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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Let’s Talk about Stereotypes! – Italian, French, German

Every time I am interested in a guy from a different country, I make sure to read some of the ‘truths’ of dating this specific culture. I type in something like ‘dating a Spanish guy’ and get a variety of articles about how the Spanish are romantic, passionate and should call you often. I must admit, it’s very entertaining, and there is definitely some sense to them.  I live for stereotypes, as I’ve been told countless times… but how true are they? Or is it just easier to make an assumption?

After all, how many ‘do you drink vodka and do gymnastics’ do I get just because I’m a Russian. The best is ‘But you are not BLONDE!?’

So let me break down what I believe are facts and myths of popular stereotypes.

The Italians

Stereotype 1: Italians are whores.

Fact: Obviously there are great guys that are looking for a serious relationship, but to be frank with you, many of them are just not that good looking or confident.  The majority of the good looking guys will never be faithful to you. Even when they’re fifty. Even when they can’t get it up any more. The important part of their southern culture is passion, which is a great thing. The bad part about it is this passion will need to be fueled up every so often, preferably by different women. If you notice a man holding his girlfriend’s hand and eyeing you, he is doing that mostly to feed his own ego and to feel he still ‘has it’ in him. And we wonder why Italian girls are so high maintenance! What would you do if your boyfriend couldn’t be faithful to you for one minute? In the words of Ariana who scored a beautiful ‘Dolce and Gabbana’ lookalike Alessandro “Once a bitch was looking at him. I say ‘Ey,you. Who you looking at, Puta?’ I have to be like that or someone else get him, you know?”

Stereotype 2: Italian men are in love with themselves

Fact: If you’ve ever been to an Italian beach and seen a man spray-tanning himself and orlebarbrownthen staring at his chest with a mix of awe and love, you will get what I’m talking about. What about the crazy bright colors that the men so enjoy? Pink polos? Green capris? A variety of scarves?Tiny white shorts? Styled hair (that literally waves in the breeze) and plucked eyebrows? In North America, all of the above mean only one thing: you are gay, my friend. (But just for the record, I love it)

Stereotype 3: Italian men are beautiful at seduction

Fact: One thing that I find Italians are wonderful at is getting you into bed effortlessly. How do they manage it? Well, for one, they understand that we girls are starved for attention, passion and spontaneity… especially if residing in countries where men are too scared to make a move and even if they do, it is more robotic than sexy .  On the contrary, Italian men ooze sex appeal, they know how to make you feel like you are the center of the universe, how to create romance and how to convince you that if you don’t have sex with them it will be your loss, not theirs. After all, you will miss out on the night you will never forget. Probably a week of tears as well, especially if you were convinced he really liked you.

simonThe French

Stereotype 1: The French are the best dressers

Myth/Fact: This one really depends. I have dated two French guys who had very little sense of style, but Parisians are a whole different matter. I recently went out with a Parisian who was dressed to the t: stylish jacket, collared shirt, impeccably smelling. As in any culture, it depends on the person, but when they have it, they really have it. Not only that, most French guys will appreciate a woman to be well put together. By that, I don’t mean short dresses that show off your crotch. They appreciate a woman who has an elegant style, good hygiene and classy perfume. Bonus to you if the perfume is French as well!

Stereotype 2: French look down their noses at everyone

Myth/Fact: I was sitting at my friend’s house when his Parisian roomate I just met, decided to share his opinion on people from Montreal. It went along the lines of “Zos people sink zey are French, but zey are NOT! Zey speek sheet language! It is not French! It is like saying Americaines are from England. It is simplee not true!” And this went on for a good half an hour. But again, Parisians are special. We all know that.

Stereotype 3: French men are worldly and well-rounded

Paris-wedding-France-romance-wedding-dress-arinab-photography-vintage-inspired-wedding-wedding-in-paris-3Fact: So so so true! One guy I was seeing could start the conversation with politics and end with history. He had an  opinion about everything and always thought hard about any question I asked him, then would come up with a well-detailed and thought out response. But beware ladies.. while it is all very charming and deep at first, it will soon turn into over analyzing and annoying. Such as: Isn’t this skirt a bit too short? Why are you wearing a bikini in your Facebook profile? You seem bored.. You do not like spending your Sunday watching a French theater about restorative justice? (All of the above from a real experience.. within the same day) So while at first this philosophizing is wonderful and is such a great contrast from North American guys, many of whom will quote “the Anchorman” as their source of information… this nagging, obsessing, and overly critical approach to life and to you will soon have you running up the walls or rushing at him with a knife.

