Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the American Pilates Teacher in Geneva Trying to Decipher Foreign Guys: Female, Pilates Teacher, 30, Geneva, straight, single.
3 p.m. Dead broke in New York as a struggling artist and Pilates teacher, I got an offer to teach in Switzerland for six figures. Even though I suspect it’ll be as cold and alienating as my time spent traveling in Japan, I go. Arrive in Geneva. The fiftysomething British driver is totally flirting with me. I use his flirting to get a trip to the bank and grocery store, and my electricity set up. He spends hours driving and telling me his life story. How odd — my last boyfriend in Morocco was a driver. I think as a strong feminist I secretly just don’t like making decisions and want to be told what to do. Every alpha female needs her occasional dom.
5 p.m. Second day in Geneva from New York City. Slavic born Swiss guy I’ve been e-mailing with offers to pick me up; instead, the next day I meet him at the only place I know, Starbucks, so he can take me to IKEA. We enjoy playing couple. He’s short, balding, and jocular and opens my car door for me. We talk about relationships and I tell him I was last in a hot and cold relationship in a tropical third-world country. He carries my bags in, I give him the American hug; he teaches me three Swiss kisses. That’s all I get. He seems as shy as the men I met when I lived in China, a country where women pursue men, and another bonus: He seems the opposite of my ex in his passivity.
8 p.m. I kiss the balcony, knowing I never could afford to live alone like this in New York. Plug in my trusted Hitachi Magic Wand in my new studio apartment minutes from Lake Geneva, using the transformer I bought just for this purpose. Uh-oh. I hear a dull click and dead silence. I have had this gift from G-d and my ex-boyfriend since college; my last American lover was savvy enough to keep one in his drawer. I resort to my childhood pillow method, thinking of a combo of my sensitive American New York WASP and the tropical macho exes, the best of both worlds. Not sure how I will survive a year here without a Hitachi.
9 p.m. In bed, cruise OkCupid for interesting guys. I write that I am looking for friends and guys to show me around Geneva. I wonder if brunch exists in Geneva, but suspect it doesn’t. I have to go to bed early for my expat job that starts the next day. One guy looks nice, but he writes me what is clearly a form letter.
6:30 a.m. I bluntly write the guy back: “Is this a form letter?” He has a picture of him in the “sea” that makes him look relaxed and free. He’s also carrying groceries in Italy. Cute. He writes about keeping his herbs from being blown off the windowsill. He wants “someone to share this all with.” I’m skeptical because he also mentions that he is also “up for a bit of fun and to share a laugh.”
9:35 a.m. Text from Swiss guy. Lots of exclamation points and smiley faces. This is on my iPhone I got jacked up in Brooklyn to be able to work here. Swiss guy comes off sort of feminine, or friendly, I’m not sure which.
5 p.m. After work, I get an e-mail from a Polish guy with a “dark sense of humor.” What other kind of Eastern Bloc humor is there? My mom’s Russian.
11:49 a.m. Check OkC on phone at work.
2:21 p.m. Herbs guy takes the challenge. “This message was written personally for you.”
8 p.m. At work party, get hit on by wormlike supervisor and watch a “ginger” be swarmed by ten British hens. Feel totally useless as a Brooklyn girl, except for my friend’s husband, who’s keen. Totally uncomfortable drinking with my bosses; these worlds should not be colliding.
9 p.m. Sleep in Hitachi withdrawal — fucking North American voltage. How can a girl go global in this world? Wish I’d bought the battery-operated one I saw in a store before I left.
1:03 p.m. Herbs guy is going to meet me for tea; we have one hour before I go to a meeting. He shows up in what I guess are British Vans. I feel sexy, slinky and cool walking beside him. This is always a good sign.
2:03 p.m. After he buys me tea, I’m off. I give him my card and he gives me his; he’s a recruiter. That means his job is to wine and dine.
10:36 a.m. British guy e-mails me at work, in annoying business-professional language. “How’s your day going?” “Lucky you’ve got air conditioning!” I already have the Swiss ambiguous best-friend vibe and am not in the mood for another attractive single guy my age to be “friends with.” I get information about how to order a bicycle and thank him. Then I ignore him.
6 p.m. I meet Swiss guy for a date of swimming at the lake with my two new friends. His foot is the size of my hand. I decide it just can’t happen physically, but I want it to, just for something to happen.
7 p.m. At a potluck, my new best friend tells me that an electrician hit on her. He called her for a date after I referred her to him to services. “I didn’t want to tell you!” I feel like I just got cheated on. I see his toupee in a new light, and when he comes to fix my fuse box, I torment him with my classic turnaround sashay. I realize that to make it in this world as a single woman, you’ve gotta have an entourage of male friends (and female friends, too). I wonder if I’ll ever find love again. I’ve been in love three times, mutually, but the last time was nine years ago. The rest were infatuations.
