Romance is a mystery everyone longs for but few know how to navigate. That's where Poptek's Andrew Ingram comes to help. A world traveler and a world reknown lover, your questions will finally have some answers as Ingram shares his vast wisdom of the wonder of when a man becomes enravished in the beauty of a woman.
Dating Dayton (Vol 3.): Andrew and the Greek Dude (But It's Not What You Think).
Here is some very, very important advice for all of you men. And I'll get to the spoiler right away. Dating Advice #7: A good woman is precious, special, rare, valuable, and unique. She is worth any sacrifice or humiliation you have to go through to prove your love to.
If we, as men, think a woman is an attraction who we can just pay for and walk away from, then we are doing it wrong. If we think women are free to have or gaze upon for our pleasure, without any cost or sacrifice, we are also doing it wrong. Love is so much more than a quick arousal. I have learned this lesson the hard way so let me tell you about my greatest mistake.
I was on my way to Greece to get away, experience a new place, and to celebrate Easter a week later than non-Greeks observe. Athens was my first destination and I would continue on to the islands of Rhodes and Patmos. I received some friendly travel advice from a Greek friend of mine. It's OK. I won't mention him by name but I am sure you all can guess who it was. His advice was that Greeks love, love, love the foreigner. So he assured me I would feel right at home.
A few hours after my arrival, I was aimlessly walking around the streets of Athens when I was approached by a local asking for the time. This older man, probably in his 60's, clean shaven and wearing silver hair, a polo and khakis, approached me speaking English. It was obvious he thought I was American or British. I really hope he thought I was British. After giving him the time, we struck up a long conversation, right there on the street corner, full of broken English, confused nods, and details about how this man, I call him Corfu George, had retired from the oil industry in Houston, was returning home to Corfu, and just loved America and us Americans.
My friend's comment about the hospitality of the Greeks was playing out right before my eyes, but I wasn't so sure yet. It takes a long time for me to come to trust someone, much less a stranger on the streets of a country I do not know. Since it was Easter, I decided to randomly drop the one Greek phrase that I know in to the conversation. "Christos Anesti" ("Χριστός ἀνέστη!"- Christ is Risen) is a call and response used on Easter. Those who know respond "Alithos Anesti" ("Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!" - "Truly He is Risen!" or "He Has Risen Indeed!"). So I Greek-phrase-dropped. Corfu George responded accordingly. My guard was now down.
Then the situation changed. Like in a Eureka moment, George suddenly exclaimed "Let's go get a drink." "Wow, Greeks really are hospitable", I thought. So we walked and walked. We passed many other watering holes. After at least ten blocks we arrived at the Kremlin Music Club. It was a small, clean, quiet place. We entered, passed the bartender as he was serving two customers, to go and take our place among two couches at the back of the club. George was jovially carrying the conversation with a wierd concoction of Greek expressions and English phrases that I just confusingly nodded in agreement with.
Here is a secret, I do this a lot. I pride myself on being a good listener. Dating Advice #8: Every woman wants to be with a good listener. Yet even in conversations in my native tongue, I hate conflict so much that I may just nod along in apparent agreement, just to avoid breaking up the flow of the conversation. If I get to the point when I just silently glare at you, without any nods or vocal confirmations, that's when I am in absolute and angered disagreement. But you will never be able to know that. And that is the way I like it.
So back to Corfu George. After a few minutes more of awkward but friendly conversation, the situation changed yet again. The two who we passed at the bar, who I thought were regulars, came back to join us. Turns out they were "regulars" indeed- two young, attractive women who "wanted to talk". They "wanted to talk", to me, a handomish 30-something man. That was completely understandable. I was with Corfu George though, not George Clooney. Let's just say that George was way past his prime and that he had no desire to make his post-prime looks in any way presentable. So even though I don't know any Greek besides what I have lifted from my friends' Greek Easter celebrations, I could tell that "talking" in Greece is much more explicit than I learned earning a Communications degree in the States.
My heart dropped. Feelings that I can describe in no other way than "uckiness" rushed to my extremities. I was aware of what was happening yet completely confused and in shock. My guard was back up and so I refused their advances. For all that I said previously about hating conflcit, I can be a jerk to someone in no time flat if I really need to be.
The drinks that were supposed to be a treat from Corfu George now were on my Euro so that I could get out of there. George's countenance manicly changed from happy-go-lucky to dim and sad. With a frown and in a heavy Greek accent he asked "What, you don't like?" When I finally shook my head in disapproval, he then unexpectedly asked "Want to go get fish?". Again, I don't know Greek and so I have no idea what that means but I was not going to find out. I got out of there, still not sure what I had escaped, but feeling scarred and dirty nonetheless.
I hurriedly walked as far away as I could get and then when I knew I would not run in to Corfu George again, I made my way to my hotel. The feelings of violation and filth hadn't blown away with the Athenian wind during the hurried escape. I felt like I needed to vent and make myself accountable to my friends back home. Had I done something wrong? Was I guilty by association? Did I partially fall for one of the oldest tourist cons in the book? Regardless of my innocence, that close of a brush with something so illegal just made me feel guilty. So from the hotel I sent a bunch of emails to those I trust the most. My Greek friend, who will shall remain unnamed, responded, "Oh yeah, prostitution is legal over there."
Corfu George was trying to get his jollies on, and was probably trying to get me to foot the bill. Or they were all trying to get my clothes off and steal my money. Whatever the illicit intention, that leads us to this, Dating Advice #9: Never trust your Greek bandmate's advice.