I recently got back from a trip to Europe alone. No friends, no group, no man – just me.
Fairly recently I went through a break up. I was devastated. I had been on a few dates, but nothing to jump up and down about. So… I decided on this solo trip, I was going to date. Initially I didn’t really act on this decision when I landed in Oslo, Norway – my first stop. Then I went to Stockholm, Sweden.
Stockholm is a spectacular and cold city full of very kind and warm people that mostly resemble Neil Patrick Harris and Heidi Klume. I was determined to sample the local cuisine and can not remember one memorable piece of food. The Swedes are super health conscious which probably explains why the men were hot and the food was…well…healthy.
Enter tinder. I don’t care what men say in mixed company. They only care how a woman looks. Is he attracted to her? Tinder starts with that and works backwards…which is how men date in real life. For those out of the know. You open the app and see a picture. If you like how he/she looks you swipe right. If you feel the person is more troll, less someone you’d like to play hide the salami with, you swipe left.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
So I started swiping as soon as I landed. The app seemed to think I was still in Oslo, Norway where I began my trip and this was disappointing as I started getting messages from men in Oslo – but I’d already gone.
So I paid $20 with Google wallet that enables me to change the location. Now I was in business.
I got a message from a young man from Mozambique that had just left Stockholm and was now in Oslo. He is a chef and our short exchange revealed an interesting and charming man. He insisted I meet one of his friends in Stockholm. I soon heard from him that he wanted me to text his friend.
In the meantime, I got a message from a young man that had been adopted as a kid and raised in Sweden but is of Indian descent. He asked me to meet for coffee. I was going to go to a museum, but sure why not? I had my first Tinder date! We had coffee and awesome conversation about Stockholm and the States. He walked me to the train and I went my way.
On the train back, I text my new virtual friend from Mozambique’s friend. He told me he was free later and that we could meet but the time was not set. So I continue my tourist stuff, take the hop on hop off bus, and wander the streets of Stockholm. I visit the Medieval Museum that shows how life was in the 1400’s. I have a renewed appreciation of indoor plumbing and the cessation of blood letting.
Then the coffee date text that he had a great time and really wanted to kiss me. Could he take me to dinner? Well I had plans for drinks, but not dinner. So dates two and three were set. Weird thing about dating at home. Men make dates with you and may or may not even show up. I was even stood up for senior prom. (A story for another time) Here, at least in my experience, men were doing what they said they would do. If I was meeting someone at 15:00 they were there at 14:55.
So I meet guy two for dinner. It was more interesting conversation and learning about the Swedish way of life. He walks me to my room and I get a few really nice kisses. He was very respectful and left when I told him I wanted to call it a night. I go back in my room and see a text from Mozambique guy’s friend. Am I still free for a drink? I’m tired but I agree to meet him in my hotel bar.
Soon after I arrive in the psuedo hipster hotel lounge, in walks a handsome African man with the warmest smile. I’m definitely happy that I stayed awake for drinks. And we talk. He’s a fascinating man that is also from Mozambique and has lived in London. He volunteered in Sweden with the recent refuge crisis and had the coolest tattoos peeking from under his shirt.
We are so lost in conversation that we don’t notice the bar is closing. He walks me to my door and kisses me goodnight. He’s a man and I’m sure he wants more but again, he is completely respectful and simply hugs me and kisses me goodnight. As I’m lying in bed that night, I check my phone. A few more tinder messages. I respond and a guy asks me to dinner the next night. Well I have to eat, right? The next day, my last full one in Stockholm finds me being super tourist. I awake and ride the hop on hop off bus.
I visit the Vasa Museum which is a museum built around a Viking warship that sank in the 1600’s.I visit the Abba Museum and a museum dedicated to fashion. The Abba Museum let’s you record a song and music video while discovering little known facts about Sweden’s most famous band. I relearn how much of a stereotype all Black folks being able to sing and dance truly is.
I also walk the streets. The leaves falling offer a colorful backdrop to the day and I truly enjoyed my own company. By now, I’m beat, but I’d already made the date. So I return for a brief hour to my hotel to freshen up and then head out to date four, guy three.
We met at an Irish pub. No drinks this time. He is handsome but smelled of heavy smoke. That is always a turn off for me. Once we talked I discovered the other reason I wasn’t super attracted to him…he was from Turkey. Turkish men are hot, incredibly hot. But I’m still licking wounds from my last relationship and he was half Turkish. As I hear the Usher song, “You Remind Me” in my head, I know this is no match.
But he was really nice. He told me how he drives every summer for his 7 week paid vacation to Turkey. How Bulgaria always makes him pay the official something on the side to pass through. How peaceful life is in Stockholm but also how he was bored of it.
We talked but my lack of attraction and fatigue were getting the best of me. I wanted to rest. He was very sweet and walked me to my hotel. I gave him a sincere and warm hug and bid adieu. He later text me that if I wanted sex…he was down. Lol! Men are always going to be men.
And I thought that was the end of my Stockholm dating odyssey. But I had one more message. We text back and fourth for a good hour. I was leaving the next day. He is from France but his mother is Lebanese and he worked in the office building and next door to my hotel. Well, we could meet for coffee. My flight wasn’t leaving until the afternoon.
So I sleep late, finally catching up on missed sleep. I go to shops in the train station next door and grab a coffee.
I am a part of a virtual group of mostly African American travelers. There was a horrific bus crash last year and two people in the group died. One young woman is still recovering almost a year later. A survivor of the crash asks for magnets as a small token to help lift the spirits of a very strong survivor from all over the world. I commit to getting one in Stockholm and picked one up after getting coffee.
I return and settled into the hotel lobby preparing for my flight to Vienna. But I realized I left something in my room. When I come back, the sexiest man I have seen in a very long time is standing there.
He greets me with the cheek to cheek kiss. This dude is tall and fiiine. Then he opens his mouth and has a French accent. I must have been a very good girl because Santa brought me an early gift. He’s tall. He smells like French sex, and he has eyes like an International Coffee commercial. *swoon*
His personality is big and he’s super outgoing. I talk A LOT! But he probably talks more. And so we talked. About everything. He’s funny and sharp, and nice. The time flew by. But he had to go back to work, and I had to catch a flight.
So he leans in, tells me I have beautiful eyes, and kisses me, and I melt. Then he hugs me and tells me how nice it was to meet me.
No, it was nice to meet HIM!
He kisses me again, hugs me again, and leaves. I grab my things and head to the airport.
Later I get a text from him. “The world is a small place, perhaps we will meet again. It was short but a lovely moment”. And what is life but a series of moments strung together?