Calling all the Single ladies (or the not so single ladies because we can all enjoy awkward romantic encounters abroad)!

This is what it looks like when a creepy guy gives you “the eye”.

Welcome to the joy of awkward romantic encounters abroad. Are you biologically considered a woman? Do you possess a pulse (This one is optional for some men)? Then chances are you have endured the excruciating agony of being hit on abroad.

You know, that painfully awkward moment when some heinous beast of a man (who more closely resembles Gollum from the Lord of the Rings), thinks he’s Don Juan and decides to make a move and go in for the kill (he closely resembles a shark ravenously swimming after some chum. Yum!).

Sigh. Why can’t guys like this hit on me and say something like that?

Meanwhile, you’re over there, with a huge backpack, trying to find your hotel (Its been 45 minutes but you can do it yourself and don’t need a cab even though you’re dying. I mean calling a cab is the ultimate sign of weakness! LoL.), sweating like a pig, smelling like a barnyard because you just hopped off a twenty five hour flight with 3 layovers, and this joker picks right NOW to hit on you. Awesome, just freaking awesome. Then you wonder, why don’t the Abercrombie and Fitch models ever swagger on over and attempt to befriend you, or take advantage of you? Geez. It’s always the weirdos who seem to creep on up into your personal space.

As he slinks on over, you see that gleam in his eye and that swagger in his gate which indicates that he thinks you’re just the cat’s meow (among other things and yes, I just used that totally archaic phrase). When this happens, I kind of want to scream, “Seriously? You are doing this to me now? Can’t you see that I look and smell like crap and have knots the size of tennis balls in my hair? You need to get some glasses because as you can see, now is not the time to bother me! Why don’t you go scamper back into the hole out of which you crawled?” But no. You can’t say that because you have a conscience and a soul.

Have you heard of ugly pretty? Well, this is the ugly ugly face I make when “creepers attack”.

At this point in our all too familiar tale, your fight or flight reflexes kick in since you have no idea who this joker is and if he will be harmful to your physical well-being. That’s why you run (Okay. Run is being generous here. It’s more of a slow waddle.) But you move as fast as you can and try to lose him by making a series of turns that only Harry Potter himself could possibly follow (shout out to my fellow wizard loving, Harry Potter nerds).

Nine times out of ten, this survival tactic is highly effective, unless of course you just can’t seem to lose him (kind of like that annoying aunt that never seems to go home during the holidays. Aunt Mildred, I know this is a shock but you don’t live here!).

As he approaches you , you feel like you just got hit by a mac truck of testosterone and carnal desires (where’s my rape whistle and mace?). I have had many of these painful encounters and share them before you for both your amusement and pleasure. So here they are, in all their glory, my 8 most awkward romantic encounters abroad.

1. Family Reunion (Lima, Peru)

This picture perfectly reflects how I felt in that moment. I had to go to the bathroom and kept wondering, “why is it always me?”

I know enough Spanish to get by, but not enough to be considered fluent by any stretch of the imagination (Think like three year old Spanish where they sort of make sense. Sometimes). So, I am standing outside a museum in Lima, Peru, struggling to ask the security guard, in Spanish, how to get back to my hotel. He tells me that he’ll call me a taxi, so I relax and kind of check out of the conversation.

In the next breath, he asks me to be his girlfriend and to travel with him to Cuzco to visit his family in October (All I could think was are you going to make me a human sacrifice to the Incan Gods or something?). At first I thought I misunderstood his Spanish, but no. I was totally correct.

Needless to say, I was totally creeped out and graciously declined since, sadly, I would be out of the country at that time. Well, he wouldn’t take no for an answer and insisted on taking my phone number and email address (both of which were fake) so he could visit me in New York. In my head, I thought, “No dude. No one invited you to visit me.” I swear, I have was never been so happy to see a taxi.

2. Bathing Suits are optional (Galapagos Islands, Ecuador)

I arrived in the Galapagos and decided to wander through the dusty streets of Puerto Ayora. As I meandered along the tiny, main road, a souvenir art shop caught my eye. I strolled over and slowly weaved through the various aquatic prints that were on display.

As I perused the merchandise, the owner strolled over and asked me if I would enjoy a massage. I agreed since well, who doesn’t love a massage? I envisioned a deep tissue, swedish massage in some fancy back room that had the smell of Aragon and tea tree oils wafting through the air (or whatever fancy smells are in a spa nowadays).

I’d rather get a massage from this Blue Footed Booby, thank you very much (creeper is the real booby for sure)!

