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!

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

 


Does Age Matter? – Part 1: Mexico (2010)

My swift vacation romance with a younger guy that turned into a long distance relationship. I guess the sun can really melt your brain!

I slammed the phone shut and angrily stared in front of me as I walked. The friends I was supposed to meet did not show up and now they were not answering the call that must have cost me a fortune.

I have now been in Playa del Carmen for  two months and the animator position at a resort that seemed so wonderful in my dreams was in reality truly exhausting. In

the opinion of drunk American tourists, most of whom came to Mexico to escape winter,

me, in a hideous purple wig

me, in a hideous purple wig

playing volleyball with the guests must have been the best job ever. Sometimes it was. Most of the time though, smiling and constantly interacting with people, eating with them, performing in front of them and always being on drained me to no extent. Apart from the day off, we had zero time to ourselves. At first the two hour break we received in the middle of the day seemed perfect for tanning on the beach. Lately, I would use this time to curl up on the stage behind the curtain feeling true bliss. Then the cell phone would buzz that hateful sound and I was back to entertaining, which never seemed to end.

santiago-lrgThankfully, I made two wonderful friends: Paula and Patricia, whom I called Pau and Pate, both hilarious and straight to the point. This was also doubled by the fact that they spoke less than adequate English and I spoke average Spanish: so we conversed in Spanglish. And let me tell you, when you are limited in a language, you can’t help but be straight to the point.

Pau was a skinny rich girl who left her home in Mexico City to try something new, while Pate was a busty, sarcastic girl from a small town, Celaya that she has always wanted to escape, because ‘is so boring!‘. Both lived across from me in a shared apartment. We would usually yell to each other through the window, which was ultimately heard by the entire animation team who also shared the complex with us. Tonight, they promised they would meet me at Mandala, a big electronic club, but didn’t show. Had I gone home as usual, I would have seen their note in the bathroom which told me about their change of plans, but for the first time, I had gone straight into the city.

Now feeling lost and angry I stared into space, until a tall and blond silhouette appeared in my vision.

Hola, como estas?” He said.

I blinked. He was a tall, curly blond guy with light blue eyes, full lips and light skin. He was of an athletic build and looked slightly French. How was it possible that he spoke any Spanish? He did not at all resemble anyone who might be from South America.

This guy bears UNCANNY resemblance to Javier

To my grand surprise, it turned out he was. Javier was from Chile and was in Mexico for a weekly vacation with his family and his half brother Cristian, who was sitting in the bar. His brother definitely looked a lot more Latin with his contrasting dark eyes and skin. They were leaving in two more days. This fact didn’t faze me.  Especially here in Playa, where hardly anyone stayed for more than a week.

Playa by Night

Javier invited me for a drink, which turned out to be a bottle of rum that his brother and he took from their hotel. Seeing as how my friends weren’t showing and I was slightly attracted to him, I agreed. He was relaxed, had an easy demeanor and did not try to impress me in the least. He seemed very genuine and I felt comfortable with him. And OK, he was very attractive, though for some reason, this only kicked in later.

After drinking a bit of rum, we went to an underground bar to dance salsa. Turned out, I was much better at salsa than he was and by the looks of others, they thought it too. They must have thought I was a Mexican, trying to teach an American how to dance. He was so white and I looked so dark, it really confused even me.

After we danced, Javier and I sat on the chairs talking.

“How old are you?” He asked in his soft Spanish accent.

“Twenty-five” I said. “I just turned twenty-five” I corrected. “And you?”

“I am almost twenty”

I think I must have either squealed with laughter or put my head in my hands in shame. He was a child! And as it would later turn out, almost twenty meant nineteen and a half. I was a cradle robber. Not that I have done anything yet, but I was definitely thinking of it.

Craddle robber indeed

Cradle robber indeed

However, as many of you know, your vacation mind is not exactly the same as your everyday one. You do not assess the person with as strict of a check mark list as you do in real life. In Canada I had to make sure the guy had a career, goals and was my age or older. Maybe one or two years younger. But six? My vacation mind told me that I was just having fun and none of it would last, so why worry?

