Never Have I Ever… (2013)

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I collect moments so I can look back at them when I am old.. but which are the moments that we really remember?Which do we keep on recounting over and over again?

Upon request from one of my readers to write about Swiss men, I have decided to share a fairly old story about a Swiss-German guy I met while working in Panama. The reason I didn’t write about him write right away is for some reason he didn’t stick in my mind. There are men I have had the most romantic experiences with, only to forget them as soon as the wheels of the plane took off the ground. While others, like my friend Franko, still make me sad with every Facebook update.

Anyways, requests from you guys are important to me, so here goes…

The rainy season wasn’t coming for a month, so in order to conserve electricity and not use up the so needed AC, Panamanian workers received a week off from work. When I realized I would get a four day long weekend, I quickly decided to head back to Santa Catalina for a break. There was an international surfing championship happening there, so lots of parties to look forward to. Two busses and a long walk later, I arrived to the surfing hostel with two new friends I made on the bus – one Australian and one German.

The owner of the hostel was away so in charge were his two pot smoking young Brazilian sons. One, Gabriel, was gorgeous. I stared at him on my way in and he at me. He couldn’t have been older than 24, so it was a definite no go. Still, the attention he showed me was really flattering. When I asked him a question about why there was a closet full of surfboards instead of a bathroom as the sign showed, he stared at me for ages before coming out with a response. And ok, he might have been stoned, but he also looked mesmerized by me, which felt great.

That night, the German, the Aussie and I headed to Chili Rojos. If you read my Argentinian story, you will know that was the same place I met Pablo. We stood in front of the bar, when a car came to a halt in front of us and a blond boy with a very German face leaned out of the window.

“You know vere zer is good place to eat?” he asked in a very thick accent.

We directed him to where we were going and soon enough, ended up joining his table. He was with two other guys and a girl with cropped hair, who later turned out to be his brothers and sister.  Being very German in behaviour, the guys were very nice, but quite robotic and awkward around me. Erich seemed to be the fun and loose one of the group. When we played a game of “Never Have I Ever”, he seemed to be the most experienced one. He was also the most flirtatious with me, and of course quickly established himself as the leader, being the oldest.

After we headed to another bar, where I felt more awkward by the second as the brothers surrounded me and flirted with me. They were all over me, hanging on to every word I said and instead of flattering it began to feel slightly creepy. Flirting is definitely not the Swiss-German forte. Nor the German. Instead of the natural fluidity of the Italians or the Spanish, Germans are stiff and uncomfortable, which makes you equally so.  Once the brothers realized I was into Erich, they grew visibly sad and just stood there even more awkwardly.

Erich offered we go for a walk to the ocean, which was about a twenty minute hike in absolute darkness made only lighter by the bright stars that covered the sky. During the walk, he kissed me and we kissed the whole dark way down to the water. Once on the beach, our little adventure got crazier.

He removed my clothes, and almost ordered me to get into the water. With his thick Swiss-German accent, it actually sounded quite dominant, so I obeyed. Curiosity tends to get the best of me as I always long for adventure and new experiences. Well, this was definitely an interesting one. Naked, and emerged in shallow water, with him over me and melodic trance playing far off in the distance, I felt weightless and carefree.This is when he scooped up mud and began ‘drawing’ on me. Yes, I am not even kidding. The whole thing was surreal but I enjoy people with a sense of creativity and this Swiss boy had more than enough of it.

Never have I ever lied naked in the water with a stranger covered in dirt and here I was. Mr. Artisto decided to stick his cell phone in my bag and hang it across himself.  It wasn’t a surprise when it fell in the water and died. By the end of this adventure, we were both shoeless, (as our flip flops got carried away with the tide) and dirty.

We walked barefoot to my hostel, laughing about the whole thing, only to find out that there was no water back at my hippy place and we would have to sleep dirty. Using the only towel I had, we dried ourselves off, or rather – scrubbed the dirt away and got into bed.

I shared the room with another girl who slept off to the other side. However, we ended up having sex in that same room, and then Mr. Commander decided he wanted to try it on the balcony until the rail almost gave out and we had to step away quickly. Otherwise, they would have found two muddy, naked people lying on the grass underneath the window.

Why did I have sex with Erich the first night? Well, he was definitely inventive and there was not a dull second with him. And even though he definitely had a few slightly crazy ideas in his head, I fully trusted him. The guy spent majority of his twenties in a serious relationship. Now, he wanted to try something new, to experiment, to have crazy moments in his life. I felt we both wanted the same thing. Not even the sex itself, more an adventure to share.

The_Beach_at_Santa_Catalina,_Panama_(8369739920)Early that morning, we walked down the beach in search of our shoes and praise Jesus, there they were! Rejoicing, we hugged and kissed. He went back to his hotel and I went back to get some breakfast. He told me he would contact me that evening.

Meanwhile, Gabriel, the Brazilian kept on throwing longing gazes at me. I wasn’t really into anyone. If I really fell for Erich, I wouldn’t have noticed anyone around me, but I was bored. Life in Panama didn’t give me what I wanted – feelings. And if I couldn’t get feelings, I would compensate for something memorable.

“Are you going to the party tonight?” Asked Gabriel.

He was behind the bar serving drinks and he looked gorgeous – curly hair, full lips, that bronze tan that comes with life on the beach.

“I think so.”

