When I travel, something magical happens. I turn into this woman. Okay, so I don’t literally turn into Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer, but I’m tan and my hair gets all big and sexy, and I tend to wear a lot of white and green. I also manage to garner a lot of male attention, both wanted and unwanted. During my recent trip to Nevis & St. Kitts, I met someone who started out mildly promising and in matter of 72 hours, he managed to screw the pooch. Okay, so he didn’t literally have sex with an animal. That’s called sodomy. Since this is a blog, and not a Facebook status update, I refuse to use the term, “epic fail,” even if that is exactly what occurred.
Before we get into it, let’s chat for a very brief moment about traveling solo when you are a female. I do it frequently and could probably write a book about it but here are a few points: 1. Research the destination before you leave (know what neighborhoods to avoid in your destination of choice) 2. Be aware of your surroundings at all times 3. Utilize your hotel/resort concierge if you have concerns – they are typically local and can help you navigate 4. Always have enough currency on your person so you can get home safely – most island cabs don’t take credit cards 5. Keep an eye on your drinks and don’t get so tipsy that you lose your wits and/or your dignity (someone like me is always taking pictures of your drunken shenanigans) and finally, 6. For God’s sake, pack your own condoms and be safe if you intend to have a good time. You can’t rely on another person to protect your body and you certainly don’t want to come home with any critters in your seashell…and I’m not just talking about baby critters.
This little incident spanned about 72 hours. Since you are reading this and not experiencing the joy of my storytelling while imitating this person, I’ll keep it as brief as possible without denying you the bits of comedy gold. This basically gives you a step-by-step play on how NOT to get into a girl’s skivvies in less than 3 days.
I should note that a uniform, an accent, and/or an extremely well-cut suit and tie will gain you the free pass for immediate conversational access; what happens beyond that is entirely on you, therefore you must bring your A-Game. So 3 pilots, all in uniform, and the one with a Welsh accent is married. Sh*t. One is way too young. One is a Ginger. That’s right, or as Chelsea Handler says, a Firecrotch. I’ve received blessing from a local female expatriate that they are decent guys so I consent to hitting the town for some Christmas Eve shenanigans. Ginger Firecrotch and I discuss going to the St. Kitts J’Ouvert Carnival the day after Christmas since he is off for the next few days while the other two are flying the friendly skies. We agree to meet at my resort bar at 12 noon to finalize plans. Mind you, we’re drunk, he has a hat on, and everything is generally funnier with drinks and hats.
He arrives at the bar. He has more hair on his face than on the top of his head. I’m willing to concede because I’m trying to date outside my type because my type really hasn’t been working for me, and maybe he has one of those ‘great personalities.’ I’m looking resort-adorable in a white Lacoste and khakis. We discuss Carnival but he really hasn’t decided if we are going at 5AM or 7 AM. I tell him I’m leaning toward 7. He says, “I’m leaning toward 5 but it’s still up in the air.” Then he wants to know what I’m doing for the day since he has the car (all three pilots live together & share one vehicle). He says he wants to hike up some hill that he flies over every night and that his parents bought him hiking boots for Christmas. I tell him I want to go to the Golden Rock Inn. He still wants to hike. One point deducted for not taking the hint. I express that I’m more of an indoor girl and that I don’t own hiking boots (nor do I ever intend to), but that my Merrell trainers are actually for trails. So I’m making another concession and agreeing to hike. Fine. I’m working on not being b*tchy in 2012. The bill for our drinks come. He doesn’t pay. Another point deducted. Things aren’t looking promising for Ginger Firecrotch. We agree to change into our “gear” and meet back in 15 minutes. My idea of gear is yoga pants, a tank top (I’ve been told I’m not allowed to use the word, wifebeater, in public because it’s demoralizing to women, so tank top it is), and trainers. His idea of gear is aforementioned hiking boots, a matching camouflage water bottle, complete with an Indiana Jones safari shirt emblazoned with lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! One more point deducted for embarrassing me in public with weird attire.
Ginger Firecrotch insists he knows where he’s going. Guess what? He doesn’t and we’re up a hill wading through brush before he decides this isn’t the right way. Another point deducted for not being willing to ask for directions. I’m thinking, “Yay, I’m going to get go to the Golden Rock Inn now.” Instead, he suggests we take a walk around Hurricane Hill on the beach. Another point is deducted for his inability to read my mind. We turn the corner. The beach is rocky. Wet. Slippery. I’m traversing the sides of the hill, grateful that I’ve done indoor wall climbing and hoping I don’t break a limb… or even worse, teeth, because that would be more expensive to fix and no one can sign your cast. Ginger is taking my picture. I’m sweaty and getting annoyed. We find the conch shell that eventually gets confiscated in St. Maarten (see Conch Shells are Weapons of Mass Destruction). We finally make it back to the resort and I want to get out my soggy sneakers. I say, “Wow, I really could go for a drink – let’s go to the bar.”
Ladies, always keep questionable men in public places. Men, NEVER use the following response when a lady suggests hitting the bar (while leaning back in a chair, body language displaying the family jewels), “Well, I’ve got a bottle of rum at my place…because I’m trying to save money…maybe we could go back there and hang out.” Once again, I would pay to see my own facial expression as this comes out of his mouth. I tell him I’m tired, that I need to take a shower and get ready for Christmas Dinner. He says, “Well maybe I’ll join you.” Aw, dude, no one asked you. Points are being deducted left and right. This is just getting awkward. I explain I have plans, one needs reservations, yada-yada, but encourage him and the other pilots to stop by the bar later and let me know what time we are going to the Carnival. After all, I still want to see this Carnival, dammit. I haven’t endured rockclimbing and boring conversation all day to miss the one thing that brought me to this destination for the holidays. He winds up coming back and interrupting my dinner (another point deducted) to tell me he’s picking me up at 5AM. Fine. Just. Fine. 5AM.Whatever. I’m beginning to lose count of points deducted.
