Monday, August 1, 2011
The Worst Pick-Up Artist in the World
"You travel alone?"
While traveling in Southeast Asia I get this question daily. Some people are curious about why a woman would travel solo, others are concerned about my safety, while an annoying few, like this five-foot two-inch, long-haired fellow in Sulawesi, try (not very subtly) to feel out my potential as a quicky romance or a free-travel-with-benefits sugar mama.
This guy had just checked me into my bungalow on a fairly remote island, and I was obviously by myself, so there was no way to lie. Yup, I was alone and although he was a potential nuisance, I was going to be stuck with him on a small beach for a few days so instead of chucking him off my deck I chatted with him a few minutes about where I'd been and where I was going (these are the questions every Indonesian asks to make polite conversation). Then he left and I un-packed a bit and had a shower.
I settled on my terrace with a book and had read about five words when my new friend was back. This time he was carrying a photo album.
Without asking he grabbed a chair, pulled it over a little too close to mine and looked me in the eye. "I like older women," he told me in a heavy-lidded voice.
I guessed he was about 25 and somehow, during those all those years of life, he hadn't figured out that this was the worst pick up line ever.
"Here is Daniella my Italian girlfriend," he said, opening the photo album, his knee touching mine. The first picture showed a picture of him and a pretty blond woman on a motorbike. "She is older than you I think. Forty-five?"
You might wonder why I hadn't shooed this boy away after his first sentence. First, I think I was muddled about how old he actually thought I was (I was 37) but mostly, he was so bad at wooing women that I just had to see where it was all going. It was a social experiment.
"Ah, yes, I'm younger than that. She's very pretty."
"We meet here, she stay same room you. She like me. Take me to Bali and Lombok. Here we are at Bali guesthouse." He flipped through the pages glancing up at me from time to time with expectant eyes, perhaps to see if any of his moments with Daniella would inspire me to leap out of my chair and make passionate love to him right there on the terrace.
That didn't happen. He closed the album and once again looked into my eyes, his swirling with bedroom thoughts.
"You like me?"
"I'm married, no thanks." Social experiment over.
"Everybody married. Husband not here."
"No, I'm really married and totally not interested."
I was obviously not the first person to tell him this and in the end he was an OK guy, just a young horny one trying to get a free ride. He got up, giving me one last sultry look.
"Ok, I here you change mind and please don't tell my boss."
Over the next few days we hung out and drank beer together with all the other people staying at the guesthouse and I watched him fumble through a few other single women that turned up. Each time I saw him with his photo album I'd tease him and he'd laugh. I half wished Daniella would return, the only woman capable of falling for the worst pick up artist in the world.