He walked me to the end of the street, as we waited for my taxi and leaned it to kiss me. There were no crazy fireworks. Just a nice and soft kiss which I knew was coming.  We agreed to see each other the following night.

The next night was just as fun as we danced on the beach, kissed and laughed. I wouldn’t say I was falling for him, but I definitely enjoyed spending time with him.

The last night of his stay, I invited my friends to come out with us. Having heard endless stories of Javier to the point where they couldn’t take it anymore, they were interested in finding out who I was so interested in. Exhausted from work, I almost didn’t wake up as they screamed through my window. All I wanted to do was sleep. Unwillingly, I got myself up. I have worked for thirteen hours, and it was eleven, but he was leaving the next day. I had to see him.

“He’s gorgeous” said Pau and Pame in unison. Before this statement, I mostly saw Javier as a cute guy who I had a fun time with. Now I looked him over. He really did look like some sort of an Abercrombie model with his toned and muscular body and a sexy pout that would get all the fifteen year old girls excited.

After dancing in the beach club, the Blue Parrot, the girls said they were exhausted and needed to sleep. I was beyond exhausted as well, but I didn’t want to go. Javier took my hand and pressed it against his chest.

“Please don’t go” he said.

“Okay” I agreed. “I’ll stay”

We went walking on the beach. Heavy rain started and we decided to go swimming in our

This is romantic only in the movies

This is romantic only in the movies

underwear. I, as usual, didn’t plan my choice of underwear so it was mismatched: a black bra with flowery panties. Without his shirt, Javier really did have a six pack.

I walked in the water and he followed me. We attempted kissing each other,  which was made difficult by the splashing waves of salty water on our faces. I gotta say, it definitely looks a lot more romantic in the movies.

The rain got heavier and we climbed up onto the covered lifeguard chair. Our kissing turned into more kissing and suddenly he was removing my bra and we were having sex. Let me be honest here: yes, it looked ideal, just the way I’ve always imagined it, but here was the thing – I didn’t really enjoy it. We were slippery, it was a bit awkward and it felt too rushed. Not only that, we never finished as there,in the midst of all this rain, appeared a couple who decided that kissing each other right near the lifeguard chair would be a superb idea. Javier and I sat naked, laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. I mean, could they really not find any more space on this gigantic stretch?

I put on my wet blue dress and took my sand filled shoes into my hand. The taxi dropped me off and we kissed each other goodbye. I didn’t invite him in, firstly because I had roommates and then, just because there was no point in prolonging this. He was leaving the next day.

My next day went along as usual. During the Playacar bike tour, which consisted of me in

Something like that

Something like that

an ugly helmet making up a whole bunch of history about the ruins, in order to entertain the tourists who were too lazy to leave the hotel zone, I thought of him. I felt a bit empty that he left. The time with him, though short, was genuine and fun and now I felt alone.

The day after, I came in to our morning meeting with the animators only to see the headline of the paper Terremoto en Chile. Had there been an earthquake? I asked one of the guys. Apparently there have been. They even closed down the airports, or something, someone else said.. though it could be a rumor.chile-quake-headline_645x400-2

I was playing darts, or rather watching people miss the bull’s eye and feeling insanely bored as well as nursing a sick throat, when a short stocky Mexican security guard came up to me.

Eres Mia?” he asked.

I nodded my head. He told me that were two guys looking for me.

Was one blond? I asked, my eyes widening in disbelief and hope. Could it be him? He was blond, answered the Mexican man with a shrug.

Hands shaking, body shaking, everything shaking I ran to the animator office.

“Mia, can you go collect people for the water aerobics?” Vicente, my boss asked.

“I’ll look on the beach” I said.

He looked me over as if I looked absolutely insane.

“Everything ok?” He asked.

“Of course!” I squeaked looking as if I just snorted Coke.

He gave me a doubtful once-over and turned away.

I ran or rather skipped to the beach thinking: is it him? What if it’s not? I don’t want to get myself pumped up for what might be a mistake, because if it’s not him I will be so upset I will die!