Instead, he led me over to a love seat in the middle of the store and asked me to sit down. Confused as hell, I sat down and thats when he began gently rubbing my back. At this moment I thought “Stranger danger! Stranger danger! Run away! ” But I convinced myself to stay because we were in a public souvenir shop in the middle of the afternoon.  Anyone could come in at any moment, so I thought I was safe.

Well, that’s when this weirdo undid the tie on my bikini top. In about five seconds flat, I was out the door, down the block, and back in my hotel room, panting with relief that I got away but also angry that I was  so naive (the only way I would have run faster is if I saw Justin Timberlake dangled in front of me like a fine piece of cake).

Listen you BLEEP, I don’t live in a nudist colony so i’ll keep my bathing suit on in public, thank you very much (Such a scary and weird experience. Always be careful out there ladies. You never know when something bad could happen. Now onto more jokes!).

3. The Shoe Monger (Paris, France)

Scene: Kelly is not so gracefully strolling along the Seine as she tries to open up a soda and eat a baguette with cheese at the same time (not a wise decision Kelly). As cheese gracefully wafts to the ground, Kelly looks up and sees a man, staring longingly at her feet.

Flamboyantly the Man says (after asking in french and then switching to English because I don’t speak French): “I like your shoes, where did you get them?”

I recover what little dignity I have after the “shoe incident” and manage to compose myself enough to take a selfie.

Kelly: (With a raised eyebrow of bemusement) “Oh, I got these from Toms on sale. I love them. It’s the only thing I own that I feel cool wearing.”

Man: “I want them. They are very nice.”

Kelly: “Well, they’re women’s shoes so I don’t know if they would fit you.”

Man: “Will you go out with me?”

Kelly: (In shock and awe) “But aren’t you gay? (I swear it came out before I knew what I was saying. I really thought he was gay)”

Man: “Not that I know off.”

Kelly: (Thinking to herself, well this is awkward.) “I actually have to meet a friend. Sorry. Lot”s of friends to meet. Bye.”

(Kelly shuffles away with cheese and breadcrumbs falling behind her. Her ears are bright red with embarrassment and she wishes that the river would just swallow her whole.)

END SCENE (Awkward situation, party of one? )

4. You Make Sick Look Good (Lugu Lake, China)

I was sick. Like really sick. Like throwing up, with liquid magma burning out the other end, for the three days sick. I was sweaty and stinky and couldn’t find the strength to stand up, let alone talk to anyone. Then I heard a knock on the door and groaned in protect because there are no other bathrooms in the hotel, and I didn’t know how to say, “Go Away!” in Chinese.

That’s what he was thinking!!

So I just put my head against the cool tile and groaned as loudly as I could. I prayed that this animal like noise would  deter anyone from entering. Then I heard a man utter in English, “Hey, are you okay ?” I recognized the voice. It was the twenty something receptionist that I had met when I checked into the hotel. We had chatted because he had gone to college in the US and I was from the US, so clearly we had SOO much in common.

To this question I replied, “Just peachy. You know, just projectile vomiting all of my internal organs out of my body. But other than that I’m pretty stellar.” I hear a chuckle through the door and then to my astonishment, he says, “Hey, we should go out. I mean, when you’re feeling better.” I wanted to be like, “Really? You ask me this now when I still have chunks of vomit in my hair? Could you possibly have picked a worse time to hit on me?” But I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I angrily replied, “Sure. I’ll let you know when bodily fluids stop exploding out of every orifice of my body.”

5. Can I take you home as my dessert? (Paris, France)

I’m sorry, but when you send me desserts like this, I feel like it’s love.

I had traveled to Paris alone and was having dinner at one of the only restaurants with an assortment of vegetarian main courses to choose from. To my delight, this restaurant also had a rather delicious waiter. Like super hot. Like surface of the sun hot. The kind of guy you try and talk to, but his insane level of hotness makes it completely impossible for words to actually come out. So instead, you just kind of stand there and grin at him awkwardly, like a twelve year old girl who doesn’t
know how to talk to boys.

Well, to my delight, I guess I wasn’t as awkward as I thought because he gave me an extra dessert and a free drink. So immediately I thought, “Finally! A nice hot guy. I totally need to take advantage of this.” So I thanked him for his kindness and asked him about himself, at which point he dropped the atomic bomb of all bombs. He was married (You should have seen the sorrow and disappointment that engulfed my face at this very moment)!!! I then indignantly asked him why he had sent me the free food and drinks. To which he replied, “Oh. You were all alone and looked really sad. So I thought I would make you feel better.” In this moment, I simultaneously loved him and totally hated him. I don’t want your pity dessert (I’ll actually take that dessert to go because I can’t let it go to waste.)!!

