Table of Contents
My International Dating Story:
As a solo female traveler, international dating is about as “special” as it is stateside, but sometimes with a bit more flair and accents. Let’s just say on this particular night, I didn’t know I was going on an international date, to begin with, it was two people headed out to enjoy a new city. One of the roommates at my Airbnb asked me if I wanted to go wander and have a beer in this new city of Madrid, Spain. He was from Israel visiting Madrid and hadn’t seen much of the city prior to my arrival at the Airbnb. “Sure, why not,” I say.
In June/July, Madrid is about 90 degrees during the day and 88 at night, and I’m still sweating in places one has no desire to sweat while standing still. He had just moved out of the Airbnb that day and came back to pick me up to head to the bar. He asks if I’d like to walk or take the train. I say, “I’m good with walking,” and immediately he says, “We’ll take the train,” in a very abrupt manner. Lol. So, ok, we’ll take the train. I’m flexible, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other.
He then asks if I have my own metro card. My other roommate luckily had given me one, and I only had to add money to it, but being one day into the city, I had no idea how to do anything as of yet. Did he offer to pay my way? Nope, no problem. I only mention this just to make sure we are all still on the understanding that he’s asking me as a roommate and a friend to go out and see a new city. This is not a date. Ok, check.
Irish Pub in Madrid, Spain
We get to the one Irish Pub that he likes. I happen to like Irish Pubs, so we are golden, that is until we get there. It was exceptionally loud, and we could barely hear one another. His idea of a good time was to sit in the very loud bar where we had to yell to one another rather than sit outside, and people watch and actually chat (it was gay pride week, and folks were ready for the parade, literally, just down the street). Everyone looked like they were already having so much fun and headed out, and here we were, sitting in a bar where there was no one inside and super loud music.
No worries, it’s fine, I’m still ok, just going with the flow. So, we have a beer, and the waitress asks if we’d like to pay. I said, hey, let’s have one more and go to the next spot and do a little bar hopping. He asks me after one, “Are you trying to get me drunk?” I laugh, as well, my liver is, umm, well-practiced. He Bought Me Potatoes;
I say no, we came out for a beer, let’s have a few, and then go watch the events of the evening. He tells me he HAS to eat when he drinks, and it appears he absolutely had to eat there. There were no ifs, ands, or buts. His demeanor was demanding, and it was my first night abroad in a new city I hadn’t experienced, and I wasn’t going to ruin it. I thought we could head to another location so we could have actual food where it was quieter and we could talk, but this was absolutely not an option.
Going with the Flow
By this time, I already knew that we were not going to get along, agree on any decision, or actually hold any version of a conversation other than a few brief words. So, at that point, I’ve decided that I’m going to be polite, and go along with whatever just so we can eat and go. He also decides that he’s going to order for me. This is a world of special.
He then makes the decision and tells the waitress what “we’re having” without asking, and wait for it…wait for it…our meal of the evening was… potatoes. Not potato skins, not potatoes as a side, not French fries, but boiled potatoes with a little ranch dressing or a little buffalo sauce.
Different… but ok, I like potatoes, so fine, I’ll have one or two. I tried a whole two little potatoes, and he ate the rest of the full plate and then proceeded to ask me to pay. Lol. Let’s just say, I was unamused. Again, going with the theme, we are NOT on a date.
Time To Go
Once we finished our one beer with a side of potatoes, I told him I was “good,” and How about we go? He tells me we should walk some. I agreed with that purely because there were so many people around, and the parade was about to take place, so it was something that would be fun.
The outfits at this LGBQT parade were “interesting,” to say the least, and I was quite entertained myself. I’m down, let’s do this. I decided that even though I was out with a, for lack of any better terms, gay-phobic, chauvinistic, and cheap international date, I was going to have a good time. I’ll enjoy the evening, take a few pics, and have another beer, and we’re good.
The entire time, he wanted to hold my hand so we wouldn’t get separated, and later, he told me he was trying to hold onto it “so they don’t think I’m gay.” I appeased him by linking elbows, as holding hands wasn’t an option for me with this guy. So be it…my world won’t end.
After getting to see the parade for just about 2 minutes total, his level of comfort went from 100 to 0, and he didn’t want to stay, so we turned around. He then asks if I want a coffee. Another cultural difference. I know many countries drink coffee at all hours of the day. He Bought Me Potatoes;
Americans: We drink liquor. Lol. So, no, sunshine, I do not want a coffee. I’ll be up till 8 am. He then asked if I’d like another beer to appease me as he didn’t want this evening to end. Joy! So, where do we go? We reroute to his 2nd favorite Irish pub in Spain.
