Saturday, February 27, 2010

An American Affair in London

A Monday night in London. Two hot single Americans meet up in an apartment in Chelsea. After doing the required round of casual catching up, what else is there to do in London, but go to the Pub? So, off to the Pub we go. But unfortunately we only have time for one pint before we are kicked out. For some absurd reason Pubs close at 11 pm here - even on the weekends. So, said Pub sends us over to strange "smelly" (they did warn us) dive bar/lounge across the road. They were right, the place smelled bad and at 20 pounds for 2 drinks, it wasn't even cheap! I mean if you are in a dive bar/lounge, at least the very least the drinks should be cheap! After one drink and several funny pictures later, we decide that the only good thing about the overpriced and smelly place was the company (meaning us) and the conversation so we decided to head back to my apartment and continue to drink there.

As I've decided this blog is rated PG 13 (I accidentally told my parents about it), the rest of the night is censored, but you get the picture - cuz you're smart like that. But let's just say the boy still looked fabulous without a shirt on!

After approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes of sleep, needless to say, the next day at work was not fun. I found myself unable to finish any sentences because I kept loosing the point of what I was saying and forgetting to listen when other people spoke. It's amazing what sleep deprivation can do to you (and I am not even a person who generally needs a lot of sleep). I actually managed to speak on the phone to the manager of my Russian team for about an hour and hang up with literally no memory of the entire conversation. However, because I am kind of awesome at my job, I have perfected a very good auto-response mode. I can make really good sounds as if I'm actually listening to people while paying absolutely no attention at all. I think I'm pretty good at this - at least no one has really called me out on it yet. I also have a really good radar that enables me to tune back in for really the important parts. The problem is that by the time I realize that they are actually talking about something important, it's a bit late and I have to ask them to repeat themselves. But this is usually taken care of easily by a simple: "I'm sorry. The connection is bad and I missed that last part, can you repeat it? (Thanks to Skype and poor international mobile phone connections - this is usually pretty believable)

Anyway, continuing with my newly found rock star lifestyle, the Hot American Boy and I decide to take on the London nightlife on a Tuesday night. What do you know? There is quite a lot of nightlife to be found in London on a Tuesday night! After an amazing dinner of Indian food with the best Chicken Tikka Masala I have ever had, we went to Boujis a nightclub rumored to be a fun place during the week. Let's just say Boujis lived up to its reputation. To quote the Hot American "A Tuesday night in London is way better than any Saturday night in Boston." The place was great. The music was ok (he is a DJ so we did spend a lot of time critiquing the music and talking about how he could totally do it better). He liked to dance. I liked to dance. And we had great fun dancing and drinking together.

But the best part of the night was definitely the extreme mopping. Suddenly not one but two men wielding mops appeared on the dance floor. It seemed that their instruction was make sure to keep mopping all the time for as many hours as the club was open. HILARIOUS! I have never seen anything like it. We speculated a lot about what the reason could be behind the extreme mopping... We convinced ourselves that there must have been a major incident - possibly even a death - that caused the need for this particular club to pay TWO men to mop all night and physically move unsuspecting dancers and drinkers out of their way so they could make absolutely sure they kept the floor absolutely slip-free. The mop men took their jobs very seriously. They had their eyes to the floor the whole night circling the club - at times shining flashlights to make sure there weren't any puddles lurking about in the shadows. We were a witness to one serious crash as a drink fell and smashed all over the floor sending dangerously spraying liquid all over the floor where drunken dancers might accidentally fall victims. But we were very relived to see that the mop men had it covered. They seemed to have a special radar because in 2.5 seconds of the glass crashing, both mop men were there, running from across the room to clear the glass and liquid ensuring a safe environment for the drunken dancers.

But even rock stars need their sleep, and after another late night we finally headed home. I had decided to take the next day off from work so thankfully we got to sleep in. Miraculously we woke without hangovers and decided to go for a run in the park. I am a really good runner and I work out a lot. Usually when others work out with me they tend to regret it for the next few days as I make them do interval running, push ups, lunges, squats, step-ups for a minimum of one hour. I also have a competitive spirit that borders on unhealthy. So, of course I felt the need to tell the Hot American Boy it was ok if he felt he couldn't keep up with me... BAD IDEA. Note to self, when a guy has a six-pack, do not challenge them to a running competition. I was trying to make out like the tough girl that I pretend I am, but secretly I wanted to die the entire run - I couldn't breath! We ran way faster then I'm used to and did lots of push ups and burpys (not sure of the spelling here buyt it involves throwing yourself on the ground then jumping straight up in the air over and over again). He even did lunges better than me! When we finally got back to the house, I claimed "first shower" and hid myself immediately in the bathroom where I laid on the floor for the next 10 minutes trying not to throw up.