Awkwardly standing in the water, shuffling his feet, Javier’s eyes lit up when he saw me approach. I put my hands to my mouth. The older man sitting on the lounge chair smiled at us as if to say ahh, young love! and got more comfortable in his chair to watch this movie meeting.

I ran into him and hugged him around his neck.

“You’re back!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, I wrote you an email, but you didn’t respond. The airports are closed. We’re staying for two more days. It took me so long to get to your hotel, and I didn’t know if you wanted to see me. But I really wanted to see you.”

“Why didn’t you know if I wanted to see you?” I asked.

“Cristian. He told me it was just sex. That I should let it go and not act so romantic” he smiled.

“Your brother knows nothing” I laughed. “Come to my place tonight. I will meet you outside of the apartment”

I kissed him and turned around to walk to the hotel. The old man and a couple of others seemed happy they got to watch a free show.

“Ju so lucky, Mia!” exclaimed Pate in her deep, raspy, accented voice, when I told her the story. “I wish someone would do zes to me! Is so nice to have a boy come back for you!”

“Well he didn’t come back just for me! He kind of had to come back, because of a huge tragedy..” I added.

“Does not matter. Que romantico!” she clapped her hands together in excitement.

That night, I ran home just to see him. I was so elevated by the thought that he was still there, near my apartment, that he didn’t leave and that we could continue whatever this was for a few days more.

I got out of the taxi in my red polo shirt and black skirt, which were the evening uniform of the animators.

“You’re late, Mia” He grumbled. “ I waited here for an hour. There are some wild dogs in your neighborhood, you know?”

I lived in a ghetto neighborhood, where the houses had broken windows, the dogs roamed feraldogs_0the streets (I almost got attacked by a pack of wild dogs once) and the only taco joint in the neighbourhood had the menu scribbled on the wall. Our white building also looked like it had been bombed during the war.

“Sorry!” I exclaimed. “I practically ran here!”

I brought him upstairs to my apartment, which I shared with two Mexican girls: Ana and Karla and a loud French-Canadian girl Cara. Unfortunately all were there, as well as Karla’s brother and boyfriend. I quickly introduced Javier to all of them and whispered under my breath.

“Ok, we need another place to stay”

Thankfully, Pate and Pau were going to sleep anyways, so they let us stay in their living room. Javier and I talked for hours and now I saw a new side to him. He was a lot more manly and non-nonchalant than I gave him credit for and I was very attracted to this new sarcastic and masculine side that I saw. It was a few hours before we actually got to having sex. He quite dominating this time as he held my by the throat and whispered “shh” when I made noises. And I was a lot more attracted to him.

I fell asleep sometime in the early morning, after I kissed him goodnight through the gate.

The next day was brutal. I had to somehow function on about three hours of sleep, I was

I am one of the pink 'things'

I am one of the pink ‘things’

still sick, and we had a dreaded Disney show that we had to perform in every Monday. One of the reasons we dreaded the show so much was because should (God forbid) one of us forget a costume or mess up, we were denied our night off. And the bosses really seemed to enjoy taking our so-called privileges away from us. In fact, one of the very first shows I was in, I misplaced my knife costume. Yes, I was a black thing with a huge silver knife on my head for Beauty and the Beast. What did my boss do? He told me I would have no night off. I didn’t like that? There was the door.

Sick and tired, I had to go through the day and try to stay alive for the night when I could spend my last moment with Javier. The night finally came. We went dancing on the sand and by the end, I sat on his knees staring into his eyes.

Blue Parrot

“You’re so beautiful” he told me. Javier wasn’t your typical Latin man. He didn’t just throw words around. So when he said something, he must have meant it.

“I want to see you” he said, his sky blue eyes widening.

“When?”
“After Mexico. I don’t want to lose you.”

“Me neither!” I exclaimed. I felt that we had something special and that even though we had such an enormous age gap, maybe our connection could erase that. Now, writing this, I realize just how ridiculous this must have seemed from the outside: a younger guy from South America, who has not even finished university and who in reality, was not so mature, to move to Canada? To do what?

At that moment, however, our feelings and the ideal Mexican background added to this perfect illusion of our international romance. After all, what is not perfect about the smell of the ocean, the tropical air on your skin, the slow Spanish music, tanned and relaxed (at least on his part) people, and the sad yet beautiful finality of our romance?