I’m sorry, I still can’t get over the desserts this guy sent me. Plus, he even brought the chef out to meet me. He just did;t know it was true love.

6. Who needs pants to Party? (Quito, Ecuador)

This one time, (at band camp) at a barbecue in Ecuador, there was a man that had a little too much to drink. We all smiled as he slurred his words and then watched in horror as he took of his pants and streaked around the party.

It was at this moment that the aforementioned man decided to ask me out in gibberish since he was drunk and couldn;t speak Spanish, let alone English. He even gestured wildly to his penis and kept saying, “Good yeah?” At this moment, my inner New Yorker kicked in and I replied, “No. Not really. I need a magnifying glass to see that.” Yeah, he had no idea what I said and just staggered off into the sunset, to find a friend to translate.

7.  Sister Wife Woes (Nazca, Peru)

I was in Peru and dying to see the Nazca Lines (Really mysterious lines in the desert that form random shapes and can only be seen from a plane. They’re Area 51 weird because no one knows how they got there).But since Nazca, Peru is not the safest city, I asked the manager of my hotel to pick me up. Awesome, or so I thought.

When I finally emerged from the bus, I scanned the crowd for what I hoped would be my savior. Instead, I found a rather rotund, Peruvian man with a sign that had my name on it. “Shoot”, I thought. “Why couldn’t he be hot?”

To distract you from this incredible tale of misfortune, I present this enchanting picture of the Nazca Lines (it’s a humming bird, in case you couldn’t tell).

After I got over my initial disappointment, he took me to an ATM since locals sometimes rob foreigners there. On the way over he asked, “Are you hungry? Would you like to get some food?” Well, I had no idea he meant it as a date until I looked over and he had that unmistakable gleam in his eye. I nervously replied, “Oh no. I’m stuffed. Thanks though.” Even though I was dying of hunger and my gurgling stomach kind of gave me away (Stupid stomach! What is it with you and needing to eat? Geez).

At this point I kind of thought the conversation was over, until he remarked, “You should stay down here. I have one wife and could always use another?” For a brief moment I couldn’t believe what I had heard. This must be some weird joke or a weird initiation ritual for Americans in Peru. But nope. He was serious and there was no Ashton Kutcher to inform me that I was being punked. Thank God I just laughed half heartedly and he dropped the conversation.

I will say though, when I got back to the hotel, I met his wife and she was smokin’ hot. Like blonde freakin’ bombshell status. I wondered how he ended up with such a good looking wife, but then I considered both his wealth and all the coca (to make cocaine) that is grown in Peru, and it all made sense.

8. The Family Man (Lima, Peru)

I have this habit of attracting weirdos (hence this post). It is like a moth to a flame, I swear. Somehow, they always emerge from their black swamp of social awkwardness and seem to find me (Must be my pheromones or all that perfume I don’t wear. What can I say though, it’s a gift really. LoL). Well, this last creeper was actually about 70 years old. I thought he was harmless because well, he was old. How bad could he really be (famous last words)?

I met him while walking down the street. He offered to show me around town and since he seemed harmless enough, I agreed. We then hopped on a bus and went to a local restaurant with a beautiful view. After, we even enjoyed a cup of coffee before heading home.

Everything was fine, until I tried to get into a cab to go home (we went home separately. I am not into sugar daddies). Before I could get in, he broke out this sob story about how his family was so sick and if only he had money and a loving woman to take care of him and his family.

After this intense proclamation (I didn’t believe a word of it), he then tried to stroke my hand. But I quickly yanked it away in protest, startled by his forwardness. Thank God the cab driver conveniently honked his horn so that I had an excuse to duck inside.Really dodged a bullet in that one. Blech. (#firstratecreeper. And yes, I embraced my millennial status and used a hashtag in my post. Please don’t judge me. It was for humorous purposes only).

Final Thoughts (Jerry Springer anyone?)

These stories are meant to be comical. But in all seriousness, I urge all female, solo travelers to be extra careful out there. Thank God nothing seriously bad ever happened to me, but in many of these situations, I needlessly put myself in danger. Something horrible could have easily happened, but I got lucky.  That’s why I want to remind my readers to be vigilant and cautious of strangers in a foreign country. Yes, you want to have fun and trust people, but safety is always the most important thing when traveling. Never forget that!