Etrange Garçon (Strange Boy) (2013)

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A story of a guy I was really attracted to who I both understood perfectly and was baffled by at the same time.

His bright green eyes gazed at me from across the room. He was just my type. Tanned and dark haired, with an athletic, well built body and attractive face.  We locked our gazes over and over again as I waited for my food.

I was in Bocas del Toro, Panama. I came to Panama for a teaching job and was traveling for two weeks, before I had to start work in Panama City. That day was my last day of ‘real’ vacation. And that’s (conveniently) the day I saw him.

We received our food simultaneously. We ordered the same thing – hamburgers and fries. They called our order at the same time. When we both asked for mayo, I realized it was now or never.

Where we met

Where we met

“You are Spanish?” I asked in Spanish. He looked it.

“I am French” He responded still in Spanish.

We sat down at the same bench and began talking. Giles was from a small French city close to the Spanish border and that is possibly why he looked so damn Spanish, but also had his mesmerizing green eyes. I just had a huge zit under my nose. Don’t you just love how on time zits are? I was trying to hide it underneath my glasses the whole day, but now without them I felt like it was dominating my whole face. Thankfully, that didn’t faze him.

As I talked to him over our burgers, I realized he was exactly what I was looking for: attractive, smart, witty, easy to talk to and very genuine. Why, oh why did I only meet him today? Little did I know we actually spent an entire week in the same surfing village prior to this and never met. What an irony indeed.

After eating we headed to the beach where we lay around and talked about everything in the world. He told me about his anxiety over flying and I, who also sort of battles with the same fear, understood him perfectly.

I loved that he could talk to me as if he had known me for years. I felt an ease and a depth with him that I don’t usually feel. There was no pretending, no awkwardness, no guessing.. It seemed natural and effortless: this chat on the beach. We swam around and jumped from the dock holding hands. Then took a boat to the main island and made plans to meet that evening in the park.

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He came bringing candy and talked so quickly I could tell he was nervous which made me feel a little more confident.  We walked to a bar on the dock and sat in a boat. Up until now, I think that was one of the most romantic nights of my whole experience in Panama. At least that part of it. We drank rum’n’cokes on the boat next to the bar, listened to Latin music and finally he leaned in to kiss me.

The rest of the night we danced in the outdoor bar, kissing over and over.. I felt alive. And the strangest thing? He told me the same.

“I feel alive when I am with you” He told me and I believed him partly. It was a little too much, since we only met each other a few hours ago, but he was from France and they love to throw romantic words around.

It was perfect. Up until we went to the beach.

I have this rule of telling guys that I will not have sex. And of course that is the goal. However, my weakness lately has been that I couldn’t resist the foreplay and that had some not-so good results. The point is to decide what you want right away. I am way too curious and unable to think with my head sometimes. This was one of those incidents.

I told Giles I wouldn’t have sex with him, but it was actually my idea to go to the beach. I just needed to spend some more time with him. And to touch him more. As things got heated up, he started expecting I return the favor. Except, note: he never gave me oral. So I am not sure what favor he was really expecting.

Either way, I hate the tit-for-tat childishness, so I gave him a firm NO. Now, instead of acting like a 29 year old he was, he got MAD. He got up and began removing sand from our towel but literally whacking it against the tree. I just sat there with my mouth dropped open. I couldn’t believe someone over the age of puberty could be so mad about a lack of a blow job.

We walked in silence, which was broken by me.

“Are we seriously not talking because I didn’t give you a blow job?”

“What do you think?” He replied bitterly and I swear I saw a kind of mental glimmer and even his eyes got darker. But maybe that was just my imagination.

“This is crazy.” I said. “I am not some sixteen year old girl to be forced to give you oral.”

“What? What does sixteen have to do with this?” He almost yelled and walked away, leaving me alone under the rain.

I stood there, unable to process what has just happened. And please believe me when I say that even though what was happening was crazy I actually wanted him more. This fiery exchange ignited some weird twisted feeling in me.

He was waiting for me near his hostel. As I approached he took my head into his hands gently and told me he meant when he said he liked me. He kissed me then. I wanted him even more. How messed up is that?

I agreed to spend the night in his uncomfortable bed just to be close to him for one more night. Then, at dawn, I kissed him and left.

In two weeks, Giles was coming to Panama City for three nights before flying back to France. I knew what I saw were red flags, but I still yearned for him and the fact that I felt lonely didn’t help matters.

Panama City

Panama City

We didn’t meet the first night due to miscommunication, and I should have been very wary when he offered to meet on the last night only. At the end though, he managed to make a plan to meet me in the park near my house. I knew I shouldn’t have gone, but what do you do when you want to see someone so damn much?