The rest of the day was spent in a more relaxed and less competitive manner with a trip to the V&A Museum where we saw an amazing Digital Design Exhibit, followed by afternoon tea (how British) and then a trip to Harrod's. I really hate shopping but for some reasons Harrod's is one of my favorite places in the world! It feels more like a Museum than a department store and I find it amazing how may luxury, unique and random things you can manage to stumble upon. Then back to my apartment where we opted for a night in with take-out and movies and cuddles on the coach. I admit... I was starting to really fall for this guy.

One interesting dynamic between me and the The Hot American boy is that we are both from the same place. We went to the same school, had the same teachers, knew the same people, had similar childhood experiences and reference points. I have lived abroad for so long now, that I forget what it's like to connect with someone just because we are from the same place. In my office of 150 people, we have 32 different nationalities, I spend my days explaining myself, trying to understand others, trying to relate to other cultures and looking for common ground. I had forgotten how powerful a connection of "hometown" can be.

But more important than the hometown connection, we seemed to be able to connect in the present as well. To be honest, I had kind of thought of his as just another pretty boy... I didn't expect much from him intelligence-wise or compatibility-wise. I apologize in advance for whoever I'm about to offend with this next part - it is most likely (as you will see has been proven) that my prejudices and stereotypes are part of my own ignorance and not the other way around... The thing is, this boy is from Western Mass. He is AMERICAN (I haven't dated an American since I left America 8 years ago). I expected him to be like the stereotype I have of an American boy from Western Mass (I won't go into details here). I also kind of expected him to be stupid or at least not that intelligent (because he's hot, not because he's American). But the Hot American Boy totally proved me wrong impressed me with his worldly knowledge and experience (he has traveled to quite a few places). In addition to having an impressive job and being seemingly a reliable and honest person, he is completely open-minded, moderately well-read, and open to new people and adventures, and curious about the world. He loves to travel and seemed envious of all the travel I had done and didn't seem to mind listening to my stories. Our common interest in traveling and general curiousness about the world even had me in a brief delusional moment vividly fantasizing about backpacking through South East Asia with him (something we both want to do)...

In addition to his general hotness, the fact that he looks fabulous without a shirt on, that we had tons of fun together, that we had great conversations, everything with him just felt so easy. We just got along. We never ran out of things to talk about, but were able to exist in silence without it being awkward. There was no arguing, no complications, no hidden agendas, no manipulations, no stress - just fun! He even gave me compliments on how I looked "your hair looks amazing" and on my clothes! If all that wasn't enough, the deal sealer was the boy even helped clean up around the house! Seriously. He won major points for making the bed (I can't stand an unmade bed) and doing the dishes and when he noticed that the table we had been eating on was messy, he even found the Windex and wiped it down! I love a man who knows how to clean - especially when he doesn't have to be asked (or nagged). What can be more sexy than that?

If the days we had spent together could be considered a first date, it was one of the best first dates ever! It almost restored my faith in men. It was admittedly the most fun I've had with a man since my Ex - the Beautiful Swede - he was maybe even better than the Beautiful Swede. My time with him was at least definitely way better then when the Swedish Adventurer came to visit. Rather than counting the hours until he would leave, I was wishing that time would stop and we could keep hanging out. But all good things must come to an end. And sadly, no further relationship was discussed and no feelings were revealed - I am not one for sappy relationship conversations and in fact, I try to avoid them at all costs. What would be the point anyway? He lives in Boston. I live in London. And also, I have to admit there was still a little bit of awkwardness surrounding the fact that I was essentially still "just his friend's sister." So, when he shut the door to go and catch his plane, I turned back to my empty apartment to face the harsh reality that my fun fling with the Hot American was over. I hate to admit it, but I felt really sad when he left and I kind of miss him...

I guess it's back to good old for me.

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