Lillian’s recent troubles with The Kid, the young American boy she met on her exciting Eat-Pray-Love-Esque journey of self-discovery, have reminded me of my own [decidedly more positive] experiences with a young, travelling American.
Allow me to contextualize: before I came back to my College town to work at my alma mater, I was working at a university in a different part of the country. I was in one of those big cities with lots of people and a thriving youth culture that wasn’t entirely dominated by students. One evening, I went to see a local band play a set at a cool (very alternative!) bar in the city with a couple of friends. As I approached the stage, a young guy standing with a friend smiled at me, and I smiled back, before walking past. Through the course of the show, I kept catching him staring at me until, on a brief foray out of the sea of rhythmically writhing bodies, I wandered past where he was having a drink with his [quite attractive] friend. He caught my eye and started talking. “Oh. American!” I thought, not thinking much of it. I knew some Americans, they were nice enough, so it was more an observation than a judgment. We got talking, he wanted to know what I did [scientist!] and where I was from [somewhere far away], and I asked the same of him. He wanted me to tell him whether he was from the U.S or Canada – not realizing that I know enough Canadians to totally kill that test. We chatted for a while, my friend (a beautiful girl who is used to getting lots of attention) flirted with his friend and then we decided to move on. The American boys came too.
It wasn’t until much later that I giggled looking back on this particular evening – The American pretty much followed me around, obtaining my number just as I was leaving to catch a taxi home, and revealing what he called “American paranoia” by texting me “just to check” before I had even made it through my front door. Flattered by the attention (something that I don’t often get much of) and rather intrigued by the confident, seemingly intelligent and not-unattractive American boy, I agreed to have drinks with him after work later that week.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Whether it was his innate sense of self-confidence, or something I like to think of as American charm, we hit it off immediately. The American was a liberal arts student from a [rather famous] American university on a six-month exchange to the city, he was intelligent, scientifically literate [you have no idea how attractive this is to scientists! Minoring in cool sciences didn’t hurt him either…], well-read and had incredible taste in music. What started out as after-work drinks ended in two very, very hungry people at around 11 pm. We had spent six hours talking about music, science, literature, theatre, where we were from. We discovered a mutual love of The National (they are amazing, but weren’t nearly so famous at the time. Along with knowledge of Monty Python, they are my litmus test of whether people are cool enough to get to know) and Jonathan Franzen novels. When, at 11 that evening, we both decided that we were too hungry to delay leaving any further, I caught a cab home with the knowledge that we would definitely be hanging out again soon.
The American and I became great friends over the next few weeks. We saw movies and went to bars and abused his Netflicks account (can that just go global now, please?). We discussed literature and shared music and borrowed books and, as the natural progression between two young people who like one another and find one another attractive goes, ended up sleeping together in one of the best, most mutually beneficial situations I have ever been involved in. I had a really good friend, with whom I had lots in common, who I also happened to find rather attractive and got to sleep with on a regular basis.
And oh my goodness was he talented. They are definitely teaching them something in America. I’ll spare you the details, but you can imagine it. (Plus, on a scale similar to Lil’s, he’d get an A+ for stamina, creativity and skill and an A for body. Generally a very good decision on my part, I think.)
It’s the best situation I’ve ever been in. I don’t deal well with commitment – I find it stifling and a bit scary. I am one of those [rather rare] girls that can do casual. I like it. He was there on exchange, I was moving back to my alma mater, we had a bit [lot] of fun for a couple of months and wished one another well at the end of it. It was relaxed, it was casual, it was good, but most of all it was fun.
So, while Lil had trouble with her younger, American conquest, I have nothing but good things to say about mine. I appreciated his intelligence, his taste, his wit… and his body. We keep in vague contact – he makes witty comments on my Facebook activity that are unparalleled, sends me things that he thinks I’d find interesting (mostly pertaining to my research interests), asks for my opinion on new things that he is writing and reminds me to buy new albums that I’ll enjoy.
Would I do it again? A resounding yes! Do I think I’ll ever revisit this particular situation? Probably not, I don’t see any reason to risk ruining something so good by trying to recreate it. But do I like American boys? Oh yes. A thousand times, yes.