Oh lord. It was HOT. Sally would like very much to put up some pictures and make some pithy comments, but she woke up an hour late and still drunk. More later.
On the face of it Craigslist “Missed Connections” seem like a really good idea and I’ll admit to a passing fascination with reading them. But if you think about the darker side of missed connections, it’s actually just a dating tool for wimps. It’s the adult equivalent of middle-school dating where you ask your friend to ask his friend if he likes you.
Every human being on this planet fears rejection and has a certain amount of shyness. But SO WHAT if they shoot you down? Life is full of rejection – jobs, friends, credit cards. So someone ignores you and you feel like a dummy. But I feel like a complete idiot on a regular basis and it hasn’t ruined my life yet. In fact, I’m basically awesome all the time.
What’s not acceptable is when you so much fear just TALKING to another person to the point that you later obsess about the interaction enough to actually post on an online forum about it.
I get to say this because I actually was the recipient of a missed connection about a month after I moved to DC. I had gone to the still-cool Tapatini’s and started talking to a cute guy who could have been my brother (I love looking in mirrors, so I’m attracted to people who look like me). Having taken advantage of the gratuitous martini special, I went to the bathroom and when I came back he was gone. I chalked it up to “not interested” and left a few minutes later to go to dinner with my friends.
Monday morning, a friend of mine forwarded me a missed connection that was definitely me. So I e-mailed the guy back, and we went out for two months. Unfortunately in the end he was exactly what a missed connection poster is: a whiny titty baby.
Until recently, I’d never gone out with a man who didn’t trust me (or who lived in a different city). Sure, I have a million friends and a hundred parties, but just because said friends/parties are usually at a bar doesn’t mean I’m tarted up and out trying to get with other dudes. If Europe has cafe society, the U.S. – and especially DC – has bar society where the primary goal is to unwind and meet your friends. I mean, the people on “Cheers” weren’t there to get laid.
There are some women who are okay with possessive and jealous guys, and there are some women who are equally if not more possessive and jealous. But I’m not either of those women. And I don’t like being pushed around and told how to act in a “serious relationship”, especially when I’m not doing anything to warrant it. I can be a really shitty person, but I’m loyal through and through – I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend or anything close to it.
If you have a problem trusting someone – like for example you ever call back a number on their “received calls” list or read their texts when they’re not around – and you have no legitimate reason not to trust that person, then you have a problem. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a personal issue, but maybe representative of a lack of confidence in the nature of the relationship. But not trusting someone isn’t a thing that can be easily reversed, if at all. Like V said, if you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything.
It’s tempting to not write about St Tropez. I met up with my then-boyfriend there for a few days that were really fun, but unfortunately an irrevocable event on the last night there cast a pall on the entire trip.
The train station in Paris – Gare de Lyon – was fairly easy to navigate. It’s similar to the layout of Penn Station in NYC where the track is announced and everyone dashes to get on. Incongruently, people who aren’t travelling on the train are allowed to go on the platform and say good-byes, etc. Not only does this put people in the way of actual train-riders trying to board, but, if you come from a country where lip gloss is considered a deadly weapon, seems like a blatant security risk. But I digress. (Ok, one last thing, splurge on a first-class ticket if you can. The extra leg room and quiet car are worth it.)
Our train was late arriving in St Raphael because the train before us had electrical problems, meaning we had to make two extra stops and also meaning that we would arrive too late for me to catch the 5 pm boat to St Tropez. There was a 7 pm boat, so that wasn’t too big of a problem. On the train I sat next to a sweet old Monagesque woman who reminded me of my grandmother and who gave me a package of cookies saying they were “good with champagne”. She didn’t speak any English and my French is so-so (I couldn’t give a business presentation in it, let’s just say), but we had a nice time talking. I also enjoyed the crusty old Brit sitting behind me who noted rather pointedly that “In America they’d sue!” when the conductor notified us the train would be late, and that “this is practically America!” when said conductor added that the bar accepted credit cards. Oh, Brits!
St Tropez is beautiful but it’s really a scene. We stayed at a hotel away from the main area but reachable by shuttle which ran fairly frequently. The hotel was gorgeous and we had a nice patio to sit on at night.
View looking out from our patio. You can see the Mediterranean in the distance.
The town reminded me a lot of Capri, which is to say very small and exclusive, with lots of shops that I couldn’t afford to buy anything in and with lots of attractive people wandering around. I chalked this up to the fact that rich attractive people like to only hang out with rich attractive people, and since St Tropez has just one road into the town (which is usually clogged with traffic), only rich people think it’s worth it to go. We had some nice dinners but skipped the clubs after; they’re difficult to get into and I’m not really a club type of person.
The Cote d’Azur beaches were not really what I was expecting. On the one hand, they’re more luxurious, amenities-wise, than American beaches. For example you can get food – not just hot dogs – served to you on a real table while you lounge on your chair. There are very decent non-T-shirt vending shops as well. But, the beach is much more narrow… like the sand area between the water and the shops/restaurants is not more than 20-30 feet. You couldn’t stretch a towel out on the sand and lay there without getting hit by the ambulatory vendors. Which was the other weird thing. Every 5 minutes or so another vendor would walk by selling tote bags, or coverups, or towels. They’d ask every beachgoer if they wanted anything when they walked by. It got kind of awkward after awhile. You’re at the beach to relax, not to constantly say “no thanks” to salespeople. Additionally, there was hardly anyone in the water except for a few children. Maybe I’m country, but I guess Atlantic Ocean beaches have spoiled me.