December 26, St. Kitts Carnvial (J’Ouvert):
The car arrives at 5AM. His landlord (who I will name, Goldie, because he has two gold front teeth) is driving and says, “Aw you are just as beautiful as Ginger described you.” Aw, flattery, I guess maybe we’ll negate one of those, let’s say, 17 deducted points from the day prior. We get to the dock to take the 6AM ferry from Nevis to St. Kitts. I’m grateful the chef from my resort is on this boat so I have someone else to talk to. They refuse to move the boat until it’s full. So guess what time we departed? Yep – 7AM. Do I hear the sound of a point being deducted? Well, the boat thing isn’t his fault so we’re holding at -16. We arrive and Goldie and Ginger proclaim they’d like some breakfast and a drink. It is not even 8:30 AM and the Carnival is everything I could have imagined or hoped it to be. The voyeur in me is ecstatic to find revealing outfits, face and body paint, school-age children drinking on reggae floats, and people dry-humping (or are they?) in the streets to the music. There is a rum truck that people are climbing on to get drinks. There are masks and costumes. The crowd grows with every turn around the block. It’s insane and I’m loving every minute of it.
Goldie places an order and I attempt to pay him, but he refuses to let me pay. I look at Ginger Firecrotch. Does he not understand that I am his guest and he should be taking care of this or at the very least, offering to do so? Apparently not. Point deduction continues. Ginger asks me if I’d like another drink. I reply, “Yes.” and he disappears for 45 minutes and comes back empty-handed. Mind you, we are adjacent to a drink booth. The parade is off-the-hook fun at this point and Ginger says, “I found a nice quiet park over there. Do you want to take a walk and see it?” I’m pleased to have donned sunglasses to help obscure my facial expressions, “No. I’m good with staying here. We have a great view of the carnival. Isn’t that why we’re here?” He finally gets me a drink (Goldie has supplied me in his absence). Someone slaps my rear end. I turn around and Ginger’s face is as red as his beard, apologetic and embarrassed, proclaiming Goldie made him do it. I mean, really? Slap it yourself, bro. This is just getting pathetic.
On the boat ride home Ginger professes his desire to end his pilot career “because it has the second highest divorce rate in the country” to pursue one of two ideas: 1. a drum corps for youth on this island and he has done no research on interest level or 2. a drum harness that is ergonomically correct and features some type of swim flipper but it will save marching band students’ backs later in life. I ask, “Do you really think a high school kid cares about their back? They care about what people think of them at that age. In fact, that’s probably all they care about, so whatever you create needs to look cool so they will actually wear it.” Wait, why am I having this conversation? How much longer before he utters, “This one time at band camp….” ? Why is a 29-year-old talking to me about marriage and divorce rates? Why would he leave a sexy pilot job which is his one selling point? Ginger makes one more attempt to get me to come back to his place on the ride home. He mistakenly says, “I just want to get the heck out of the sun.” I visualize Mel Gibson in Braveheart riding in on a horse screaming, “Freedom!” I say, “Well actually, I can’t wait to get into it. I’m heading to the beach. Thanks so much. I had a great time. Maybe I’ll see you and the guys at the bar before I leave so I can get you that vodka” (during the course of this 72 hour stint, I had offered a bottle kindly given to me by my resort neighbors that I knew I wouldn’t use).
I’m now slipping into my bikini and getting ready for the afternoon beach stroll and shelling. I’m loving the sun, the beach, the fact that I’m free from this person which now enables me to meet other men and salvage this vacation. I have enjoyed exactly 1.5 hours of freedom and am at the far end of the resort beach and I hear, “Hey.” I turn around, confused, and admittedly mildly disturbed. It’s Ginger. And how long has he been following me on this beach walk?
“I got to thinking that the beach sounded kind of nice,” says Ginger.
“Uh. Really?” Again, I’m sure my facial expression of horror is evident.
“Well, that and I thought it would make the vodka exchange easier.”
I’m sorry. What? This has now reached a new level of creepy and annoying. Screw point deductions, it’s time to ditch this weirdo. “Okay, well, I’m going to go back and get that for you. Would you like to meet at the bar?” I cannot stress the importance of the use of public space. I begin to walk down the beach toward civilization. I’m uncomfortable.
Ginger calls after me, “Why are you running away?”
“I’m not. I’m just going back to get the vodka.”
“I feel bad; I think I’ve ruined your vibe,” says Ginger. Oh yes, Ginger Firecrotch. You are the human equivalent of a wet blanket.
“I’m just not feeling well.”
“Do you always vacation by yourself?”
“Yep. All the time,” I pivot and look him square in the face because he has continued to follow me, “Where are you going to be so I can bring the vodka to you?”
“I guess in one of these lounge chairs here on the beach.”
“Great. I’ll just be a minute.” I look behind me to make sure he’s not following or watching where I go. I cannot have this man knowing where my cottage is. I step inside, put on a beach coverup, and begin to formulate the exit strategy excuses so I don’t need to spend more than a courteous 10 minutes with him. I walk down the beach. Ginger is splayed out on a chair, eyes closed, ipod earbuds in, shirt open in all his pasty, white, gingerboy glory. I resist the urge to vomit. I realize that with his eyes closed and earbuds in he cannot see or hear me. He doesn’t even know I’m standing there.
I gently place the bottle of vodka next to his chair and I run away.
(You can give me that virtual high-five now).