There was a surfing championship end party happening that night and the whole hostel was going. Apart from me, there were only a handful of girls staying at the surfing hostel and as flattering as the attention was, ten guys to two girls ratio got to be a little much. The Swiss brothers, the Brazilians, men everywhere. You could probably smell testosterone a mile away from Santa Catalina. That and horniness.

I wasn’t sure how, but I wanted to have something with Gabriel, even though Erich texted he would see me later. I drove to the area with Gabriel’s brother and soon we got a group of Panamanians dancing to reggaeton. Neither Gabriel nor Erich were anywhere to be seen. Suddenly, as trance began playing, I could see a group of blond Europeans charging our way, their fists pumping the air.

One of them was Erich and his brothers, who now actually began to act coolly around me. I hugged him to me and we all began dancing. An hour or so later, he had to drive everyone back.

“You will wait for me, Mia? I will be back in twenty minutes!” he told me.

“Sure” I said. “I will wait.”

At first I danced by myself, feeling quite awkward amongst a crowd of people I didn’t know. Then, I saw Gabriel. We talked a bit, then began dancing – closer and closer until his breath was on my face. He seemed nervous as he leaned in to kiss me, but relaxed as I reciprocated. We kissed and kissed, until I realized it was time Erich would be returning. Like a complete bitch (I still feel kind of bad for it), I told Gabriel I had to go to the bathroom and walked the other way.

Just in that moment, Erich saw me. One second earlier and he would have seen me with the Brazilian. I jumped into his arms and he hugged me tightly to him. I thought I saw Gabriel looking at us, though I wasn’t so sure. We danced, then went further on to the wooded area to continue dancing barefoot until he forgot where he left his shoes. Again. We searched for them until even the police themselves decided to help us out with a flashlight.

After the dancing, we drove to the beach where he played commander, part two. He took me in his arms and asked me to lean backward on my hands as he kissed my body. I don’t even know why, but I was relaxed and eager to try all these things with him. Never have I ever done acrobatic tricks on the beach, and here I was, completely out of my body, not thinking… and as an over thinker, that was a refreshing sensation.

Never have I ever had sex in a car” I offered as we got into the comfy minivan.

He eyed me. “We can arrange that.”190342482_552ad209ac

We drove into the woods, ‘parked’ in a ditch and moved all the seats back.  The windows got fogged, as if we were both in “Titanic” (except without the hand imprint), when the police decided to check up on us. They thought something might be wrong with the car. Erich, his hair discheveled and his face flushed, opened the window.

“No, todo bien. Gracias” he said in his broken Spanish.

I killed myself laughing.

Later, we sat naked on the floor of the car with the door slid opened, naked, my head on his shoulder and talked about life in general. I wish I could remember what we said to each other, but time erases memory, leaving only the most significant conversations in your head. Next day, I was leaving back to Panama City and he told me he would visit me before he left back to Zurich.

Last time I saw him, he took a taxi to the old part of the city just to meet me a couple of hours before he had to leave.  He spent those hours giving me a massage and did not even instigate sex until I lunged at him, which showed to me I gave him more than just a great sexperience. He lay next to me, caressing my face until it was time to leave and after kissing me softly, closed the door behind him.

I asked him to mail me some Swiss chocolate.

We wrote each other back and forth until we had nothing more to write about. I will be honest – I hardly ever think about Erich and had it not been the request to write about a Swiss guy I never would have mentioned him.

There are guys we can have the craziest, most amazing few days with, but not remember, and there are those we barely know or exchange one kiss with, but that is the one kiss that we keep on reverting back to over and over again. I’m glad I did those things I have never ever done, and wouldn’t have if I didn’t meet Erich, but real feelings are so much more important than just a sum of experiences.

When you like someone, really like them – every look is meaningful, every touch is electrified and every sense is heightened. And even the most regular experience can take on a new meaning. It is not the moments I tried so hard to collect, thinking ‘that would make a good story’ that I recall, it is those that I lived and breathed through, the ones when I really lived in the present.

Believe it or not, but never have I ever been in love. I write about dating, I make videos about dating.. but I have yet to feel an overwhelming emotion. And that, my readers, is the biggest irony of all!BeFunky_970981_409179255857516_1613477559_n32.jpg32

Please share with me any story of mine that really caught your attention and tell me why. Thanks for reading and keep asking for requests!

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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.

Momentary Illusion – The Puerto Rican (2013)

446011_f520An quick obsession. A quick fantasy. Then waking up.

Luminescent eyes – that was the first thing I noticed. They were the colour of the Caribean sea on a sunny day. And they lit up his whole face. With his bronze tan and white smile, he looked like he just stepped off of the big screen.

I was in Puerto Rico with my dearest brother with whom we fought every day about one thing or another. The biggest argument of all centered around my video. Recently, I have started my own International Dating channel  and part of my trip to Puerto Rico, besides getting away from the severe Canadian winter, was interviewing people to find out the whole appeal of Latin men to women. I was trying to find sleezy, over the top Latinos but all I found were regular guys who seemed just as lost about women as Americans.

Isla Verde Beach

After begging my brother endlessly about acting as the videographer, I decided I would take matters into my own hands and walked around the streets of Isla Verde to film taxi drivers and bartenders. And now, exhilarated by the thought of finally doing something with no help from anyone else I ran onto the kite surfing beach where my brother was hanging out near his kite waiting for the wind. Kite surfing was just as annoying to me, as my Latin man episode to him.

