Since writing this post several of you have reached out and requested more dating, sex and relationship stories. I often don’t write in real time, so here’s one from my personal vault – circa a few years ago.
Recently, a friend and I were discussing the topic of hooking up with people in other countries.A few minutes into the discussion I realized that my foreign boot-knocking experience is actually surprisingly limited. I never did the whole backpacking through Europe thing (everyone who did, seems to have some story about hooking up with a hot Spanish dude in a hostel), I’ve never been to an all inclusive resort and I was too broke in university to spend a semester abroad. All of my international travelling has been done with family, my ex, or through my old job. In other words, I’ve just never had a romance abroad – at least not the kind that would inspire a 1980’s Taster’s Choice commercial.
(Anyone who grew up in the 80’s remembers Jean-Luc)
I explained to her, “I’ve never slept with a foreigner. Kissed, flirted with – yes. Sex, no. Well, unless you count The Russian.”
“I feel like there’s a good story here, Simone.”
I then proceeded to tell her exactly what I’m about to tell you.
I met the Russian on my first trip back to Toronto after I left in 2011. The Russian wasn’t actually Russian per se. He was from another former Soviet country, close to where my ancestors are from and had been living in Canada for several years, working as an exec for a successful Canadian company.
I was out for drinks with one of my best friends in Toronto at a bustling restaurant-bar in the Financial District. We hadn’t seen each other since I had left for the West Coast, however it only took a few minutes and a vodka martini (or three) before we were chatting up a storm like not a day had passed. Although the friend I was with that night very much a savvy, whip-smart, self-made woman, she has a tendency to attract, date and socialize with wealthy, high-roller types. She’s also one of the most fearless and confident people I know. So, I wasn’t surprised when an older, moneyed guy and his younger, noticeably attractive friend stopped by our table to say hi.
“Simone, this is ____ (older guy), he’s the CEO of _________ (insert well known Canadian company) and he dated ________(our friend)”
Then, she introduced The Russian.
“Simone, this is ______ (typical Russian name). He’s originally from ________ (insert former-Soviet country.) Typical Russian Name, Simone’s relatives are originally from your country. You guys should talk” she said with a wink.
She didn’t miss a beat before suggesting that the guys buy us a couple of rounds of drinks.
There was no doubt that The Russian was very handsome. He looked like a younger, better looking Mikhail Baryshnikov (my very first celebrity crush): sandy blonde hair, square jaw and blue almond shaped eyes that radiated just the right amount of mischief and sex appeal. Like many of the men on my Mom’s side of the family, he was built like a reverse triangle: broad shoulders, lean and muscular.
Later, when I showed a photo of The Russian to my best-friend, she commented, “He looks like the kind of guy you’d meet on an Olympic podium, not in real life.” She wasn’t far off.
So, when the guys asked us if we’d like to accompany them to their next location, it was a no brainer. A few minutes later we were all hanging out at a very swanky hotel bar known for being a popular hangout for investment banker types, celebrities and high-end escorts alike.
While my friend chatted with CEO guy, The Russian and I were huddled close together at the bar, our legs touching. Although my friend has dated quite a few Russian and Ukrainian guys over the years, I explained that I had never really dated anyone who shared this part of my cultural background.
“Why not?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I guess I don’t know that many Russian, Ukrainian or Polish people outside of my own family. The guys that I have met, always tell me I look like I could be their sister.”
(This is true. My friend’s Ukrainian ex and I look like we could easily be related.)
“You’re beautiful. Not anything like sister to me.” he replied with a wink.
A few hours and quite a few vodkas later, The Russian suggested we all head back to his condo and continue the party there. Back at his place – a sparsely furnished, slick condo on the waterfront; my friend and CEO Guy talked business while The Russian and I vigorously made out in the kitchen. It had been months upon months since I’d had any physical contact from the opposite sex and let’s face it – he was hot. Although the free-flowing vodka definitely didn’t hurt, it wasn’t just the alcohol that was making me feel intoxicated, it was the Russian – the way he smelled (like freshly washed laundry), the feeling of my hands running through his hair, his lilting accent as he whispered in my ear that he thought I was sexy. We had chemistry. This much was clear.
“I’ve never seen you like this!” my friend told me, once I’d been able to pry myself from The Russian’s lips long enough to come up for air.
“You mean single?”
“Well, yeah…and like, clearly ready to mingle!” she replied with a raised eye-brow.
It’s true, this is one of the first times we’d hung out since my big break-up a few months before and the first time she’d ever seen me with my arms wrapped around anyone other than my ex.
When things in the kitchen started to get particularly heated, the Russian and I moved our make-out session into his bedroom where we quickly became a tangle of naked limbs atop of his bed. He tore off my panties and proceeded to go down on me with such precision and vigour that it wasn’t long before I lost my breath as my back was arched in pleasure.
