stories!

But I love you (2012)

A hilarious story of being chased down by an Italian guy in the middle of the night as he professed his love for me. Ah, Italian men.  It is a must try speciality on your next trip to Italy, followed by an aperitivo and tartuffo gelato.

Having heard amazing things about Sorrento, located in the Amalfi Coast of Italy, from my friend who met a beautiful Italian and had sex with him on a beach (followed by no more romance, clearly) I was interested to see what this place would be like. It is swamped by men, narrated my friend, her eyes lit up. You have to go there!

Amalfi-Coast

beautiful Amalfi coast

She was right about one thing, it was filled with beautiful men. Bronzed, toned and practically smelling of scooters and sex, they were everywhere. I even made it a game for myself to see how many guys I could consider sleeping with. The list made it pretty far before I gave up counting and considered myself a slut.

That night though, I didn’t meet anyone and was tired of sitting in touristy bars, scoping out guys, so I followed the girls from my hostel home.

Suddenly, I heard someone speaking in Italian behind me. I turned around. There was this pretty blond boy with light blue eyes and sculpted lips, a helmet in his hands, following me.

Baciami!” He pointed at his cheek, clearly wanting me to kiss him.

Vaffanculo!”  I gestured, happy I got a chance to use one of my favorite and perfected Italian phrases. Learning Italian has finally paid off.small-vaffanculo

The boy seemed to get the hint somewhat and disappeared. Minutes later, however, he reappeared right behind me.

Catso!” I exclaimed with my swear number two, though a part of me was strangely flattered. He was quite beautiful. Tall, tanned, sporting a light pink polo shirt and jeans. I knew there was only one reason he must have followed me this far and it wasn’t because he wanted to get to know me.

“What is your name?” he asked, coming up.

“What is yours?” I asked.

“I am Gabrielle”

“Mia”

“I can walk with you, Mia?” It wasn’t really a question. Rather a matter of fact.

“You look like you are too young for me” I told him, looking him over. He looked to be about twenty-three.

“I am not too young” he said.

“Just how young are you?” I pressed, not really wanting to know anyways. It was clear he was too young.

“I am twenty-one” he said. “Actually, I joke. I am twenty-four. Does it matter?”

“Yes, I am twenty-seven. You are too young either way.” I said and continued walking.

He ran up to me and grabbed my hand. “Come with me.” The girls continued walking in front of us.

“I am not going anywhere with you.” I said, trying to break my hand free. At the same time, a little intrigued and curious as usual, I thought why not? I might have a chance to write about him later in my blog.

Suddenly, he took my face and turned it to his. He kissed me so quickly, I didn’t even have a chance to react. But once he did kiss me, I pushed him away. “What are you doing?”

“ I like you” He said. “You are very beautiful.”

“You do not even know me!” I exclaimed with a half laugh. “What is my name?”

“Uh.. Maria?”

“There you go. You don’t even know my name. How can you ‘like me’?”

“Mia. Your name Mia. I remember names.” He smiled impishly.

I sighed. “Ok, nice to meet you. Now I’m going to go.”

“Where you go? I go with you.”

“You are not going to my hotel. My friends are waiting for me.” I pointed at the bored Australian girls who were standing a few meters away, talking and looking back every so often.

“It’s ok” he said. “Come!” he led me to a side street. I tried fighting him off, but it was quite useless. Probably because I didn’t really fight him off, rather pretended to.

Un baccio per favore!

Un baccio per favore!

There, in that side street, he took my face in his hands and began kissing me again, eagerly.

“Why you are not relaxed?” he asked. “Try to relax when I kiss you.”

“I am not relaxed, because I don’t want to kiss you!” I said. This was incredible – now I wasn’t relaxed when kissing him. The guy that literally forced himself on me.

“I help you find your hotel” He said.

“No”

“Si, we go together.” He stated as if I had no other choice. “I know everything in Sorrento.”

“You are not helping me find my hotel. I don’t even know you.”

“You do. I am Gabrielle. You are Mia”

I sighed loudly, exasperated. “My friends are waiting for me!”

“Is ok. They know where the hotel is, yes?”

Giving up and also finding this quite hilarious, I followed his lead. We walked around the dark streets speaking a mixture of bad English on his part and bad Italian on my part. Every so often, he would stop and say “Uf, I need a break.” Then he would press me to him and begin kissing me. At first I kept on pushing him away, but as the kissing continued, I finally gave in and began to enjoy myself a bit. He was a kid but a very beautiful and Italian kid and what better way to enjoy Italy then through a genuine Italian experience?

Just like that

Just like that

Finally, through all the walking and getting lost, my relationship with Gabrielle escalated so much and so rapidly that he looked into my eyes after kissing me and said the three words every girl wants to hear.

Ti amo

I burst out laughing. “You do not love me! What is it with you Italian men?”

“But I do. I love you.”

“You don’t know me!I just met you twenty minutes ago. You don’t even know what I do!”