To help me out a bit, he pointed to a shack on the beach and told me I could interview one of the surfers there. From a distance I saw an attractive guy in a purple shirt and sauntered over to recruit him.

“Would you be interested in doing a video?” I asked with little hesitation. How much easier it is to start a conversation with a “real” reason for it! However, I literally couldn’t tear my gaze away from his sparkling eyes, that crinkled in amusement and some interest as he saw me.

“Sure” He answered in an almost perfect American accent.

“You are Puerto Rican?” I asked.

Livin’ La Vida Loca!

“I am” He smiled. Tanned and bright eyed, he looked like a beautiful mix of European and Latin. Something like a (non-gay) Ricky Martin.

We continued with the interview during which he confided in me (and the World) that Latin men make the best lovers and that Puerto Rican girls are his preference out of all women. At the moment, I was only observing him as a very attractive object for my documentary. I thought that if I had any ratings to boost, he would be the one to make it happen.

Once we were done, I tried to prolong our contact by telling him to look over the release form and asking questions as he started signing his name. Turned out Franko was of German descent, went to a boarding school in the USA and worked as a doctor, not as a kite surfing instructor as I initially thought.

He was extremely attractive in the way he held himself – self assured, calm and collected and at times he would look at me directly and a beautiful smile would spread over his face. What bothered me, however, was that he would also look into the distance when talking which made me mimic him and try to look away as much as I could, so as not to appear too invested.  And he never offered to meet up even though I let him know I had no plans for that Saturday night. I might as well have written a sign on my head saying “Single and Looking”, I felt so obvious. Finally, just as I was about to leave, he asked me to take down his number so we could meet that evening. Still, it wasn’t like he asked me for mine.

Kind of like that, but with dark hair.. and no flower

Kind of like that, but with dark hair.. and no flower

Did I mention I had two days left? Oh fate, thou art unjust indeed.

Then, as I was sitting on the beach with my brother, he sat near us. Turned out they met prior to our Latin interview, and began discussing kite surfing since they were both obsessed with it. Though in the words of my brother, Franko was terrible.

“The guy just constantly goes against wind! How can you like someone who can’t learn to kite surf?”

Yep, going with the wind is definitely an important quality for a future husband…

Franko didn’t even look at me as he talked to my brother and when Alex got up to get something, he literally waited two seconds to leave himself. I just sat there, completely dejected. Both of us came to the conclusion that Franko might be gay. He did pay way more attention to my brother. Though at the bottom of my heart I knew – the guy likes girls alright, just maybe not me.

So why push it, right?

Well this is where my sense of reason fades away and the only thing that remains is the need to be with this person, regardless of the circumstances. It has been so long that I felt something as crazy and as instantaneous as I did with Franko, that I wanted to lose myself in the feeling.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

That evening I was heading off to Old San Juan with my brother and we wrote to Franko to invite him out. Turned out he had a family function and only got back to me later saying he might not be able to make it. I danced salsa with another guy (who really liked me by the way) and desperately waited for the song to finish so I could check my message from sparkling eyed Franko. I have never known that salsa songs take like ten minutes!

While he couldn’t make it, he texted, he would love to see me at the beach tomorrow. I dismissed the message as him being very polite and not actually wanting anything with me and sat the rest of the night crying my eyes out of the deserted beach.

“Please” I said to no one in particular, possibly God, who is most likely too busy to listen to idiotic complaints like this “Let me at least be with him a bit, even if I get hurt.”

Wish granted.

Enjoy my child. But only until the morning!

Enjoy my child. But only until the morning!

The next day I came to the beach more self assured and calm, which always works to my advantage. As I stepped out of the water in my bright pink bikini, I noticed a guy eying me not very discreetly. Turned out it was my luminescent eyed guy.

“Mia?” He asked. I looked up. “Sorry, I just didn’t know if it was you. Didn’t want to be a creepy Puerto Rican.”

He sat near me and we talked about nothing in particular until my brother called him to help launch the kite. Still, that look in his eyes at least proved he was interested in me.

Later on, as I was filming scenes on the beach he called out my name again. We talked a bit, during which I asked him to be a star in my video. Then I muttered about how dirty that must have come out.

“I am leaving to eat” He stood there smiling at me, his eyes lighted up by the setting of the sun. He usually looked so confident, but now it almost seemed as if he was nervous. At least I wanted him to be. “I would like us to see each other tonight.” Of course, by us he also included my brother. I felt he wanted to invite just me, but couldn’t bring himself to do it.

I said bye to him, filmed a bit, then came back to find him still standing there smiling in an adorable way.

“So” he said “do you still want me to be the star of your video? What do I have to do?”

“Hey, you know what you can do?” said my brother coming up “You can go pick up girls on the beach and Mia can film you.”

I almost smashed the camera in my brother’s face. Of course the guy can pick up girls. All he has to do is look at them with those gorgeous eyes and smile charismatically.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea” I stated. “Technically it should be me he is picking up. I am the host after all.”

We decided maybe we would film something later on and stayed around flirting like there was no tomorrow. Hah, finally I knew for certainty he was interested! The feeling was incredible. The only thing that I really didn’t enjoy was how part of his flirting involved telling me all Latin guys were “built like Black guys down there.” Obviously that’s not true and clearly he meant himself and wanted me to find out. Coming from a doctor, I didn’t appreciate it. I thought he would have more class than that. But at that moment, any desire of his to attract me was welcomed by me. I just wanted him to like me.