However, thanks to copious amounts of alcohol, when it came time to return the favour, I quickly realized that us actually having sex that night wasn’t going to pan out (see post re: noodle penises.) I took this as a sign that maybe the Universe was trying to tell me something – like, that it was probably time to go home. Chemistry or not – up until that point, one night stands had never been my thing. Maybe it was best to call it quits while I was ahead.
“I should go” I told the Russian.
“Stay. We sleep. I promise” he pleaded.
It was almost 4 in the morning. On a Tuesday. Instead, opted to call a cab.
“I’m going home” I said as I got up and put on my clothes, leaving The Russian naked, lying on his back. I added, “Call me. We’ll pick this up again when we’re both less drunk.”
“Ah. You’ll never call. This is the way.”
“I will, I promise” I told him.
As my friend and I said goodbye, I could hear him calling from the bedroom, “Simone, don’t go.”
I didn’t think I’d ever hear from The Russian again – especially after I (likely) wounded his manhood by walking out on him. However, a few days later I received a text, asking me out again.
The next night we ended up at Czehoski – a hip, popular bar on Queen St with a distinctly Slavic name, and distinctly un-Slavic menu & crowd.
Although a lot of my friends and the people I’ve dated weren’t born in Canada, hanging out with The Russian was the first time I really sensed any kind of cultural difference. Canadians, can be polite to a fault. We often say “sorry” instead of “excuse me” – to the point where it sounds like we’re constantly apologizing. In contrast, The Russian was refreshingly blunt, straight forward and completely unconcerned with political correctness.
We we re once again huddled closely together at the bar, facing each other, our legs practically interlocked when the Russian cut right to the chase.
“So, we go back to my place and have a lot of wild sex, yes? You can sleep over if you want.”
“I’d like that” I replied.
We left the restaurant and walked back to his car – a massive, ridiculous looking, Cadillac Escalade SUV with spinning rims. I climbed inside and quickly noticed that this vehicle could easily seat 8-10 people.
“Are you planning on carpooling with the Brady Bunch?” I asked.
“Ah. No. Brady Bunch is not coming. It seats too many people but I bought it because it’s expensive.”
“You realize this car is ridiculous.”
“Yes, but it’s a good car. Costs a lot of money” he explained as we sped off towards his condo.
Back at his place, he poured me a drink and slid back the top layer of his coffee table to reveal a collection of knives.
“This is my knife collection, Simone. I got them while serving in the Military in ______ (ex-Soviet country)” he explained proudly.
“Huh. Wow. Do you ever worry that showing a bunch of knives to girls you’re interested in sleeping with is…well, a bit creepy?”
“Why? I’m proud of them. Everyone in my country has to do mandatory military service. It’s what makes you a man. That’s what’s wrong with men here. They’re all pussies.”
This was the point where The Russian grabbed me and kissed me passionately.
Clothing was then shed in rapid succession.
“I don’t usually do this” I whispered to him.
“What? Have sex?”
“No, I do that – just not usually with people I barely know.”
“Pfft. Sex is natural. Animals do it. We do it. Everyone in the West is so concerned what other people think. Does this feel good?”
“Yes” I replied with a sigh.
“This is good” he said as he carried me off to the bedroom.
When I got to this point of the story, my friend asked, “So, how was the sex?”
“Like you’d expect.”
“You mean he fucked like a machine?”
“Yep, pretty much.”
Sex with the Russian was passionate and animalistic. After months of chastity, it was exactly what I needed.
Once we’d worn each other out and we were lying in bed getting ready to go to asleep, The Russian confessed to me, “Simone, sometimes I just want to give it all up. The money. The fast lane. Just buy a sailboat and travel all over the world” his accent growing thicker as sleep entered his voice.
“Maybe you should.”
“Yes. yes. yes” he muttered as he drifted off to sleep.
In the morning, he drove me home, we kissed goodbye and made vague plans to see each other again (more a formality than anything else. I knew I’d probably never see him again and that was OK.)
However, when I got home I had this sinking feeling in my gut. It felt like loss. It caught me off guard, yet was achingly familiar and reminded me of why in the past, casual sex had never been my thing. Those heady, post sex, attachment forming hormones can be a real bitch.
Although my attitude towards casual sex has evolved since those early days of being single, at the time my experience with The Russian was a shock to the system. As I told my friend this story, I realized that it was a lot less about culture clashes and foreign love (although, it’s clear that despite sharing cultural ties, The Russian and I are clearly from different worlds) but rather about the kinds of experiences you have when you are single – the ones you have to embrace for what they are: sexy, random, adventures and nothing more.
In other words…
Those chicks from the Taster’s Choice commercial have their Jean-Luc. I’ll always have my Boris.