 French are great lovers

Double Fact: YES!!!!!!!!!!! Not that I’ve been with the whole of the French population. But two of the best lovers I have ever been with were French so that has to say something. They put so much emphasis on your satisfaction and they will do anything to live up to their reputation. And yes, they are very sexual. Being naked is natural to them. Sex is natural and there is nothing that’s off limits. In the opinion of my past boyfriend – making love or faire l’amour is passion, craziness, wildness, softness, dominating.. while having sex is just ‘useless’. Also, having sex on the first or second date doesn’t label you a ‘slut’ or put a dead end to a relationship like we tend to believe in North America (and in fact, most of the world)

The Germans

Stereotype 1: They are pragmatic

Fact: Instead of providing you with my opinion, I will tell you a true story told to me by my German girlfriend. “On my first date, I was with my then boyfriend cutting up potatoes for the soup. Don’t even ask me why I was cutting up potatoes on the first date. Anyways, I was cutting them perpendicularly, when he stopped me and suggested I cut them the other way. After all that would save time and make them boil quicker, as a result, saving energy. So there you go, Mia, those are Germans for you in a nut-shell. First date: potatoes and saving energy.”

Stereotype 2: They are horrible in bed

Myth: Ok, not a lot of experience. But they are apparently rated number 1 worst in bed because they are ‘too smelly’. From what I’ve seen (or rather smelled), no, they are not. Not bad either. Probably a bit robotic and aggressive. Also they make some strange/interesting sounds…

Stereotype 3: They lack a sense of humor

Myth: No, they’re very funny. Just in a very dry, sarcastic and dark kind of way.  So when they make a joke, sometimes it’s not clear if it actually IS one. It’s like “ha..ha… Is he joking or should I be scared?” But, really, I love their sense of humor because it is so unexpected and because it is that dry. But that’s just me.

In conclusion, I definitely believe in stereotypes. I enjoy them. I laugh about them. I write about them, but I do think that while stereotypes are there for a reason they cannot ever be applied to the whole country. Also, this is a new generation of people which has been raised with internet, Facebook and Hollywood movies, so the whole world has become a bit Americanized.

coloStill, many men are aware of their cultural stereotypes and try to use it them to their full potential. After all, how many girls go to Paris just to be swept off their feet? And we are still asking why European men love tourists. Because they CAN easily sweep them off their feet using the cliched phrases (amour, bella.. lieben?), postcard locations (Eiffel tower, Colosseum.. the Berlin Wall?) and their ‘sexy’ accent (German? ya?) to finalize the deal.

PS. All these observations are generalizations. I am aware that there are faithful Italians, stupid French people and passionate Germans.. so do not take this too literally.

Real Life Stereotypes

  1. How you going, mate?

It’s one thing to call your guy friends mate. That means man, amigo, dude, tio in Aussie-speak. But calling a girl mate, especially when you are trying to hit it off with her is just weird.  This summer I met an Aussie guy who kept on calling me mate. Like “how you goin’ mate? Whatcha doin’ mate?” Do I look like your rugby playing friend? I kept on emphasizing. “I have boobs!”  but he didn’t seem to get the point. When he made a move on me, I figured OK, he should be smart enough to stop with the whole mate nonsense. Guess what? Even after we shared a  romantic kiss on the beach, he would still refer to me as mate. “You taste like saltwater, mate” he would quirp in that annoying Aussie voice of his. And the funniest thing? He thought that his obnoxiousness was somehow attractive to me. To his surprise, we never ‘hooked up’ and I ended up meeting a French guy who never in his right mind would call me something as asexual as mate.

2.   Going Dutch

I am assuming the term “going dutch” came from Holland. For those who don’t know, it is paying for your own share of food or drinks and personally the idea is repulsive to me. I would rather offer to pay for the guy than split my own side of the bill. In reality though, I am old-fashioned and truly believe the man needs to pay, at least for the first year or so. And after, just emotionally.