We finally parted an hour later. Though my brother was invited, I let him know this trio of ours would be awkward and he should conveniently feel tired so I could leave him at home. He agreed but not without some fuss.

“You know what you are getting yourself into!” He pointed at me as I was doing my makeup back at the hotel. “Don’t cry tomorrow when you get hurt. It’s like banging your head against the wall over and over again and not learning!”

I knew I would get hurt. I was confident I would cry. And I still wanted this. As I sat there, waiting for him, my hair pulled back in a ponytail and my skin glowing from the sun, I felt alive. Anxious, sad, curious, excited, yearning… Every feeling was heightened. I think that all life is comprised of moments. Little moments, significant moments.. but at the end of the day, maybe that’s all we will remember. I think I will remember these moments the most. The ones where my heart beats quickly.

Feeling alive

Feeling alive

He picked me up in a silver Mercedes and we drove to Old San Juan, where we walked out to walk a cobbled street to an outdoor bar. So far, the conversation lacked emotion.. Sure, he told me about his childhood, asked me questions about mine, even gave me some history on San Juan.. But he didn’t smile, hold my hand or even look at me much. It felt quite official.

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Cobbled Stone Streets of Old San Juan

But as we sat down at the bar, without even starting to drink, our conversation quickly turned into personal. We talked about our love lives, families, wants, dreams… And at one point, when he asked me what I looked for in a guy, I tried my best not to blurt out – you. But I think he figured it out. As I looked at him: his slow smile, intense gaze, the fact that he bore an uncanny resemblance to Stefan (see the German), I knew I was head over heels. Though now I think I was just obsessed, just as someone might be over an actor in Grey’s Anatomy. Fitting, no?

He even told me he used to take Xanax for anxiety, as he used to get very anxious while studying for medical exams. Apparently he didn’t share this a lot, so I felt he could confide in me.

He said  that he wanted a relationship, children, that he would provide for his wife, but she could work if she chose to. I laughed and actually said “Marry me”, to which he responded with: “Move to Puerto Rico.”

As we had another drink, he told me he didn’t want me to leave. He would come and visit me in Canada. I gladly accepted the proposal.

As we walked over to the other bar, he repeated it over and over.

“I really don’t want you to go”

“Me neither” I sighed.

Then that thought escalated rapidly, and he proposed something I hoped for desperately.

“Stay here for a few days” He offered. “I can pay most of your ticket and we can travel.”

“You are crazy!” I exclaimed. At the moment, I felt like I was in a chick flick. This was the perfect night, with a gorgeous guy, in a foreign country and he was offering me to stay! I could fly.

“I know, but it would be great. We could travel the island. I do have to go to my family’s place for New Years, so you would have to come with me.”

“Are you sure you are not just saying this because you are drunk?” I asked.

“No, I thought about this yesterday and I am sure. I will talk to your brother and we will make all the arrangements”

And now he was offering me to meet his family. This was incredible insanity and I agreed immediately. Finally, it seemed like my life was getting somewhere. Maybe he was “the one”? Now I cringe when I write this.

Fantasy

Fantasy

He told me he liked me as soon as he met me that day on the beach and I told him I felt the same. We kissed and kissed… But what surprised me was there were no fireworks in our kiss. Thinking about him, I expected a gust of passion. This was just… okay.

And then I got drunk. I am Russian and can drink without losing my head or blacking out. I don’t know how I got so wasted off of three Cuba Libres and one shot of rum, but I don’t even remember getting to the car. What I do remember is him opening his car door so I could puke out the water on the street. He was extremely sweet and supportive about the whole thing, holding my hand, kissing me on the forehead and telling me he has seen way worse. This is the worst state I have ever been with with a guy. And him, out of all people!

We had to also pick up his sixteen year old cousin. I don’t even want to know what he thought of me when I barely squeaked “Hola” before running for the bathroom.

“You are staying with me” he told me as he parked the car.

I just wanted to go home and sleep but at this point I was in no state to argue. Or to stay in the car any further. I wished I stayed classy.. Well as classy as I could be at this point and ask him to drive me back, but I felt so much closeness between us, I naively thought it wouldn’t make any difference.

More nothingness, and then I remember him getting me a new toothbrush, water and his T-Shirt. I put it on and sank into his huge bed. I was awoken out of my stupor by his kiss, or was I awake before it? I can’t recall. All I know is that we were kissing, and then he was kissing my body. Please don’t judge me girls, as I did begin to give him a blowjob. Honestly, I don’t know what was wrong with me! I knew I wasn’t going to have sex, yet I was doing this? I didn’t finish it and he pretty much jerked himself off. How romantic this evening was.. Wow, indeed. Of course at this point I was naively thinking we would have many more moments, seeing as how I was staying and everything.

We slept the whole night in each other’s arms. Even in the morning, every time I would turn over, he would follow suit with his arms around me protectively. I woke up early, both dizzy and confused: was I really staying longer with him in Puerto Rico? I was dying to.

As he woke up, he tried again to make a move, and when I said no concluded aloud : “We did not have sex” as if that wasn’t obvious then proceeded to get out of bed, to go to the bathroom. At one point, I actually thought he was gonna come in with breakfast, but he came back and told me I could get dressed. He just wanted to finish playing Fifa video game with his cousin and then we could go.

No mention of the ticket.