As I saw him sitting there in the park near the giant Einstein head, all my negative emotions went away. He was wearing a gray t-shirt that made his tan stand out more and lit up his green eyes. I came in a flowery dress he couldn’t stop fawning over. Our eyes locked again and we couldn’t stop staring at each other as if we were dumbstruck teenagers.

We met near the Einstein head on my street

We met near the Einstein head on my street

As we had drinks and tapas at a nearby Spanish restaurant, he caressed my cheek.

“I remember why I like you so much” He said in that deep voice of his. “I am really glad I came to see you. And now we get to spend the night together. This couldn’t be better.”

I didn’t bother to tell him that he was being presumptuous in the whole ‘spending the night’ idea. Even though he technically wasn’t since I was dying to have sex with him.

We listened to a band play as he caressed my hair. It has been so long since I have had a boyfriend that I allowed myself to fantasize that he was actually with me. My own slightly weird but gorgeous and charismatic man. The man that then pressed me to the wall and kissed me passionately. I wanted him so much. No matter the consequences.

We took a taxi to his hotel and as he took a shower, I lay on the bed pretending to watch TV in a sexy pose, which I adjusted a few times.  He walked out dripping water,a  towel on his hips and lowered himself on top of me. Afterwards, as he entered me a crazy thought also entered my mind.

We are now one.

I have never had this thought as loud in my head, even though I have liked other guys so this surprised me.

The other thing that surprised me even more was that when I tried to actually give him the blowjob he desired so much on the beach, he felt all uncomfortable about it. Actually, he said his body was getting all tingly and he couldn’t handle me even kissing his stomach. What was this, Fifty Shades of Grey? (You can only get this joke if you read the book)

And the final thing that surprised me was that after all the post-sex kissing we slept separately. He never hugged me to him, and even said something along the lines of:

“It looks like this bed has three people in it. There could be another person on your side the way you are so close to me.”

Didn't see the third person

Didn’t see the third person

At that moment I told myself I had imagined it. But now I know it was real.

All night long I kept on dreaming about hugging him close to me. I yearned for it with all my body, but even as I complained about the cold air conditioning, he got up and turned it off but never cuddled me close to him. I have even had a one-night stand cuddle with me in bed, and a guy who seemed so genuine now felt colder than the air conditioning itself.

The next day was his last one. He watched me get ready for work with an adoring smile on his face, then kissed me goodbye, telling me we would meet at 5pm.

I left work early so I could move to my new apartment, get ready and meet with him. But he never wrote me. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t think of anything else. I was on pins and needles  the whole day. I was actually concerned he got killed and ended up calling his hotel twice. Later telling him it was once.

I sat here, unable to eat anything

I sat here, unable to eat anything

He wrote to me in the evening to tell me he was at the Canal, that his day was “amazing!”, that he was with a friend and that he would meet me at eleven a.m.

I was very hurt he wanted to wait until night to meet with a girl he was spending the last day with (make that last night), and the reasoning was that he made some friends he wanted to spend time with. However, I didn’t want to become the nagging wife and sadly,  I wanted to see him too much.

But he never wrote to me  by eleven and as I sat there, staring at the city out my window and crying like there was no tomorrow, I decided “screw this” and removed my makeup. The whole day I felt like there was a knife stuck in my throat. It hurt that much.cryingwoman2

As soon as I was getting into bed, I got a new message.

“I’m so sorry!” It said “Meet me at 12:30 in the park”

And what did I do against my better judgement? I put the damn makeup back onto my puffed up face and ran out the door.

He got outside of the taxi and ran to me, lifting me up in the air. Some guys clapped for us. We got some drinks and talked, but I saw his eyes were different. He no longer looked at me with the affection that lit up his face, and he actually looked troubled. I thought it might have had to do with the anxiety over the upcoming flight. But the point is, the connection we had was gone. He seemed a different person.

We went to dance, but he no longer actually wanted to dance. He didn’t even want to try salsa – too scared he would fail. I realized that he had quite a lot of hangups and there might have been some mental issues he was dealing with.

The sex was also different. It seemed as if he was going through the motions, no longer connected to me. If he ever really was.

As we fell asleep separately I was prepared to say bye to the boy I never really knew. But then came another surprise.

As I woke up early in the morning, the place beside me was empty and the door was left ajar. Assuming he went out for a drink or to the bathroom, I waited for him to come back. He never did. His flight was at 3pm.

There was no note and no explanation.8_fin40

PS. Since he is still on my Facebook, I asked him why he left like that. He said I looked so beautiful he didn’t want to wake me up. Of course, that is a load of bull. He still writes little things to me, but he has yet to write an email explaining his behavior. This is the reason I have not acknowledged them. Not that he deserves it either.

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French Men: Generous Lovers or Plain Cheap?

