“Take a risk everyday” – Anonymous
At a certain point during my two-year stint in Paris, you could say I was on the border of being absolutely insane. I measured this by my actions and the things I was willing to say yes to. There was this subtle awareness as if I were watching myself from a tree branch above, noting the batshit and at the same time rooting on this audacious, fearless girl. That was thing about living in a foreign country, there are moments where you do things you wouldn’t normally do in your hometown, or where you’re from. For me it felt like this constant feeling of autonomy and it was as if I could reinvent myself, be anybody I wanted. #growthgoals and making life an adventure.
So …. It was a Tuesday night. I was bored. Some semi-cute guy (yes he was technically french, however his family had immigrated to France from Algeria) was giving me a lot of attention from the start of our online conversation. His jokes were on point, his english perfect, and his flirting alluded to the game he had. Basically, I was open to dealing with him. I had to work the next night, at Citrus Etoile (Excerpt Two for more details on this). My normal work shift was 6 – 11 pm and so he suggested he pick me up from work at 11 pm on his motorcycle and we would go for a joy ride over all of the beautiful bridges in Paris.
If you have ever seen the movie Taken with Liam Neeson… pretty sure any American girl in her right mind would have immediately said N-O. Lets see, wait outside a restaurant late at night, of course I would be in my sexy dressing attire per David’s requirements, and be picked up on a motorcycle by a stranger, an Algerian stranger, I had met online, and proceed to get on the back of his motorcycle. Yeah, not for the geniuses.
What did I do? Well, I agreed. This is the certifiable part. But, oh it gets even better.
I agreed because truthfully I really wanted to ride on the back of a motorcycle through Paris. Bucket list, movie-set worthy, I don’t know, my immediate reaction was yes. I had envisioned this being utterly magical, the cold night air, me in sexy black leather pants and a fur coat, with a helmet on, my hair blowing in the wind as I gripped tightly around a man who was hopefully speaking to me in french as we sped over the lover’s lock bridge… I mean can anyone blame me, really? Other than the part that he was a stranger and sex trafficking is an unfortunate reality in our world.
He arrived promptly at 11 pm. I don’t want to sound like a complete judgemental bitch however his pictures were not as he appeared in person, and I think that’s poor form. As in forty pounds heavier than his photos, completely different look, you get it. The term is cat fishing for those of you naive to the online dating world of the current day. Needless to say, I was at that point of literally only looking forward to the motorcycle ride, ugh and I would actually have to hug him as I sat behind him, I thought to myself. I didn’t dare show him this reaction though, I’m a lady, and pride myself on being kind. I was my friendly American self and gleamed with excitement for our ride. Was I nervous about being sold into sex slavery? Not really. I didn’t get a rapist vibe, or even a mob vibe. I got – I’m a mama’s boy, not as edgy as I had portrayed, and I’m stoked that foreign girls live in Paris, as I don’t get much from french girls. So I mounted onto the back of his nice motorcycle…. We sped off and I squealed with excitement when the engine roared.
The motorcycle ride was purely fantastic. Just as I had imagined. It was that movie-set feel. The air was perfect, the lights lit up the monuments, we drifted as if on a runway through traffic weaving in and out of tunnels over bridges watching the Seine river glisten. The hour flew by, and we finally pulled up to my apartment. After my movie set theatrics I felt bad not inviting the Algerian in. Again, certifiable. I had no intentions of even kissing him, but I did have an incredible bottle of Meursault (Burgundy Chardonnay Premier Cru) in the fridge, and some yummy pastries I had purchased from boulangerie Erik Kayser earlier that morning, I thought why not share it?
His face gleamed like a kid in a candy store when I invited him up. My version of what that meant and his were entirely different. As soon as we got into my apartment – the nerves flooded. I was uncomfortable. He was subtly making physical contact by touching my shoulder, placing his hand on the small of my back while I was opening the wine, and I simply was instantly petrified. I just wanted my night cap of Premier Cru Meursault. Not any advances. Well, this anxiety rush taught me a lesson. As soon as I uncorked the wine an intense wave of nausea came over me instantly. I told him rather frantically he “Had to go” He stared at me in confusion. I was literally no doubt appearing crazy, a complete lunatic no one would understand. I’m sure I was also simultaneously turning white as a ghost. I kept repeating “you must go, you must, exit please. Thanks but I CANNOT have you in this apartment for one more second”, He seemed bewildered. He did leave as he kissed me on the cheek, I felt the barf coming up. It was in my esophagus now, no please, please just LEAVE. He walked into the elevator, I walked to my toilet and threw up. I was ferociously sick for five solid minutes.
Note to self. Don’t ride on the back of a motorcycle with a stranger. EVER.
Sebastian, my best friend in Paris came over the next morning with calming teas and anti-nausea pills.