We drove back uncomfortably. His hand was caressing my knee but I knew that he was just doing it to be polite. Whatever he said or meant last night was gone just like that adoring look in his bright eyes. My heart sank. He didn’t even have to say anything, but I wanted to make sure anyways.

“Those were some crazy things we said last night…” I looked straight ahead, afraid to look at him.

“Yeah. I mean.. we don’t know each other so well. Maybe it’s better if we stay in touch and I come and see you in Toronto” he threw me a look and caressed my knee again to make me feel a bit better.

All of the images of us dancing on the beach, bronze faced and carefree, just like visions of me sitting at the table with his Puerto Rican family suddenly vanished and I now knew – I would be back in the winter tomorrow morning. The surreal dream he has shared with me was only that – a dream. I would have stayed if he simply said the words. I suppose some things are too good to be true. Perfection doesn’t exist and he was definitely not perfect. The way he quickly discarded me showed just that. No apology, no sincerity.. I felt like we were now strangers, and hey, we really were all along.

“Are you okay?” He turned to me as I sat there staring into space. I tried to say something, anything, but I was just at a loss for words.

“I’m just tired. Sorry” I smiled.

“We will see each other at the beach, won’t we?” he kissed me a brief goodbye.

sleep,lonely,,bed,girl,alone,drugs-05e2e83f94238f6c24775bdcb9798e12_h

Reality

Once he was out of the hotel room where he dropped me off, I sat on the bed and began wailing. Sure, I barely knew the guy, but how often does it happen that you fall so hard for someone and feel like your dreams have finally come true just to have it all gone the very next day? I’m sure most of you have been through worse.. but it still didn’t lessen my pain. And now I was leaving this beautiful city for minus twenty temperatures, while he was still here – tanned, beautiful and able to look at as many bikini clad bodies as he wanted to.

My brother, a smug know-it-all, just laughed when I recounted the story to him. “What did you expect from a Latin guy?”

I did see Franko on the beach. He approached me by kissing me as a boyfriend would do. All of the kite surfers watched us with smiles. They all knew about my project and my fleeting romance with him. I played it cool, following my brother’s advice to be happy, but I feel I smiled too much and was too peppy, so much that even he got a bit thrown off. In reality, I have only consumed one dry bun full of guava and cheese. I didn’t care what was in it, as long as it could stop the dizziness. I had no appetite. I was anxious. But I wouldn’t show it.

Parts were okay. We took photos of each other. We kissed under the towel. He came by to look for me a couple of times. I gave him a massage. He told me he wanted me back with him at his condo. He looked at me with some emotion, though it was difficult for me to predict what it really was. I couldn’t figure him out. I was addicted to his face, his manner of talking, but I knew this would be the person that would drain me emotionally. But what did it matter? This would be the last time I would see him.

At the end, he simply walked up to be and kissed me.

“I wish I met you earlier. Stay in touch” and walked away leaving me standing there completely dumbfounded and at a loss for words.

On the way to the airport, while crying my eyes out I received a text which said “Already miss you!” Sure, it made me cry with joy, but at the bottom of my heart I felt he didn’t mean it.

I wished him a Happy New Year next day, while at a party back in freezing Canada, where I couldn’t stop thinking of this weird bright eyed boy. He only replied to my text message today, two days later.

You know, I think I finally reached a point in my life where I can say – you are not worth it. Obviously he doesn’t even live here in Canada, so that’s a given, but even if he did, it would never work. Sure, he makes my heart beat, sure he looks good on paper, but at the end I want someone who wants me. Someone who would ask me to stay and not back out of it. Someone who looks in my eyes and actually sees me. Someone with whom I don’t have to play the game of who cares least. Someone with whom I feel a genuine connection and so far I have not met this person.

But you will be the first to find out when I do.

PS. I will also refrain from getting into bed with a stranger. Be it a gorgeous one or not. Some things are better be left a mystery and I think I have learnt from my mistakes never to repeat it again.

Etrange Garçon (Strange Boy) (2013)

Greeneyes-51366609578

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.

bocas2

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.

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.

Hosting Avec Benefits (2012)

Here I recount a funny experience of CouchSurfing with a guy I was attracted to.

I was bored out of my mind. I was at work, supposedly creating school curriculum, though slacking off most of the time and looking for traveling jobs for the summer. It was May and I was once again tired of the same old.

I needed a little getaway even for just for the weekend. The idea popped up in my head as I sat in front of the computer and I discreetly opened up the CouchSurfing website (if you don’t know about it, it is used to find a host in another city/country) to see who I could stay with in Montreal. I could have stayed with a friend, but I just wanted something new and someone new to get to know. Scrolling down the list of available hosts, one name popped out at me. Florent. He was well-traveled, a  teacher, eloquent in writing and cute. And he was from France! Looking very much an artsy French man(those who smoke cigarettes in a cafe in Paris) he seemed tall with dirty blond hair and big light blue eyes. What the hell? I thought. I might as well write to him. It seemed like we would have a lot to talk about.

Maybe ze vine? Or ze museek?

He answered back almost right away in his slightly broken English and we decided on the next weekend. Don’t think that I picked him because I wanted something, but I will admit I was kind of interested in staying at his place. Some girlfriends told me I was ridiculous, though one classified it as a ‘very interesting and long date.’

I would go with the latter.

I arrived in Montreal slightly nervous. It was warm and breezy and I was wearing a sweater and jeans, my hair (and face)all messed up from the bus. I finally located his apartment, with a swirly staircase that went up to his door. I buzzed in, my heart thumping a little bit.