We must have watched too many movies.1452175945_1367036341

Maybe I created some of this illusion because I wanted it, but at this moment I truly wanted to be with Javier. I wanted to see him again. And on the plus side, no one has ever gone such a distance to be with me. Stefan included. (Read the German)

I brought him back to my apartment. Actually, he carried me back because my feet were full of blisters. I opened up a bed in the living room, so that my roommates wouldn’t see me.. until the morning, when they had to pass by us on the way to work. We talked and talked, for hours again, and he only made a move on me by the early morning where I was too tired to keep my eyes open. My roommates must have seen him because Cara later told me that there was a beautiful boy in my bed. What, how did he get there!? I laughed.

I had a day off. We went to the beach,swam in the salty water one last time, and then he kissed me goodbye. I sat on the sand and cried. I cried and cried on my way to the telephone booth where I called my mom and mumbled the story to her through my tears.

“So how old is he?” she asked, her voice full of concern. I tell my mom everything and after Mistake #1 she didn’t expect Mistake #2 to come so quickly.

“He’s nineteen.. but he’s really mature!”

I heard laughing on the other side of the phone from both my mom and my brother who was listening on the other line.

“He’s how old?” she asked again. “Don’t tell me you’re serious.. and what are you going to do with this child?”

“I don’t know.. We will work something out.” I yelled angrily, wiping the tears with my free hand. We would, I thought. We would make it work somehow. People had long distance relationships and they found a way to stay together. And he is younger… so what? Did age really matter in the grand scheme of things?

The answer is: yes. And yes.

Mistake # 2: The Mexican Tarzan (2010)

Yet another mistake of mine, as I somehow ended up with a dominant prick I hated yet felt strangely attracted to. I guess if we didn’t like dominance, Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn’t sell so many copies. Please don’t tell me it’s well written!

If you have read some of my other stories, you may remember the mention of my Mexican boss, Vicente.

He was my direct boss whose job was to make sure the animators did not slack off and were on practically every minute. He was an animator himself and has been doing it for a few years back, taking breaks every so often to play basketball.

I hated his guts.

Dark and not very attractive, besides his perfect six-pack, he was crude, machisto and thought he was God’s gift to women. Maybe because he was so confident in himself, or possibly because of that Tarzan-like masculinity, girls were drawn to him like moths to a flame. And not just any girls. Beautiful girls. I watched wide-eyed as he would roar up to the building on his scooter, with yet another girl on the back seat. What did they all see in him?

One night, shortly after I have arrived, I was on my way to the supermarket and saw three

Mhmm, tacos

Mhmm, tacos

of the animators sitting in a taco joint close to our house. Vicente was one of them. We talked a little bit and afterwards he gave me a once over:

“You are welcome to come to my place anytime you want, Mia” he winked.

Repelled by his cockiness I shook my head side to side with a smile. It’s not going to happen, buddy, I thought. Nice try.

He was a boss most of us were intimidated of, as he always looked rough and angry, even if he was making a joke. Most of the guys on the team, Jay included (read the Cuban), looked up to him as if he was their mentor. He did get the girls, after all. With his low and raspy voice, Vicente’s anger scared even me. However, just as soon as he would yell at me, there would come out this other side of him. He would suddenly look at me with that fire in his eyes and I didn’t know how to react.

Once, during a Disney rehearsal, he came up to me as I was waiting behind the curtain and pressed me to the wall. His breath was hot on my neck and I held my breath, not sure if I wanted him to make a move or not. Maybe that was it, I thought. Girls liked the power of the wild animal in him. They liked being so explicitly wanted. And they were curious as to what this Tarzan man would be like in bed.

Hmm...

Hmm…

To my relief, he soon left the team and was replaced by Marcel, a former model who also thought he was God’s gift to women, but who was a lot easier to work with.

I didn’t see Vicente for some time, even though he lived in the same building as me. However, after I quit my job, he volunteered in helping me find another one.