The last night we were there my travelling companion and I got in a huge fight and wound up not going out. Long story short, he decided to come with me to Amsterdam. But first we had to figure out how to get to Nice airport. We had to hire a driver to take us since the only other options were boat (takes a few hours), helicopter (crazy-expensive), or driving ourselves (not feasible). Our driver was named Gregory but with his accent it sounded like Quigley. Gregory did not have anything nice to say about France and was looking forward to moving to the U.S., which I found interesting. He was definitely one of these disaffected French youth I’ve read so much about on BBC.com. We tried to tell him that the U.S. has its share of massive problems, but all he knew was he couldn’t wait to get out of there. The best quote from Quigley, which I feel is sort of emblematic of French culture as a whole, was: “I’m not racist, but I don’t like Arabs.” Too bad you’re French, or you could run for President of the United States on that platform, Quigley!
Anyway, from Nice we flew to Amsterdam, my favorite part of the whole trip (and that’s not just the clogs talking).
I have a big problem of not listening to people when I already have my heart set on doing something. People warned me that Paris would be completely dead in August. I always thought that was sort of an exaggeration, like saying “All the French are snooty”.
No, really, everything is closed in August. I’m not sure how you can run a country when everyone departs the capital in August – a capital that is not just a political one but a financial and cultural one as well – AND takes a national holiday on top of that (Aug. 15, Fete de l’Assomption).
But first – arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport and getting to Paris from there is a completely separate hassle. The airport, interestingly, looks like something out of “Blade Runner” – like a futuristic layout that is so dirtied and aged that it just winds up being decrepit. I only speak “enough French to get by” but I managed to get my bags and find the shuttle to the RER train that takes you into Paris. Helpful hint, if you get into Paris this way you have to buy a separate train ticket (that costs more than just a plain old subway ticket). Thanks for being a bitch about it, subway window lady. Don’t you have a strike to go on?
I took the Metro into Paris and had hoped to transfer onto another RER line to reach the stop closest to my hotel (stop Musee d’Orsay). Unfortunately, the station where I wanted to make the transfer – Saint-Michel – was closed to that particular line. Which means when I exited the station, I had to walk several blocks while dragging my suitcases in order to reach my hotel. And of course it was raining. I was so completely stressed out by the time I reached my hotel that I had to take a very long nap after I checked in.
My hotel, the Hotel d’Orsay, is marked on the map. Normally the St Germain des Pres, the main boulevard just to the south of it, is bustling. When I was there, I was often the only person on the street for a few blocks – everything was closed.
I have only one picture from Paris, mainly because I was so incredibly annoyed by the entire city shutting down that I decided to not take pics out of spite. And also because the last time I was there (6 years ago, in June, which was really fun), I took a million pictures. But I digress.
Since I’d already done the touristy stuff and so many things were closed, Paris was boring and a rittle ronery. I spent most of my time walking around and looking at neighborhoods. I considered going to see “Marie Antoinette” one day, but the movies were dubbed, not in subtitles. The best day was when I met up with the president of my school’s alumni group in Montmartre for a tour and lunch (including escargots, which are like oysters but a little tougher).
Thursday morning I woke up and caught a train from the Gare de Lyon to St-Raphael on the coast, and from there I took a boat to my next destination.
I was terribly unimpressed with the French women I saw. You always hear about how put-together they are, and feminine, and stylish, and “don’t get fat“. These are mainly lies. French women have just as big of guts as I’ve ever seen, and plenty more wrinkles because they smoke like chimneys and tan themselves to the point of looking like a rich cognac-colored handbag that I’d like to own. Also, many women I saw – FRENCH women – had hair colors that simply have no origins in nature. Skunk-stripe highlights and lots of brunettes-turned-redheads. For all the fuss about French women not wearing makeup, they are certainly willing to experiment on other parts of their heads.
One more gripe about the French. They’re not snobby, just terribly unhelpful. I wonder if French people come to the U.S. and ask why everyone is so accommodating. I actually saw one woman at the Air France counter in Nice flat-out refuse to talk to a girl who was obviously running late for a flight. This was pretty typical.
Hi kiddies! I’m back from Europe which was about 60% fun and 40% not much fun, for various reasons. I’ll post pictures and recaps this week, but for now I’ve got a mountain of laundry and various settling-in to do. DCB has already e-mailed to tell me that he was sitting next to a “very hot French girl”, so let’s all send him our very best wishes for good luck in Spain! It’ll be like clapping to bring Tinkerbell back to life, but with dirty European sexing involved!
I’m leaving tomorrow for a HOT trip overseas. No London, no snakes (hopefully), no major airlines, and no liquids. Unless you count bloody marys served on a plane, in which case, yes please!
I’ll be taking two weeks off but I expect to have some great stories for you. In the meantime, enjoy a pic of Dasha and Sally.
Wind machines are sexy. Just ask Michael Jackson.