Finally he opened the door looking just like his photo. Tall, wearing a t-shirt and jeans, his dirty blond hair messy and his eyes bright, big and blue, smiling widely.

“Welcome!” he smiled to me and helped me carry my luggage in. “Come in!”

He showed me around the apartment and told me I would be sleeping on this huge mattress he bought ‘just for me’ as he recently moved in. We sat on the couch and I talked way too much, as I was slightly nervous and felt like I had to fill in the space with all my chatter. He smiled and nodded his head, answering with a typical French accent that seemed to form a lot of sentences into questions.

“So” he said “it is up to you if you want to hang out with me? If not, you can do what you want? But if you like? We can go to the park and tomorrow I show you some sights?”

“Sounds great actually.”

“Yes, it is a nice day. So we can grab some bikes and blankets and talk? If you like?”

“Yes, really that’s great.” I said. “I’m going to quickly take a shower and then I’ll join you.”

“Ok then. I bring you towels and everything? Oh and I give you a separate key if you like also?”

He clearly wanted me to feel comfortable and I actually did. Within minutes, I felt like I have known Florent for a few months.

I changed and put on some makeup and we biked to the park where we spread out a blanket near a fountain. I went to the store and got us some beer and some weird tasting nuts. We lay and talked for hours. About everything: history, politics, relationships, people, life in general. It was great to actually meet someone who was so well-rounded and who I could talk to about anything. Florent wasn’t a typical guy. He didn’t think typical thoughts. He didn’t try to be un-typical. He was just himself, with his own formed view on life, with his own opinions and a huge set of very random interests. For instance he did boxing and sang in the choir. He played the piano, wrote articles on politics and had a cat. Seriously. There was none of that ‘macho’ wannabe or any pretentiousness that I was so used to. The guy was actually just very comfortable in his own skin. I looked at him from afar, lounging in his black t-shirt and jeans, his hair all messy. He had that something. Definitely a French artist thing, though he didn’t smoke.

Montreal’s La Fontaine Park

He was very careful not to flirt with me, as I felt that he saw himself responsible for my ‘comfort and security’ so I decided to subtly flirt with him.

“You are my first” I told him coyly.

He seemed to process it in his head.

“I meant my first CouchSurfing host” I added with a laugh like it was a mistake. Oops! He laughed with me, feeling a little more relaxed.

At one point as we sat in the park I saw his eyes sparkle with that hint of male interest, but he quickly returned to being friendly. We biked to a restaurant where he urged me to try Tartare (which is basically raw meat). There we talked some more. Seriously, we never seemed to run out of topics.

Tartare

Tartare

It’s not like I was interested in him per ce, but I gotta admit I was a bit jealous when he began paying attention to our waitress. His bright blue eyes burned into her as he asked her questions in his beautiful fluent French and she flirted with her Québécois accent. Oh come on, I wanted to say. She is not even that good-looking and she is so young she is wearing braces.

Once we got home, rather his home, he asked me if I wanted to join him for his friends’ party. Of course he added that I didn’t have to if I didn’t want? But if I did? Would I like? And so on. Wiz French accent?

Of course I’ll come, I said.

As I was changing, he locked the door very soundly, which made me burst out laughing.

“You don’t have to do that!” I yelled through the door.

“No, I want you to feel comfortable!” he yelled back.

How very adorable.

I wore black skinny jeans and a sparkly golden top. He walked out of the other room looking at me up and down very quickly, then grabbed the keys. “You are ready?”

The party was deadly boring. It was a bunch of very French people, mostly married or in pairs, engaged in a (very French) conversation. The fact that I spoke about two percent French didn’t help matters. I gotta hand it to Florent who made me feel very comfortable by introducing me to everyone. However, I didn’t want to inconvenience him by clinging on to him, so I walked around and talked to anyone who spoke English. Everyone actually turned out to be very welcoming; especially his best friend who flirted with me and then while talking to Florent in French mentioned how jolie I was. I understand that, I told him. I know, he smiled and gave me a wink.

One girlfriend of Florent’s actually nudged him and winked at me as she wished us ‘a GOOD night’. As if it wasn’t awkward enough staying at a guy’s place who you were kind of attracted to and who seemed attracted to you. And even if he wasn’t – there was a girl in his apartment! He didn’t even have to ask me to come in so I could ‘see his beautiful view’.

One of his gay friends suggested we head to a lesbian club. Why not? I said. Let’s. Yep, it was a little strange and I actually got hit on by a beautiful girl, which I must admit was flattering! The best part is that she walked up to Florent and told him she was interested in me.  I beamed for hours.

We danced close to each other, but I felt awkward beyond belief. This wasn’t a guy I met in a club, or a friend. He was someone I had to stay with! OK, I already mentioned that, but I’m emphasizing it just so you get the strangeness of the situation. Granted, I put myself in this situation willingly.

When we got back, I put on my t-shirt and short shorts and sat on the bed-mattress combing my hair out. I swear I wasn’t trying to lure him in or anything. Maybe just a little bit. Florent looked me up and down and not very discreetly this time. The French seducer seemed to be waking up in him.

tam tam TAM!

tam tam TAM!

“Ok, so I go take a shower?” he said. “Good night?”

“Yes, good night” I smiled, continuing to comb my hair.

“Ok” he nodded to himself or me and shut the door.

Minutes later he stepped out of the bathroom and wished me good night again. “Ok, so good night, Mia”

“Good night, Florent.”