Last summer I met a Dutch guy who was great –  smart, funny and cute. I had a thing for him and he seemed to really like me. At least he was so nervous around me, I assumed he did.  He wanted to prove he was somewhat of a gentleman so he could ‘score’ so he asked me if I wanted a drink. I don’t think he thought I would say yes, but I did.   I could practically see the wheels turning in his head as he debated whether or not it would be worth it to get me a drink.  Would we have to pay two point five euros each? How would we make it work? It took him about forty minutes as we went from bar to bar, to finally find a cheaper place and scrape enough cash to treat me. When he did, he felt as proud as if he presented me with a bottle of Dom Perignon. He never did score, so maybe I should mail him a check for my part.

3.  I am from Roma!

Seriously, Italian men just love the fact that they are from Italy. So much so that they call all their cities by their Italian names. “I am from Firenze! I am from Milano! I am from Roma!” Possibly it’s because they cannot speak any English, but most probably it is because they have to play their role of the Italian stallion, the passionate seducer. Think about it – have you ever heard a French guy say he is from Pari? Or a Russian one that he is from Moskva? Italian men are so full of it, I can write a novel on it. The best is when they pause significantly before saying they are from… (insert drum) ITALY! The land of love and seduction. One guy actually presented me with this line after kissing me. “I am leaving for Roma (!!) in one hour. But if we go to the beach right now, I can be your man for this whole hour!” To which I replied “I cannot believe my luck! What did I do to deserve this?” to which he of course replied “What?”

4.  French – the greatest lovers?

Ok, so the first time I kissed a French guy was actually this New Years, so I wouldn’t say I have years of expertise here. However, he was one of the most amazing kisses I have ever experienced. Slow, sensual, made me feel crazy tingles. So, after this I thought “Wow, are all French men like this?” No, they are definitely not. But I gotta say, they are damn sensual and pay a lot of attention to you. The last French guy I was with was a terrible kisser. He was more like a pecker. I felt like I was kissing a relative. However, he was one of the best “lovers” I have ever had (though I’m surprised I even got there with all that pecking). Once again, sensuous and slow and made me feel like I was the center of the world. After which I never heard from him again.

5.  Begging Brazilians

Whoever said that the Brazilians are the best ‘in the sack’? I wouldn’t know, because I never got there. Reason why? They are so damn horny and so bad at hiding it that it can get pretty repulsive. A few years back I went out with a Brazilian guy I kind of liked. I loved our kiss on the first date. He seemed classy. By the second date, his hand was almost in my underwear. I told him no. But why? He asked. It is nice weather. I like you. This is nice. When that beautifully expressed proposal didn’t get the response he desired, he still tried over and over. Maybe I should have  been more firm, which I am bad at, but at one point he started saying ‘please!’ ‘come on!’ ‘ the sky is beautiful. You are.. pretty!’ And then he almost took his pants off. In the end, I never found out how amazing he was in the sack, but he would make a hell of a beggar.

6.  Lying Latinos

Oh the things that Latin guys will say to you to get you in bed! But a lot of us have a soft spot for Latin guys. They are supposed to be the romantics, the lovers, the passionate seducers. Great husbands though? A few weeks ago I went to a Latin Festival, where I ran into a Colombian guy who asked me for my number about a month prior to that, before I left for vacation. He recognized me and asked why I didn’t answer his calls. Distracted,  I kept on looking at the little girl on his arm. His sister, maybe? Then, a short Latin woman joined him with another little kid. My daughters, he mumbled before I smiled to the family and politely excused myself. But clearly I haven’t had my share of Latinos yet, as I met another guy at the same festival. He was cute, tall, Chilean and we had a great spark. He eagerly asked for my number, told me he wanted to see me that week and I was convinced he was very interested. Next day, I found him on Facebook. Not just him, but a woman who was kissing him on his profile picture. Wearing WHITE. And he had a separate album for his DAUGHTER. Yep, two lying Latinos in one day. How is that for a Monday?

 7.  Simple Brit Lads

I love generalizing, really, because obviously there are British guys that are definitely full of it, cocky, arrogant pricks. However, what I have noticed is that British boys have one great quality – they are simple and straight to the point. Many women are simply not attracted to the Brits because they lack that passion and fire that more Southern men tend to play on. However, though dry and seemingly less romantic, they are honest. At least the guys that I’ve met. They will not try to use cheesy lines or lame, overused names like ‘bella’ or ‘hermosa’ that are as a rule tried on every single girl. Or even man (bello). They will say it as it is, but in the end, when they tell you they love you, they will mean it more than the men who use a lot of flowery language to get you into bed.

