“It’s hard out there. The older you get, the worse they get. They’re pigs, I say. Pigs”
Those are words I’ve heard surprisingly often from an age group I surely would have expected otherwise from. And here I was thinking “they’ll grow out of it”. Guess not. People my age, my mom’s age and my grandma’s age, have all told me bizarre first date-stories of men of all ages, online and offline. Stories of how messed up they are, those poor guys who are single since forever, others who are newly divorced or divorced since God knows how long, or those who jump from one relationship to another while looking for a little rebound-action while being on the road.
The dating scene has sure changed a lot over the years. And let’s just say, I’m glad I’m not single anymore. Couchsurfing.com is no longer a great place to find somewhere to sleep, but a place to find someone to sleep with. Dating sites and dating apps are full of perverts looking for an easy lay, crazies looking for someone to troll, narcissists looking for someone who’ll admire them and their abs, loners and damaged souls looking for that one person they can confide in – and obsess with and stalk for as long as you both shall live. Yes, the internet is packed with colorful creatures. They come in all shapes, sizes, cultures and nationalities. And often you’ll stumble upon these people while backpacking solo, vacationing with your friends or exploring the new city you just moved to.
We live in a world where no matter where you go and no matter which website you use to meet people for whatever reason, there’s always gonna be that male (or female) traveler who believe taking a nude selfie is the best way to get your attention.
Before I met my significant other, I spent a lot of time trying, failing and dating around the world while traveling and expatriating. It was exhausting. While some of those dates developed into vacation flings, others became nothing more than an awkward first encounter. For what it’s worth, at least I’m left with a few funny stories and a lot of cringe-worthy ones.
If you’ve ever “Tindered” your way through loneliness abroad, or posted an ad/message on Couchsurfing looking for cool people to hang out with and ended up alone with some dude with hidden (or not so hidden) intentions, you’ll probably know at least some of these characters listed below. If not, well….don’t say I didn’t warn you.
He’s that cool guy who plays guitar, the drums, the piano, whatever instrument – he can do it. He also writes poetry or song lyrics and is an excellent cook. Can he dance? Of course he can. Is he bilingual? More like, multilingual! Is he bragging about his skills? Damn right he is. But we all love him. Mainly because we all want to BE him. This guy is still single because he ain’t got time for no relationship. He’s either somewhere jamming with his friends, practicing a new skill or exploring small islands and remote villages in Southeast Asia and South America.
Personal experience: He was the kind of guy I would have expected to meet somewhere a little more exotic, but no, I met him in Norway. A spicy Latino with wavy shoulder length hair and big brown eyes. We had been talking on and off online for a while, and he invited me to a bonfire party on the beach while I was visiting the south of Norway with my mother (and abandoned her at the hotel for the occasion). As cliche as it may sound, the guy brought his own guitar to the party, played a couple of self-penned songs and sang like an angel (in Spanish and English). As lovely as it all was, I just wanted him to finish up and give me a little attention. And perhaps even his jacket. I was starting to get cold. And bored, as I knew nobody there, besides him. Turned out, I had competition. All the girls at the party wanted a piece of him. Had he invited all of us as some kind of…audience? I had no idea. Nor did I stick around to find out.
He’s the guy who throws a tantrum if things don’t go his way. He doesn’t have a lot of friends, but he has a lot of cool gadgets. This is a spoiled brat who never ventured into adulthood and probably never will. Turn him down and he’ll threaten to trash talk you all over the internet or get one of his “important connections” to hack your laptop. And your phone. And your mother’s phone. And then he’ll steal your dog. Or something. This guy was born into money, but prefers to date outside his circle. You’ll either meet him at a high end nightclub or online while vacationing somewhere in the Mediterranean or at a luxury resort in the Caribbean. Whenever he’s not busy partying on yachts in Europe or Instagramming from St Barts, this guy is swiping left and right, searching for a Cinderella who can keep up with his antics – or shall we say, Tinderella.