I came by his apartment, uncomfortable to say the least, because I almost didn’t know how to act with him. He was so different. Gentle and funny, he talked to me as we had never talked before. We decided to go to a club so he could talk to the manager for me. They could use me as a dancer, he said.

That night I was exhausted. Now that I quit my job, all I could do was sleep. I had no energy for anything other than talking to Javier (read The Chilean) on the computer and even the beach bored me to no extent. What was there to do but lounge around or pretend to swim in the water, just because it was there? It struck me as odd how obsessed people were with vacations and beach, when it was there and there was no more fun in it.

I forced myself to wake up and get dressed. I needed a job, especially now when I would have to move out of my apartment in a week and I would have nowhere to stay. I wasn’t allowed to stay with my Mexican friends, since they like me, resigned the same day. It was our pact: to make our boss’ life hell as he would struggle to find replacements. After all, not only did I tell him all I thought of him and our working conditions, but I left that very same day. This was our top boss, Pedro. What a prick.

Vicente invited his sister and friend along, which relieved me. Now I wouldn’t have to be

Playa bar

Playa bar

alone with him. The manager was busy, he said when we got to the club, so let’s dance. He took my hand and led me to another corner in the room and I followed him. Suddenly we were dancing close to each other and I could see the fire coming into his dark eyes again. And then I felt him go hard. I should have turned around and left right then and there, but I didn’t. In some strange way I was flattered by the attention he was showing me.

He pushed me down on the stage and kissed me, his hot lusty breath on my face again. It all happened so quickly, I had no time to respond. As soon as he moved away, I got up and ran to the bathroom to register what just happened.

What was I doing? I thought. I need to go home. Or maybe I need a drink.

I walked up to the bar and suddenly spotted one of Pate’s acquantances – Gabriel. Gabriel was a wealthy Mexican from her small city and has lived in Australia prior to coming to Playa where he worked as a bartender. He was very cute and clearly interested in me.

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked.

“Sure” I said, looking over at Vicente who was at the other end of the room eyeing me suspiciously.

Mr. Tarzan then sauntered over and informed me of their collective decision to go to another club. If I hadn’t known Vicente better, I would even say he actually looked jealous.

“I’ll join you soon” I said, looking over at Gabriel.

Ok, so the question on your mind is what was I even doing talking to these two guys, when I was already involved in a long distance relationship. Haven’t I already mentioned that meeting guys no longer interested me as I was invested in being with Javier?

Yes, it is true. However, we are all human and Mexico can do some strange things to people. This night, I was too relaxed to think straight and that’s what led me to what I to this day regret.

The pool from Gabriel's camera

The pool from Gabriel’s camera

Gabriel wanted to show me the pool bar that he worked in and we walked up the staircase to this beautiful empty lounge where he kissed me. We kissed to the way to the club. And we kissed in the club, with me pressed against him. It felt like we were kissing for hours.

“Do you want to come to my place?” he asked.

“I can’t” I said. I looked over at Vicente, who now was really starting to look dejected and who I actually beginning to feel bad for. A practical side of me took over, thinking that I did need the job, and he was the only one who could help me get it.

“You are leaving?” asked Gabriel who was now looking dejected as well. Well, sorry, I couldn’t please everyone.

I sauntered over to Vicente. “You want to go back?” I asked.

“You had enough of your boy there?” he asked jealously.

“Oh him? He’s a friend of a friend.. something like that.”

“Good friend, I can see” he smiled. “Ok, let’s go.”

It was getting light by the time we reached the complex in the taxi. He paid the driver and we walked upstairs. My room was on the third floor so I had to pass by his on my way up. Then the craziest thing happened.

Vicente, clearly still desiring what he didn’t get, grabbed  me by the waist and pulled me inside. Not knowing how to react I didn’t. I just went along with it.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

He began kissing me, then he pushed me on his bed.

“What are you doing?” I gasped.

“Don’t worry” he said.

“I don’t want to have sex!” I exclaimed.

“We won’t” he said.

He continued kissing me until I felt something hard in me. He lied! I realized. He tricked me into having sex with him and I was the stupid one now.