I have had a little fling with one English lad and up until this day, he still writes to me and asks how I am doing. Meanwhile I have not received even one message from the passionate Latin and Italian men who threw a lot of words around. So, don’t underestimate the power of the Brits. They did make the history!

8.  Oh Canada!

Oh, Canadian boys. I will be very mean and say that I have not once met a Canadian boy I really wanted to date. Many are cute, many are smart and even funny, but for me personally, something is missing. While there are exceptions to any rule, most have no depth, no charm, no culture. I cannot begin to describe how many times I have cringed at their responses. “Cool”, “awesome”, “nice, nice”.. How can everything be cool or awesome? Seriously?

Please prove me otherwise. I have lived in Canada all of my adult life and have yet to find someone who isn’t arrogant, doesn’t have ADD (because he cannot make conversation), doesn’t say the most typical things in the world and has some class or charm. You know where to find me.

9.  A Wife for an Eastern European

Eastern European men are spoiled. At least the ones that reside in Eastern Europe. Russia, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine are full, and I mean full of gorgeous, model-like, skinny, perfectly dressed and feminine women. And since there are more women than men, guess what? Men can expect anything and get it. The man looks for a woman who can cook, clean, and manage to stay beautiful.

This I experienced first-hand with my first serious Russian boyfriend, who used to complain I didn’t help him clean his floors. I would see him maybe twice a week and he would ask me why I never helped him clean. “Because this is your house?” I would reply. Had I been in Russia, I probably would have gone into the bathroom to start soaking the sheets in detergent.

I guess this is why so many men prefer Eastern European and Asian women. They turn around and BOOM, their socks are clean.

10.     Are Germans Cheap?

Yes. And yes. I have many, many stories about the generosity of Germans, but one of them is really quick and special! It isn’t about me, but a friend of mine who was going out with a German guy for four years. After they broke up, she received an envelope with a letter inside. “Hmm” she thought “Maybe he wrote me a romantic letter about his feelings or a note to say bye.” Instead what she found was a bill for every single thing he has ever bought for her. She would have to pay it all back. How is that for romantic?

* Just as a side note, these are all generalizations or notes from my own experience. If you believe that Canadians are super charming and classy or the Dutch are the most generous men in the World, feel free to share!

The One Minute Dating Survey!

Are Japanese men really that timid? Is it true that French know how to romanticize a woman or are Scandinavian men really so uptight? Do Persian men spend all their money on you while the Germans are very economical? What do you think of these stereotypes and what has your personal experience been with each culture?

Open up the following survey. It only takes a second to answer each question!

http://miakovleva.polldaddy.com/s/new-survey-1

 


A player or a romantic? – Part 1: Rome (2011)

I fell for this guy because I thought he was bad. A player. Instead, what I found out is that looks can truly be deceiving.

He was beautiful. I noticed him our first night in the restaurant while my American friend Pamela and I were eating dinner. I was travelling through Europe for two months and Italy was our third country. After Rome, we would take an overnight ferry that would bring us to Croatia.

Though the main reason for my trip was of course my love for travelling and adventure, I also wanted to take this time to figure out if I really wanted to stay with Dominick. Yes, the guy I already cheated on at the beginning of our relationship (see Non Parle Americano). It has been eight months since we’ve been together and even though he looked perfect on paper, not to mention, loved by my whole family, I didn’t love him. The first time he told me he loved me, I remember I said something along the lines of ‘wow. How incredible’ and the next time I randomly blurted out me too. Not ‘I love you too’. No, me too. I said it out of nowhere. I just couldn’t bring myself to say the word love to him, because these words were a blatant lie.

At the bottom of my heart, leaving for Europe signified the end of us. I selfishly made him wait for me as I went to explore what I really wanted. And I knew that what I wanted was someone else.

However, all I really met were a lot of players, shallow guys and men that were really not worth it. Should I stay with Dominick by default? Just because I couldn’t find any better?

