The Belgian – A Little Too Late (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I got in bed, he said :

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

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

I suspected something similar but this was huge.

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

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

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

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