He closed the door behind him only to emerge minutes later.

“I forgot something?” he smiled to me and awkwardly shuffled into my ‘bedroom’ to get ‘something’. “You are okay?” he asked. “Did you have a good night?”

The whole thing was starting to get pretty funny, but it was still quite awkward. I wanted him to make a move already, but how could he? He didn’t know if I was interested and it was my ‘safety’ that was at stake after all!

“I had a great time. Thanks.”

He mumbled something or other to himself or me and wished me goodnight again. I chuckled and lay down on my humongous mattress to sleep. The light was off in the room and I was assuming he went to sleep. Wouldn’t it be funny, I thought, if he came out again?

And as if on cue, the door opened and Florent emerged. He smiled apologetically at me.

“I forgot to get my water?” he murmured and shuffled past me.

This time I couldn’t stop smiling. It was getting hilarious.

I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her

For some reason or other, this really reminded me of the movie “Notting Hill” and the scene where Julia Roberts comes into Hugh Grant’s room at night. This is why I randomly blurted out:

“You remind me of Hugh Grant.”

Why Hugh Grant? It was the weirdest comparison as the guy looked nothing like the English actor. At this point though, I think I could have told Florent he looked like Jackie Chan and he still would have acted as if that made sense. All he wanted to do was stay in the room. That was obvious.

“Yes?” He said and paused near me. “Okay, if you could pick one actress that looked like you, who would it be?”

Was this the conversation we were having at 4am in the morning?

“I don’t know” I mumbled. “Who do you think I look like?”

I was just as much of a retard as him. Someone clearly had to make a move here.

We went back and forth like two mumbling fools in a land of retardation until I couldn’t do it anymore.

“Florent. Did you really come to get water?” I awkwardly smiled to him.

“Why?” he asked.

“Nothing. Forget about it.”

“No, what?”

“Forget about it.”

“If you are referring to what I think you are referring to?” he looked at the lamp on the table. “Then, yes, I did want to? Kiss you?”

I wish I could describe just how adorably French and awkward he sounded at the moment. Especially the kissing me part.

“But” he continued “I was scared you feel strange and want to leave?”

“Well, I’m not going to leave if you kiss me” I smiled.

“Okay then” he smiled and finally put his damn water down, leaning in to kiss me. We kissed and kissed, over and over again and I was getting those pings of excitement at the bottom of my stomach.

“I propose” he said after a while( Yes, I actually made out with a guy who says “I propose”) “That you sleep in my bed. We will not have sex just, you know, sleep together?”

“No, I’m okay. I’ll sleep here” I said. I was exhausted and tired and the last thing I wanted to do was share a bed with anyone. So he wished me goodnight, for real this time, and went to sleep.

He woke up before me the next day because he had choir. No comment here. Anyways, I woke up later and cooked some breakfast in my underwear. Then, I went to explore Montreal and think about whether I wanted to have sex with him or not. Normal people just do it spontaneously. I had to talk to myself about it first. My reason told me no. I told me no. Everything told me no. I mean I didn’t even know the guy and I wasn’t smitten with him. Sure, I liked him. I had a wonderful time with him. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say I wanted to rip his clothes off. In conclusion, it was a no.

I nervously walked into the apartment and saw him lounging about, reading a book. He asked me how my day was and whether I was interested in going to eat with him that evening.

“But if you have any other plans, it is okay?”

Nothing at all about last night. Leave it to me to leave coy and subtle out the door since I have no patience for it.

“So do you feel awkward about last night?” I asked. Nothing like a question about awkwardness to make it feel more awkward.

“No” he looked at me. “Why, should I?”
“No, no. You shouldn’t”

He waited a beat.

“Well I do now a bit. Do you regret it?”

“No!” I exclaimed. “Of course not”

“Ok, then it is not awkward” he smiled.

We talked some more. He played me the piano. I sat on his bed while he made me listen to opera. Then he sang me something in French. I made him feel my diaphragm as I breathed, just so he could finally make a damn move as I couldn’t listen to anymore opera and singing. Then he leaned in and kissed me. Suddenly he was on the bed, my legs wrapped around him. We kissed and kissed.

Très romantique

Très romantique

“Okay” he said when he caught his breath. “Let’s go eat something?”

It was raining outside and he held my hand as we walked down the empty wet streets. Before that, he asked me what my favorite color was so that he could ‘wear it?’ I burst out laughing:

“From CouchSurfing to a relationship, Florent? How did we get here?”

He got us a bottle of wine and we ate in a loud Italian restaurant. He kissed me under the rain. Afterwards, we sat in a bar talking, as he caressed my knees. It really felt like we were together. Not like we met yesterday. I could talk to him for hours about anything. I loved that he would never answer with a standard response like ‘cool’ or ‘awesome’. Instead he would think about it and give his own opinion on it.

When we got home, I put on my ‘come hither’ shorts though I wasn’t technically planning on having sex with him. We did hang out in his room. And on his bed. So really, I could have just thrown my careful and well planned out resolution out the window by this point.

And then he put on the cheesiest romantic French music ever and I burst out laughing.

“Where is the champagne and the Eiffel Tower?” I asked.

“It is Joe Dassin. You do not like?” he asked.5099752049127

“How many girls do you use this on?” I asked him, raising one eyebrow.