We arrived at the campsite late at night. Looking around the beautiful grounds I felt uplifted: there was a giant pool, beautiful flowers, palm trees and an open air restaurant with live music. It was an incredibly romantic place, however, it seemed that the only people vacationing there were families. Now, eating dinner, I turned my head to the right only to see the most beautiful profile of a guy. He was tanned, with gorgeous almond shaped chocolate eyes and full sensual lips. He was sitting at the table with two dark guys and a blonde girl, serious and oblivious to my stares.

The most remembered meal from the trip. The beef carpaccio was amazing

The most remembered meal from the trip. The beef carpaccio was amazing

He disappeared after dinner and I figured I wouldn’t see him again. Pamela, who was very outgoing and a little bit intimidating for some guys because she was quite masculine and dominating, somehow managed to meet a cute Colombian called Jose. While Jose and her were hitting it off, I sat near his unibrowed friend Antony and sulked.

“Can we maybe look for something in the city tomorrow?” I asked selfishly. She was in seventh heaven after meeting Jose, but I only cared about myself. I knew I would have to spend my evenings watching their romance, while nothing would happen for me unless I wanted to give it a go with his unibrow friend.

The next day we spent exploring the extremely hot and tiring city of Rome, which is made especially annoying in August as it is swamped by tourists. I swear you cannot even see the Trevi Fountain behind all the Asians with their huge, expensive cameras. As soon as we got back we headed to the pool to wash off the sticky sweat from the city. I was sitting on the lounge chair when I saw him enter. He looked just as beautiful as I remembered: tall, bronze, his face now unshaven. I watched him swim laps in the pool all the while sighing like a fifteen year old.

Our pool

“He’s so my type! What do I do?”

Pame shrugged. “Just wait until the evening, when everyone starts drinking. It will be easier than in the daylight.”

She was right. I had to talk to him. I just didn’t know if I had enough guts to make the first move.

He got out of the water and sat on the chair, smoking with a vacant look in his liquid brown eyes. He didn’t even notice me as I stuck out my butt and strutted in front of him.

I saw him again in the evening. He was standing near the piano, listening to one of the musicians play and singing along in Portuguese. He looked like a Brazilian model: broad-shouldered, gorgeous and tanned in his white shirt and faded jeans. I breathed a sigh of nervousness. Oh my God. He is the man of my dreams. 

Colombian Jose and Unibrow Antony suggested getting some drinks at the Beer Garden where the Brazillian band was playing. I happily agreed. Can we sit on the benches here? Near him?

I stared at his broad back, until I must have shot holes through him with my deadly stare, because he turned around and gave me a glance. The glance, however, was completely neutral. That didn’t mean I was giving up. Any time I want to draw a guy’s attention, I always go to my Plan B: dancing. Practically forcing Jose and Pame on the dance floor, I danced nervously right in front of his eyes. When I got enough courage, I finally looked at his expression. Once again, he looked blank and serious. Seriously, what is up with this guy? I thought. Cursing everything under my breath and feeling completely invisible, I left the dance floor and went to go check the internet. Clearly, he’s seen his share of beautiful women. Why would he go for some girl in a yellow dress?

the Beer Garden

When I came back I noticed that the boy and one of his friends stayed alone and have now moved to a table far across from us. In the middle there was another table with a few people playing cards. I threw awkward gazes at him, until Jose looked  at me.

“You like the guy in the white?” He asked with a wide grin.

“No. Yes.” I mumbled.

“Then you should do something.” He offered.

“I am not doing anything. I don’t know if he’s interested. I mean, he is kind of looking at me. Oh my God.” I breathed, seeing him get up from his table. “Is he coming over?”

The beautiful boy and his friend took their beers and walked towards us. This is it, I thought. However, my heart literally dropped when he moved to the table in between. Namely, right near a blonde girl.

Yep, it wasn’t me he was checking out.

“So are you going to talk to him?” asked Jose.

“Just stop. Please. He’s not interested.” I muttered. He was starting to piss me off and in all honesty I just felt pathetic. I spent half my night staring at a guy who wasn’t interested in me after all. Could I be any more of a loser?

Suddenly, another thought came into my mind. I was on vacation. What did I have to lose? Sure, he looked like a player. Sure, he was beautiful. But how could I be positive about anything unless I talked to him? Otherwise, I would spend the rest of my night staring at Pamela sticking her tongue down Jose’s mouth and thinking What if.