11 p.m. Dream I’m back with the love of my life, from nine years ago. Sad. Also sad: my high-school boyfriend is back in the dreams. I am digging deep.
7 p.m. I agree to meet British guy for a drink; he’s persistent. He wears a little jacket, and meets me at a British pub. He lays on the charm and my hands reach out to hold his. He pores over my photos from Morocco. I tell him my secret plans to leave my expat day job and become an artist. “What are you doing tomorrow?” he asks, as if I’m booked. I agree to meet him for bicycle riding and chocolates. I give him a kiss on the cheek after he walks me to the train.
9:09 a.m. Home. Brit texts me. I quickly forget Swiss dude, which is easy enough.
4 p.m. I’m two hours late. He texts me ten times! I’m shocked at this role reversal, but not annoyed (I am late, after all). I meet him at a bicycle shop. We are somehow instantly a couple. I purchase a bike. He speaks Italian for me to get a discount from the Italian owner. I can tell: I love him, he’s my boyfriend. We ride our new bikes to the flea market. I buy rollerblades; he carries the bag. We get beers and sit in the grass.
5 p.m. We go for our bike ride that he planned in lovely Geneva park. We pass a Chinese garden, a weird obstacle course involving walking on tightropes that Swiss families think of as normal, and lots of couples making out. We stop and I teach him some Pilates moves. I manage to act totally professional while doing his hip adjustments. He’s not shy, I notice. I feel like I’ve got options, and maybe more than this dude. Like Morocco, this place is like shooting fish in a barrel, because anywhere outside New York City is like that for a woman.
6 p.m. We go to his place to drop off our bicycles and he suggests dinner at a Lebanese place. I initially suggest Italian because I was just in Naples and I know he’s half-Italian.
7 p.m. At dinner, his dad calls. He’s polite and talks to his dad for a while. Again, I think: I am in love. His parents sound upper-class, mine are middle (really, lower, but dissident intellectuals). I look up and wonder if he is out of my league. He is six years younger, 24 to my 30. His ex is my age. Every time I look nervously at him, he smiles wide at me, in a very non-British way. I remember a line in his profile: “I smile a lot.” Accurate. I smile back. I decide he is just being polite.
8 p.m. He offers to take me to Jules Verne, the round skytop bar where he often takes clients to show them Geneva, but it’s not open. He panics and takes me to the “Movie Bar.” Tells me to order whatever I want. “The orgasm” sounds best, but I refuse to order it based on its name. I tell him that. “I’ll take two orgasms and some drinks,” he says. A very corny joke, but he’s quick on his feet. We order martinis.
9:30 p.m. Our date’s now in its sixth hour, and I figure this guy is just waiting for me to leave; he’s never going to make a move. I suggest we go. He quickly agrees. I tell him I have to pick up my bicycle from his apartment. On the way through the cobblestone streets, I feel a slight brush and he looks away.
10 p.m. At his place in downtown Geneva, he carries my bicycle for me, and asks to walk me to my train.
10:30 p.m. He carries my bicycle onto the train. I lean in for a kiss on the cheek and he goes for the mouth. I literally pull back in shock. “But you didn’t ask me to come up!” “I tried a waist brush, and you are American and it’s the second date,” he says, like that explains everything. “Third,” I say. “Do you want to come to mine now?” he asks. “No,” I shout. “Okay,” he says and walks away. “I mean, yes!” We hold hands on the way to his apartment.
11 p.m. In his flat. He keeps his shoes on and offers me an Italian sweet drink from his village. This is so painfully awkward. I lean back, and he leans in. His teeth are crooked, brown, and kind of gross, but despite that, he smells divine. Then we start to kiss. Oh no. It feels like he is chomping on a piece of chicken. His jaw clicks. I cringe. He smells good enough to devour but he can’t kiss at all. I offer my neck, my classic let’s-get-over-the-intimacy-of-kissing-and-go-straight-to-less-personal-sex move. He gives me a hickey. We move to the bed.
11:30 p.m: He sloppily sucks my breasts, and goes down on me. I hear a lot of jaw clicking; he explains later it’s from karate. We get into the missionary position. He comes quickly and asks if I did, too. I tell him I usually have around three orgasms. He cuddles me with one hand on my breast. I like that he is a hardcore snuggler and caresser. He casually gives a foot massage while he talks about this great wild boar with courgette recipe. He asks if I’ve been with anyone lately; I tell him not since New York. He tells me his ex and he moved here together, but they split and she found a new guy two weeks later. They still work together, but are just friends. He kisses my hands repeatedly as we fall asleep. I wake up several times in the middle of the night, afraid I’ve said “I love you” out loud. It’s early, but I mean it.
TOTALS: One makeout with a balcony; daily failed masturbation attempts; five successful masturbation attempts; one act of intercourse; one sleepover sex date.