“Vicente!” I yelled. “ I told you no”

“You want me to stop?” he asked. “I can stop”

“I.. I don’t know” I murmured. I didn’t know. He has already started so if we stopped now, what would I say this was? Was this sex or was this half sex? I realize that it’s stupid to consider the importance of what this would be titled at the moment I was literally tricked into sleeping with him, but my mind couldn’t stop spinning.

“I can put on a condom” he said and I silently watched as he opened his drawer and took one out. Why didn’t I leave? We continued whatever this was, was it sex or was it rape? I could technically leave, but I was somewhat forced into an intercourse with this man. Who was I kidding? I brought this upon myself. After all, who turns a Mexican guy on, makes out with another one and then goes home with him?

Finally it kicked in  just how ridiculous I was being and told him to stop. Now in a firm no, not a million weak no’s that seemed to have zero effect. He  registered what I said, throwing the condom down with some anger.

“I’m gonna go” I said, straightening my clothes.

“Stay” he said. “Lie down with me.” This was bizarrely turning into Jay, the Cuban, but it was even stranger hearing this from Vicente, who I have never seen anything but angry or horny.

“You know” he said, hugging me to him as I awkwardly positioned myself near him “I always liked you.”

“Uh uh” I said. And a million other girls.

“No, it’s true. I remember you came to this party in this golden dress and I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. I really like you, Mia”

I think my mouth must have dropped. He really liked me? He was my cocky boss who was the ultimate player. Was this a trick to get into my pants yet again?

I left him there and went to my room, lying on my bed for hours, unable to fall asleep. I have never really regretted having sex with someone until now. This felt wrong.

Had I been able to ignore him, maybe I would have somewhat forgot the accident, but as luck would have it, I had nowhere else to stay but his place for the last few days of my stay. He would come into the living room, where I lay curled up on the couch and lower his face to mine. I would keep mine turned sideways so he wouldn’t be able to kiss me. Look at me, he would say. The one time I did, he kissed me.

The next time, I saw him in the club dancing with a girl. She was all over him and I just felt disgusted at the whole thing. Would I now come home just to find him in bed with another girl? It’s not that I care, I told one of my girlfriends, if I didn’t have to live with him.

As I walked in the apartment, I saw her walk out of his room in his jersey. I knocked on the door. I just need a pillow to sleep, I told him. I’ll only be a second.

He asked me to come in. He was sitting in the dark, fully clothed to my relief.

“Why don’t you understand that I want to be with you?” he asked. This was bizarrely turning into a sappy Telenovela.

Who will Maria Gonzalez stay with? The sexy Antonio or the naughty Jorge? Stay tuned!

Who will Maria Gonzalez stay with? The sexy Antonio or the naughty Jorge? Stay tuned!

“I just saw a girl walk out of your room, Vicente! Are you kidding me?”

“We never had sex!” he yelled.

“Listen” I continued, grabbing my pillow and heading for the door “This doesn’t concern me. Sleep with whoever you like. I’m not your girlfriend.”

“But I don’t want you to say that” he said, banging the wall with his fist. “I like you. I want to be with you.”

“Vicente, I have a boyfriend!”

“It didn’t seem like that the time you were with me or that other guy”

“I know. But it’s true. I really like him and I can’t cheat on him again.”

“Can you at least just spend the night with me? I promise I won’t try anything during the night.” He begged, looking like a lost child.

“Okay” I succumbed. “But no funny business!”

He did try to kiss me in the morning, but thankfully, this time I pushed him away. A deal is a deal, I said. He sighed – you are so difficult.

Gabriel also tried to get in contact with me through one of my friends. He would call her phone and ask her if she could bring me along to wherever we were going. He sent me emails asking if we could meet again. I never replied. The thing with these Mexican men was that they were so easily turned on and until they fully got what they want, they would not stop. I knew that once I slept with Gabriel, his interest would quickly fade away. But had I now been able to chose who I would spend that night or rather the morning with, it would be him.

I guess regrets are there for a reason. They teach us a lesson. “Only an insane person would do the same thing and expect a different outcome” Albert Einstein once said and should I continue this trend, I am planning on placing myself into the nearest mental institution for examination.

After all, how many mistakes can I make and still not learn my lesson?