If you read the tabloids with any regularity, you no doubt remember Cameron Diaz’s famous declaration from 2010: “I’m always traveling for cock.” If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I’m with Cammy on this one.
To be sure, my cross-border penis expeditions are overwhelmingly fruitful, sometimes to the point of falling in love with men I intended only to bed.
The story I’m about to tell, however, is not one of success.
Nor is it particularly funny, or at least living through it hasn’t been. But I am nonetheless going to recount the tale to you in a mostly humorous manner, if only to sort-of preserve my dignity and self-respect.
I am also going to give you some pretty pictures to look at, because let’s face it: I didn’t travel to Norway only for cock.
A few days before I began my recent trip to Australia in Melbourne, I received a Facebook message from a fellow traveler named Anders. He was a fan of my blog and not only that, but would actually be in Melbourne at the same time as me!
Or not, as per the follow-up message he sent shortly thereafter stated: Anders had decided to leave Australia earlier than intended. But don’t worry, he assured me, I’m sure we’ll meet someday.
Over the several months that followed our virtual introduction, I kept up with Anders’ journey via my Facebook news feed, from when he snorkeled with jellyfish in Palau, to when he teased snow monkeys in Japan, all the way up to the day he called it quits in Amman, Jordan. As someone who’s made a life out of documenting his own travels, it was refreshing to find that the wanderings of another person could engage me enough to read regularly.
Initially, I felt no attraction toward Anders. He was cute, certainly, but this appeared to be the case less because of any genetic blessings, and more because of a generally adorable demeanor.
Over time, however, I developed a bit of a crush on him. Nothing serious, mind you, but the more certain I became that I would be spending the summer in Europe, the less I thought about starting my journey anywhere else but Norway. Anders had, after all, said I would be welcome to stay with him.
Anders and I spoke little in the weeks that elapsed between the day I purchased my ticket and the day I arrived in Oslo. Our communications were so sparse, in fact, that I feared he might cancel at the last minute.
To my delight, Anders was indeed waiting for me at Oslo’s central railway station when I arrived from the airport. And I do mean to my delight: Anders was much fitter than his pictures had suggested; he was also legitimately good-looking in the face.
The flipside of my realization that Anders was actually hot was that I couldn’t abandon my unspoken crush as planned. See, I’d assumed I would arrive in Norway to meet a pudgy, short proto-Viking, and quickly begin thinking only platonic thoughts.
The sexual tension between us, however, was palpable. I was too jet-lagged to become awkward in my speech and behavior solely out of attraction, but Anders stumbled over his words, and indeed his own feet.
I spent most of my first day in Oslo out of Anders’ company: I arrived at his office just after 11, and was scheduled to me a tour guide from visit Oslo at noon. I did my best not to think of him as I explored the Norwegian capital’s most iconic architecture, but passing butterflies frequently entered my stomach.
I returned to Anders’ workplace just before he clocked out; and by the time he had a home-cooked meal of salmon, quinoa and grilled vegetables on the table, I felt a kiss was not only inevitable, but necessary.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when Anders reacted cooly to my having wrapped my arms around his shoulders; he didn’t so much turn around to look at me when I began kissing his forehead, the whole mostly one-way exchange after a bottle of red wine no less.
I was so embarrassed by his seeming rejection of me that I backed away for a few hours and waited to press him about it explicitly until later in the night. Of course I don’t mind it, he assured me. But you still need to sleep in the living room on my air mattress.
“I guess why I’m upset,” I recounted to fellow travel blogger Will Peach as I headed west across Norway toward the magnificent city of Bergen and the country’s mighty fjords, “is that his actions didn’t match his words.
“He read me some bullshit line about not wanting to move too fast, then told me the story of no less than two dozen one-night stands from all around the world — he should write for Travel Sex Life! But in all seriousness, I feel tortured.”
“Maybe you have to accept it, as much as it pains you,” Will prefaced his stock, heterosexual male response, “that he just wasn’t into you.”
As my days in western Norway passed, the sun never once setting completely, I made peace with the fact that Anders probably wasn’t into me. Of course it still irked me was that he hadn’t been able to tell me this explicitly.
What truly kept me up at night (or what would have, if Norway actually had a night in summer) was the mention of “Tommy.” Actually, Anders never mentioned the guy by name, but a few minutes of Facebook stalking made his identity pretty clear.
Tommy might as well have been Jesus, if Anders’ personal testimony was the Bible. They’d met in Cambodia, where Tommy used his clout as an Expedia executive to score Anders an expensive hotel room after their Grindr hookup.
As he told the tale of their shotgun romance, Anders punctuated the anecdote with reassurances that he wasn’t just into Tommy for his professional success or high social standing. “It was totally about the connection,” he insisted. “And our connection was amazing.”
Before our botched make-out session, Anders had lavished me with praise RE: the extent to which I am a self-made travel man. This ego-stroking monologue had, in fact, been my motivation to go through with the kiss in the first place: We were cut, it seemed, from the same cloth; our meeting was written in the stars.
“Tommy,” however, was a leech who’d climbed the corporate ladder, probably always flew business and almost certainly no stories of worth to tell.
I took issue not with the fact that Anders already “had” someone, but that the someone he had was so diametrically opposed to everything I (and, I assumed he) stand for in life; he was no one as far as I was concerned.
This being said, I returned to Oslo with the assumption that I would leave my dream of romance with Anders to history, and enjoy the rest of our brief time together as just friends. Anders’ frequent mentions of Tommy and his upcoming visit to Norway, however, didn’t make it easy for me to let go of my thoughts of regret and jealously.
Last night, I made the mistake not only of accompanying Anders to an event with free alcohol, but of drinking like a fish with exactly zero food in my stomach. The booze quickly stripped away my already scant inhibitions.
By the time we were en route to his apartment onboard one of Oslo’s sky blue trams, I had made the decision not to confront him about his evasiveness, but instead to try, one last time, to get in his pants.
Anders let me kiss and rub on him for a few moments, but what he said he pulled away negated any attempt he’d made to humor me. “I think I’m in love.”
I pulled the needle off the record. “You’re in love?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I think Tommy and I are meant for each other. I like you and all, but nothing can happen between us, because I think Tommy and I are going to become something.”
“You’re into that fucking douchebag?” The gloves were off. “Anders, you traveled around the world on your own dime, stayed in hostels, met with locals, and you think you’re ‘meant to be’ with a man Cambodian children worship because of how much money he has?
“Look, I get that I’m a day late and a dollar short, but I am absolutely sickened that I am missing out on getting to know you because of a piece of shit like that. There, I said it! I think your CEO boyfriend is a piece of shit. I’ve also stalked him on Facebook — and I think he’s ugly, too.”
Because of the alcohol that’s still coursing through my veins, I can’t remember much of what happened after this, other than the fact that Anders transferred to another bus and I opted to walk home. I also remember tightly hugging a gypsy beggar, and telling her “I don’t have any money, but I feel you girl!” Although I didn’t get lost, it took me so long to get home that Anders considered calling the police, or at least that’s what a message dated one minute after my phone died said when I read it this morning.
I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that Anders decided in the end to love me instead of whats-his-name, that the reason I look as tore up as I do today is because we had wild sex all night and didn’t sleep. But the fact is that, just as I’ve done every other night I’ve been in Oslo, I slept alone on an inflatable mattress in Anders’ living room.
By the grace of God, Anders doesn’t hate me, but he also definitely doesn’t love me. He will probably hate me after reading this rant, but by then I’ll be on my way to Sweden, a destination I had the sense not to visit on account of dick.