“Just you actually” he smiled. “Ok, I will turn it off”

“Please do. I’m not sure I can keep a straight face if you are trying to romance me to French music”

He laughed. “You know if I met you in a bar, I would have come up to you. It was just very strange situation having you here. One of my girl friends was very uncomfortable when she stayed with a guy? So when I saw your photos and told her I found you very attractive, she said to not do anything at all. So I didn’t. Until now, I mean”

And yes, okay, I ended up having sex with him. And it wasn’t the romantic French music that seduced me. I’m not sure if it was his wonderful seduction skills either. I don’t really know why I had sex with him. Was the sex good? Yes, but I felt like I jumped into it a little bit fast. I’m not sure if real attraction was there or if I just loved spending time with him. The thing that threw me off was when afterwards he turned to me.

“Were you nervous?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“ I do not know. You seemed very uncomfortable. I thought you would be a little bit crazier.”

Excuse me?

fifty-shades-of-grey-cac1d39d5bb5c20810b1314bcbf61dee35d8219b-s6-c30What do you say to that? Maybe, it was because I just met you? Or possibly because I wasn’t that sexually drawn to you? Or maybe, just maybe, you mister are no Christian Grey in your seduction skills?

Instead I should have gotten an Oscar for the next performance. I felt disgusted with myself. Why act instead of saying the truth?

We did end up spending the night together this time and finally got out of bed sometime during noon the next day. He took me to get us some typical French brunch and then I kissed him goodbye.

“We will stay in touch” he smiled, but I wasn’t so sure about it.

I will be honest in saying that he didn’t contact me when I got back home. Instead I wrote him a message and he wrote one back. He was leaving for Europe for the next two months, so we wouldn’t see each other for some time, he said, but maybe in the fall?

By this point I was so mad that I didn’t want to stay in any contact with him. We will not see each other in the fall, I thought. Here we were, so close to each other and now we were polite strangers who could barely exchange two words.

Yes, this entry was going to have a negative ending and a little note about how French men are assholes.

But life is life and people are people. Instead, he wrote me a message recently saying he wanted me to accept a job in his city so I could be near him. And I ended up inviting him to visit me.

This is not romance nor is this a long distance or rather quite a short distance relationship. This is just something. A nice time to spend with someone who means something to you. What that something is,  I still don’t know. And who ever knows? Maybe this time the sex will not be ‘so uncomfortable?’ or maybe I will kick him out before we even get to it. But I do think that in life, we have to at least try. Hey, if it fails, at least there would be a great story to share.

And oh, I got one great review from Couchsurfing!

* Even though the story has developed since I last wrote this post, I decided to add a little ‘note’  instead of designating yet more space for this since I do not believe this guy is worth it. After Florent came to visit me and we spent quite a few nice days together, we decided to maybe work something out in the future. However, his ‘feelings'(I put them in quotation marks because I no longer believe he is capable of them) escalated so much and so rapidly, he decided to refer to me as his girlfriend. Then he began looking for teaching jobs for me as a way to lure me into Montreal. Ok, he wasn’t necessarily luring me since I wanted to move, but he definitely was the interested party.

After his second visit to Toronto, I realized that not only did I have little feelings for him, but he was quite cheap and not much of a gentleman. He wasn’t a bad guy at all. But he didn’t believe in doing one nice, romantic thing for me.  After he left and I didn’t get the desired job in Montreal, he began pushing me to come visit him. At this point I had no money since as you may have guessed – I was and am an unemployed teacher. He never offered to pay and when I mentioned that, we got into a row about money, which in my opinion is just tacky. In his opinion, if I wanted to see him I could have asked him to ‘help’ me out, not assume he would offer. While I could see his side of the argument somewhat, I also realized then and there that I needed a gentleman not someone who would argue about money with a girl. My stupid move came when I did in fact go to Montreal to visit him.

How did the weekend go? Well.. in short it was miserable. He didn’t take me out to ONE real restaurant and when I suggested eating out he acted surprised and mentioned that we would be eating dinner at his friends’ place at 7pm. This was 3pm. We only ate breakfast. And went boxing. My clothing was ‘too short’ (even it would almost reach my knees) and he would constantly point out ‘elegant’ girls, one of whom sported purple pants and brown boots. He would get offended at everything and when he didn’t want to have sex with me on the second day of my stay (out of three), I’ve had enough. This was not romantic. It wasn’t beautiful. I didn’t feel like a woman. We had completely different interests. He would prefer someone in running shoes   camping with him in the woods. I would prefer someone who would take me to a hotel in Hawaii or yes, also someone I could backpack with.. But that’s all I would ever be with Florent – a backpacking buddy he has sex with, where money is split equally, and I may as well be a man. His deep thoughts and analyzing that I initially found so charming and ‘French!’ has now shown me he was critical, difficult and set in his mind. He wanted me when I was happy and fun. He couldn’t take any sort of disagreement and confrontation. He watched me become upset and literally stepped away. He couldn’t even hug or kiss me.

We ended it then and there, not without some crying from me, even though now I cannot understand how he even deserved any of that. The funny thing is, even though we wrote each other a handwritten letter at the end, he has not contacted me since.

So this is my advice to you girls: if a guy shows you a trait that you ignore, believe me, it will come to later bite you. Florent didn’t speak to me for four months after we had sex the first time I met him. Afterwards he never even asked me how I got home. Lesson? This would and did repeat. A man always shows you who he is. It is up to you whether you accept it or not.

By the way, do you still think French men are so damn romantic?