“What do you do, Mia?”

“I am a teacher. And you?”

“I am studying to be chiropractor.” He answered. Having gotten that out of the way he pulled me into him again. “Kiss me”

There it was. Our first real relationship talk. Now we knew each other inside and out.

The next time we got lost, I figured he must be doing this on purpose.

“You better help me find the hotel.”

“Why are you in hurry?” He asked.

“I am tired, that’s why.”

“Why you are tired. Is early.”

“It is 4 am.”

“Early! Kiss me!” he pressed his eager lips into mine.

I sighed. There was no way out of this. He pressed me towards the fence and kissed me. He also pressed his erection towards my pelvis and I figured this time he wanted more than kissing. I guessed I was right when I heard unzipping.

This is when I squirmed out of his passionate embrace and practically ran down the hill. He ran after me.

“Mia, I am sorry.  Mia, wait!”

“I am not having sex with you.”

“No sex, just kissing. I love you.”

“Stop saying you love me already!” I exclaimed. He was being ridiculous. “All you Italian men are the same.”

“I am good boy. What are you saying?” He smiled impishly.

We walked around for a few more  minutes, until finally I located the road my hotel was on and skipped towards it happily with him following behind grouchily.

Entrance to the hotel

Knowing this was it, the end of our quick romance, he pressed me towards yet another fence and once again, I felt his hardness on me.

“Gabrielle” I said, once I finally had a chance to breathe. “ I am not having sex with you.”

“But you are twenty-seven. You are virgin?” he cocked his head to the side, genuinely confused.

“That’s not your business. But either way, I don’t go to Italy to have sex with all Italian boys” I exclaimed.

“But I love you.” He continued.

Exasperated I broke out of his embrace and walked towards the hotel. “Goodnight Gabrielle!”

Standing there, dejected he looked towards me as I walked through the door. “Ciao

And the strange thing is, he must have loved me so much, his heart probably broke from sadness, because I never saw him again.2

Men in Rome (2012)

I’m going to Italy in two weeks and have decided to try CouchSurfing in Rome. For those of you who don’t know what CS is: basically you stay for free at someone’s house and they even take the time to show you around. The idea seems very strange to some people, but no, you do not have to host that person afterwards, and yes, it is safe. However, if a girl decides to stay over at a guy’s place, well, she should know what she might possibly be getting into. Even though, unless she wants to, technically sex is out of the question.

I’ve only done CS once, where I stayed with a guy but there is no way I would stay at a guy’s place in Rome. Really, that’s just asking for it! The thing is that while Italian men eagerly participate in CouchSurfing community, I think they have a pretty different notion of what it is supposed to be. “Oh, I heard. Is free dating website? Yes? But is better, because she is foreigner (meaning easy!), she stay at your house and then you never see her. I like very much. I sign up.”  Though he might try to make it romantic and show you Piazza Navona or the Coliseum before he gets down to ‘seducing you’.

Anyways, I posted my request to the only girl I could find in the whole city. She never replied. Instead, what I received were countless (over seventy! I’m not kidding) messages from men aged 18-50 providing me with multiple services and tours, all of which, I assume revolve around the bedroom/bathroom area.

itals1

Here are my chosen favorites:

Ciao Mia,

I saw your profile in CS and i’ve been fascinated by you, your body and your head.

If you are not able to find out something good for sleeping, don’t be shy and call me. If otherwise you succeed in finding out a good place to stay, call me to have a drink. I can show you some part of Rome out-of-commercial.

CiaO! Antonio

I didn’t know I had a fascinating head!

Ciao Mia, I Read your couch request, and you’re an interesting girl! as long as you like partying, talking and share experiences you’re more than welcome 🙂 about me, I have a clothes shop in the center of rome, so i know my city quite well so, i think I have a couch for you, i just have to check if my family is going to be in Rome, if not my house is your house!
Ciao, Marco
Ok, the clothing shop was a little difficult to pass up I must admit.
Hello I would like to  host you in my little house, after the fishing and cooking, the theater and ‘my favorite hobby ..
Which is…? Seriously, what is it?
Ciao Mia!
Welcome to ROME….welcome to eternal city…ROMA….!!!In any case if you need you need advice or a guide for visit the City (magic place), or to eat an ice cream special, or make a good aperitif-dinner, or eat the original Neapolitan pizza, or a night out for dancing(salsa, bachata, tango argentino, samba, lindy hop, disco music) or a drink, i’m available to accompany you and show you the city (Special places no tourist)….or anything else you should need not hesitate to call me …!! 🙂 Christiano
Only Italians can suggest such a grand tour. An American would probably go with   ‘and then we’ll hang out or grab some beer’
One Italian guy’s interest was actually sex. But at least he’s honest about it.
The point is, Italian men really know how to seduce a woman with wine, sightseeing, CiaoBella_PinotGrigioscooters and clothing.. too bad this only lasts until the first night!