If you browse the internet, I’m sure you will find many articles describing the beauty of being courted by a French man. First he will dine you at a five star restaurant, where the conversation will flow like sparkling champagne. He will look deeply into your eyes and insist on selecting the best wine on the list. After the bill is paid, by him of course, he will suddenly surprise you with a silk shawl that he bought for you because it matches your beautiful eyes. You will stroll through the misty boulevard and he will cover you with his jacket, in case you are cold. At the end of this perfect night, he will kiss you goodnight and insist on seeing you again. You will walk away feeling like you will never date another American, Australian or Englishman again.. because wow, Frenchmen really know how to romance a woman. And spend money on her.

If that’s how you picture dating a French man, you have watched way too many movies or maybe, just maybe you’ve been so lucky to meet a few quality men.

I, on the other hand, have not.

Read a few anecdotes from my personal experience and maybe you too will be careful not to get lost in the illusion of beautiful romance that the French are so well known for.ballet-couple-paris-Favim.com-271532_original

Jean-Pierre

I really liked Jean-Pierre. He was cute, fun and an incredible kisser. We only saw each other at a New Year’s Party where we made out for some time, and he treated me to a few rum’n’cokes. Now we met in a bar for our first official date and after much thought I ordered a beer. I know it’s quite unladylike like to go for a beer, but it’s not like he asked me to get what I wanted nor did he look at the wine list. After an hour of talking, my beer slowly came to an end. So did his. “Did you want anything else?” asked an upbeat,slightly fake bar girl. I didn’t want to end the date yet, but he didn’t insist on me getting another one. “You could try the sample first” She suggested. I thought about it, waiting for him to urge me on. Instead he said “Maybe we could do some samples instead of ordering?” I laughed it off because I couldn’t admit he might actually be for real and ordered a beer. It was six bloody dollars after all. His face dropped. I swear I have never seen a shadow cross someone’s face like that. After that, the mood was gone. He seemed so distant, I really almost regretted getting another drink. When the bill came, he put down about 75 percent

Do French men like beer?

Do French men like beer?

of the bill, waiting for me to drop another five dollars. It was like a slap in the face.

He never asked me out again, but wrote me a message inviting me to his house for lunch. I am assuming that that would be a sandwich with kool-aid on his cheap bed, followed by some non-committal sex with no protection. After all, that costs money too!

Julien

We went out for a drink one spring day. He was a stereotypical French guy with curly brown hair, intense gaze, serious chain smoking and thought-provoking topics. This is where the stereotype stopped. He offered to get a jug of beer, instead of savoring a bottle of wine like a classy man would do, but I agreed. After our thought-provoking discussion and his chain-smoking, the bill came. He put down half. I put down half. That was the end of our romantic get together. Fin.

Silvain

I met Silvain this year when I was on vacation. You would think I would have my fill of French men by this point as this whole damn year was filled with one after another, but no, I just had to go after another one. I noticed him in a club in Santorini and then somehow we ended up on another Greek Island together. He  was an engineer and a professional runner from Paris, cute in a skinny but toned and tall kind of way, all of the above made me die with glee and we proceeded to meet later in the evening.  We made out the whole night until the roosters started singing and then walked me to the taxi stand. “I will not let you go by yourself” he insisted as he held my arm and kissed me romantically in the middle of the now puke-and-passed-out teenager-filled street. The next day he invited me to meet again. I dressed up excitedly, thinking it was for dinner, but ended up joining him and his friend in a bar feeling very uncomfortable as they sat engrossed in the Euro finals on TV, realizing I was there every so often to mutter an apology. When I ordered a drink, he merely glanced my way and never offered to pay. And yet, stupidly I stayed, though I should have walked away.

Florent

Though I mentioned him a few times, I thought he would be a great last example! When Florent came to visit me he  brought me a book Le Petit Prince, so I could learn French. couerSweet, no?  Unfortunately, the book was used and had a message written to him from his friend.The next day we went out to eat in a cheap restaurant, and when the bill came which was maybe 30 dollars, he only put down half. And this was for a girl who hosted him in her apartment, cooked and put effort in making sure he had a good time. For me, it felt like a bit of a slap in the face. We managed a somewhat long distance relationship, but even though he stubbornly repeated over and over how he wanted to see me, at the mention of “I am really broke.. and don’t have sixty bucks to spare” told me I didn’t want to see him enough instead of offering me some money. When I did manage to scrape enough cash, I got greeted by a vegetable salad instead of a nice dinner out. Or any dinner out for that matter. Our dates seemed to center around the living room/bedroom area and no mention of restaurant was brought up again.

So ladies, before you start dreaming of a romantic gentleman with a French accent who will show you what romance is all about, tell him about how much you would love to get that amazing French perfume. And let’s see what he says.