Just Pick One
When we arrive inside Irish Pub #2, he again does not offer to pay, as this is not a date. He then “allows me” to buy my own and then suggests he has to “think about” what he’s going to order. OMG.. it’s a pub. They have.. BEER. Just pick one, Jesus. My patience had walked out of the door at this point. After standing and staring at the beers on the wall for a solid 5 minutes, he managed to place an order.
As he’s ordering for our (non-international dating experience), I’m on the other side, turning around to find a table for us to sit at. Evidently, this was not appropriate to him, and he proceeded to give me this attitude, asking if I was just gonna leave him. Not at that moment, no. My goal was purely to look for a table while he took another 5 minutes to choose his beer. So, instead of walking away, I tried one more time to be the “bigger man.” So, I waited a bit longer and was told, “You need to stay right here until I get my beer.” This made me laugh out loud, and I was becoming more “entertained” by the moment.
Bathroom Escort Anyone
His over-the-top attempts to control my actions continue. At home is one thing, and there’s not a chance it would have lasted this long, but in a new country, on day one, while attempting to be open to others, I’m allowing it. I began to look for the bathroom “all by myself” and was informed that I was not just to go wandering by myself, but “I needed” to go ask where it was, and then he told me “I needed” to go downstairs” to look for it. Never have I ever thought “I needed” to do so many things in my life. I am so thankful that international dating taught me such things. lol
What “I needed” to do was go home. Mmm hmm. So, he escorts me to the bathroom and stands outside the door because why? I’m not entirely sure. If he was worried I’d leave him, or if he was just trying to be protective, I can’t tell you the answer, but then there’s the kicker. We walk back upstairs after this ridiculous evening, and he asks, once we found a spot to stand and have our drinks, if……… I’m coming home with him. He says he really wants to show me his place. LOL (remember he moved that day to another Airbnb, and he really wanted me to see it). Seriously? I may be polite, but I’m not stupid, sunshine.
I mentioned that I know what other Airbnb’s look like… so, “I’m good”, I don’t need to see another one. He continues to press it even after I tell him that this isn’t happening, and he begins to try to place his hands on my back or my leg. I continue to play it off because I’m still trying to make this a good evening in a foreign country, no matter how irritated I’ve become with this non international dating experience.
It still baffles me as to why he thinks this would go anywhere. He asked me another three or four times to come home with him. At this point, I had to tell him that we weren’t on a date, “and if we were on a date, I’d have to punch him in the throat, as that would make me happier than this going back to your place”. 😉
As my sarcastic side comes out, I’m still attempting to make light of the situation and avoid the “look a-hole, no, I’m not doing it” conversation. So, I’m laughing it off, even as uncomfortable as it was, just trying to drink my beer and enjoy the music. Even after repeating the punch him in the throat comment several other times in the next 20 minutes, I had to tell him it was just time to go. That, of course, was his shining moment when he decided he was going to try to kiss me. Lol. I effectively dodged it and was like, I’m like, um, I’m good. I had to make it register to him that I’m your friend (or at least until you get me to the subway, and won’t be in about 20 minutes when my a** is on a train back to my room). Thankfully, he stopped trying, and we left.
The Metro Station
We get to the metro station, and he doesn’t offer to get me home in one piece as any gentleman taking a lady (friend or date) in a foreign country home and was still expecting to give me a hug goodbye. The very quick hug goodbye revealed his fully erect self. I was so creeped out with him standing at the top of the metro platform, attempting to press into me (so I would definitely feel what was going on) to see if I’d then change my mind and come home with him. I swear to God, I don’t know what goes through the minds of men; especially when it was such a terrible night where we just did not get along, and yet, hey, let’s go get freaky. Hit head on the wall and repeat.
If you think I’m going home with you cause you took me out for potatoes, you must have me confused. I tell ya, dating internationally doesn’t seem to be much different than dating stateside, and I wasn’t even on a date. Lol. He truly was just lucky I didn’t deck his a**, but I will tell you I was no longer basking in the I just arrived in a new country, glow.
Hope y’all enjoyed one of my many, many many strange experiences in the land of solo female travel, and no matter where you go, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!