Personal experience: I met this guy in Orlando, Florida.We went to a casual restaurant, nothing fancy. The guy seemed pretty normal at first. That was, until he turned the date into some kind of a sales presentation, where I was the buyer and he was the product. He talked about his car, his suit, his salary, his employees, his house, his future plans. Him, him, all about him. I was bored and couldn’t wait to get out of there. As soon as I got home, I received a text from the guy. He wanted to meet again. I didn’t reply. Five minutes later he called me. I didn’t pick up. New text. Another one. And another one. And he called again. And again. And again. I switched off my phone, then switched it back on the next day and received a nice little message saying “You weren’t even that pretty, anyway”.
He’s the guy your mother warned you about. Smooth, great with words, charismatic, funny, intelligent and very easy on the eye. Sadly, by the time you’ve fallen head over heels in love with this guy, he’s already moved on to the next girl. This guy has a lot of friends and everybody seems to like him. You know he’s trouble, you know he’ll be nothing more than a fling – at best. He’s always up for Tinder-adventures while backpacking from state to state in the US or interrailing through Europe with his friends, but he’s not interested in settling down. Not quite yet.
Personal experience: I was alone in San Francisco, California, the first destination of a long solo trip. It was my third day there and I was already done with everything I wanted to see and do while visiting the city. As much as I loved to travel alone, I was starting to feel lonely. Very lonely. So I did what a lot of foolish girls do when feeling lonely; I browsed through the endless sea of men on Tinder. And there he was; a sexy French guy on a backpacking trip through California. He asked me questions like “what are you looking for on Tinder?” and I replied something along the lines of “err…I don’t know. I just wanna make friends”. Well. A lovely conversation and a nice walk along the streets of San Francisco led to a drink, that drink led to another drink, which led to a kiss, which led to… Happily never after.
He’s the guy who just won’t leave you alone when you tell him to go away. He’s the creepy dude who’s following you around on the dance floor while you’re just trying to have a good time with your friends. He’s the guy who keeps messaging you on dating sites, even after you’ve told him you’re not interested. He’s the guy who’s catcalling you and following you around the block, before you manage to shake him off. He’s the guy who stays at mixed hostel dorms just so that he can catch a sneak peak of you changing your clothes. He’s the guy who believes you’ll warm up to him eventually. You just need a little more time. And a couple more pictures of his private parts.
Personal experience: Now, where do I even start? Oh, yeah, I might as well tell you the worst story of them all! Once, while traveling in England, I was waiting for a train from Manchester to Birmingham. At the platform, I saw a guy who looked exactly like Quentin Tarantino, who for some reason started moving his hand up and down in his pocket…while moaning and breathing heavily. For some reason, the guy was staring at my low heeled leather ankle boots the entire time. And this is when it hit me. He was touching himself and using my boots as pleasure-material! I was disgusted. And frightened. Even more so when the sweaty Mr. Tarantino-look-alike walked up to me, still breathing heavily while sweat was dripping from his forehead. His eyes still fixed on my ankle boots, and he asked; “Can I kiss your shoes?!” Thank God, the train arrived – just in time to save me from this awkward situation. In case you wondered, I never wore those ankle boots again. Ever.
He’s the guy who’s desperately looking for participants for a threesome, foursome or group-stuff in seedy clubs. He says he’s a free spirit, a curious soul, a nature’s child, a man filled with so much passion he can’t just keep it for one person. This guy loves to party – obviously with some help from either something organic or something synthetic – and loves to be surrounded by beautiful women at all times. He never seems to be looking for a relationship. Just friendships. With benefits. This is the kind of guy you might run into at festivals/festival campsites, and hostels in cities and islands known for their crazy nightlife.
Personal experience: I met this guy in Tampa, Florida. He was a model – and yes, he was obviously quite a looker. Sadly, he was all kinds of crazy. The guy was high on pretty much every drug known to mankind, and he spent the entire evening trying to get me and some girl to hook up with each other, and with him. The guy seemed obsessed with the idea of getting some ménage-à-trois action going. I wasn’t having any of it. Never had I ever indicated that I wanted anything like that. And never in my life had I been happier to return “home” from a Saturday night out. What a mess!
Thankfully, there’s also a lot of amazing men out there, who are genuine good guys, just waiting for us wonder women to sweep them off their feet!
(Manneken Pis and all the other sculptures/statues are used in this post as illustration only. I don’t think they’d actually be a bunch of creepy dudes if they came to life)