“Give me some wine, please” I ordered Pamela. Taking the plastic cup with my shaking hands, I stood up. “I am going to talk to him.”

Thank you, wine in a paper cup

Thank you, wine in a paper cup

“Wow” grinned Pamela. “I am really proud of you. Do it.”

Nervous as hell, I walked up to their table. “Can I join the game?” I asked to no one in particular. His dark friend looked up.

“Yes, of course” He said in his bad English. I awkwardly seated myself on his right. The beautiful boy was in front of me, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. I did get a glance at the girl. She was not pretty. Not only that, she had a really hippy looking bearded man for a boyfriend. Wow, how deceiving it can be when you judge a situation from a distance. Namely, from someone’s back!

I continued talking to his friend(who turned out to be his cousin)for some time. Then I finally found the guts to turn my head and look at my boy. He smiled at me. I smiled back and talked very fast as I always do when I am nervous.

His name was Luiz and he was from Portugal, though as I assumed correctly, he was part Brazilian. And the strangest thing? Luiz was nice. He looked like a very successful and gorgeous player, but he wasn’t. Or at least he didn’t seem like one. His English wasn’t great, but at this point, what did I care? I was actually talking to him. And he wasn’t someone I thought he was. In a good way.

And he was twenty-three. I was officially becoming a cradle robber.

Behind him, Jose and Pamela held thumbs up. That is before, they stuck their tongues down each other’s mouths for about an hour and disappeared.

I spent some time talking to Luiz, until I figured I should try to get him away from the crowd. Subtly!

“ I should go back to bed.” I said. Luiz, not getting the hint, grew visibly disappointed.

“Would you like to walk me back?” I offered not so subtly.

He nodded happily. We started walking to the cabin, when he asked me if I wanted to take a walk around the park.

tumblr_m5y9k7oDPX1r3a6jho1_500The walking turned into sitting and sitting turned into lying as he spread out his sleeping bag on the ground. It was a freezing night, so he gave me his sweatshirt and kept on covering me up every second to make sure I was warm. We kissed and talked. Kissed and talked again. This went on for hours. He would sweep the hair from my eyes and run his hands over my face.

“I really like kissing you.” He told me. Was he just saying that to get me into bed? Looking at him and his sexy eyes, it was hard to imagine him as anything other than a player, but the gentle way he was with me proved otherwise. Granted, he did press me down and try to take it further. Even though I wanted him, I stopped it at kissing. Luiz seemed both innocent and impish at the same time. I didn’t know which side was true. But he was definitely one – a romantic.

He walked me back to the cabin, a sleeping bag on his shoulders and I kissed him goodnight, standing on my tiptoes.

“Goodnight Mia” he smiled softly. I ran into the cabin like a little girl.  I fell asleep exhilarated  No thought about Dominick even crossed my mind.

The next day was our final one in Rome and coincidentally, his final one  as well. Distracted, in the ruins of the Coliseum, all I could think about was seeing Luiz again. After all, this was it.

When we came back, I was extremely nervous.

“Don’t build yourself up” told me Pamela as we sat in the restaurant, waiting for our order. She has recounted her amazing sex with Jose, how it went on for the longest time and what a big dingaling he had. However, what threw her was that he never even asked her for her contact information. She didn’t understand it.

“I mean, he could meet another girl or maybe you won’t like him. Who knows?” she shrugged. “Just relax and see what happens.”

Thanks, I wanted to say, that is a really uplifting speech. However, I felt like I knew Luiz. He wouldn’t do this to me. He was a genuinely sweet guy.

When he entered the restaurant, my heart began palpitating again. He was just so incredibly gorgeous. I was unsure if he saw me, because he looked so serious. He didn’t smile or wave at me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as I ate the pasta. He was wearing a hoodie and jeans, his beautiful dark eyes concentrated on something.

Later on, when I was almost close to freaking out, we finally saw each other in the lobby. He smiled to me and kissed me on the cheek.

“Do you girls want to join us for drink?” He asked.

We sat with his cousins as Pamela told one story after another. To me, it felt like I was in English for Beginner’s Class. Pamela, who is a teacher like me, knew how to tell a story not only well but clearly. The Portuguese found everything hilarious and laughed in unison.

Pamela fell in love with Luiz. “If you don’t sleep with him, I swear I will” she told me in the bathroom. “He’s just adorable.”

“Ok, Pame.. Just so you don’t get him first!” I laughed.

Luiz held my hand under the table as everyone talked in their broken English and shared stories about America and Portugal. I felt like I was in high school. Soon, everyone left and so did Pame. She looked upset because Jose was gone and she would have to spend the night by herself. It didn’t help that I was with Luiz now.

Our first sex wasn’t incredible. To tell the truth, it wasn’t even good. He was nervous. We were both awkward. It was in an empty room in the cabin, but instead of regular beds, there were bunk beds.. so at one point I hit my head on the bottom of the other bed. And he came too early. As he lay near me I could feel his dissapointment.

“You hated that, yes?” he finally said, his voice like a little boy’s.

“I didn’t hate that!” I said, half lying. I didn’t hate it, because it was with him. I liked him. The sex? I wasn’t so certain.

“You are lying” he concluded and crossed his arms like a stubborn child. I found this ridiculously endearing and kissed him.

“You know” He added.  “I would like to take you out. We could listen to some piano or go to a restaurant. I wish we don’t go tomorrow.”

“I wish we didn’t go tomorrow as well” I sighed.

“I really like you, you know?” He turned to me. “I am not saying it because I had sex. It’s more for me. I do not want us to forget each, Mia”

“We won’t forget each other. I like you too” I said.

“Good. Because I really like spending, time with you. I never pay attention to girls, unless they have something special. When you started to talk I didn’t.. could not stop listening to you.”

“You mean when I babbled on and on?”

“When you what?” he turned to me, his big eyes confused.

“Nevermind. When I talked a lot, I mean”

“Yes, you talked a lot. But I liked” he smiled. “Can I ask you one question?”

I nodded.

“Can I spend night with you? It’s cold in tent and I like having you near.”

Not us, but how it felt

Not us, but how it felt

“Of course!” I exclaimed. The bed was narrow and I was stuck to the wall. We would have to sleep in an embrace the whole night, but I wanted to sleep close to him. He felt so dear to me in such a quick time. A boy who was beautiful and who looked like a player, but who had such a great and pure heart. I didn’t want to leave him. I breathed in his scent and felt his warm breath against me as I dozed off.

I dreamed of him that night. I would wake up and look at his perfect face and feel both happy and sad. Happy because he was just so damn beautiful and I had him near me. Sad because, well, I wouldn’t have him near me for much longer. He lay there, dark against the white of the pillow. I wanted to take a picture of him. Not to be creepy, or anything. I felt pretty proud of myself as well, I must say. Inwardly, I gave myself a round of applause.

The next morning was difficult and awkward. We kissed each other goodbye and he left. He came in again when I was talking to Pamela. I felt his scent even before seeing him.

“I wanted to say bye to both of you again” he awkwardly shuffled in the doorway.

I was awkward also, mostly because I looked ghastly without any makeup, my hair all disheveled and I didn’t want him to remember me like that. I kissed him goodbye and that was that.

Pame and I took a ferry to Croatia, where we stayed on the coast. It was an incredible place only made miserable by the fact that I missed him so much. I added him to Facebook, but he never wrote me an email. Instead I would skim through Dominick’s letters, annoyed that it was him and not Luiz who emailed me. There was an island we went to, called Hvar, full of beautiful tanned people. I kissed a Spanish guy, rather got licked by him, to better describe it. Apart from that, I once again missed my Luiz. He wasn’t just beautiful, he had a good heart. Most of these guys were arrogant, shallow assholes. And they weren’t anywhere as gorgeous as him.

Hvar Island

Finally, Luiz began writing to me and we established contact. I laughed and made annoying ‘aww’  noises as I read his hilarious emails. He was just so adorable! I was probably the most irritating person to be around made only tolerable by the fact that Pamela really liked Luiz.

When I was in Budapest, I was on the computer one day and started to talk to him. Our conversation centered on how much we wanted to see each other until I suggested he visit me at my last stop – Berlin. He invited me to Portugal first, however, as much as I wanted to I coudn’t risk being exposed and hurting Dominick.

Please, please come to Berlin! I really want to see you! I begged, thinking he was going to say no. He had to start work after all.

He got back to me that night. Yes, he would come.

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!