I knew that I had violated the Hollywood movie rule.
"If you act like a hero, you get the girl."
Hollywood lies to you, guys. They always portray the hero as a more attractive male than you are. I don't mean physically attractive. I mean, he always has his shit together more than you do.
I just got back from Aruba last week. It was meant to be a chill-out vacation. I'm mid-life, I had a lot of things to think about. I wanted to eat, drink, lie on the beach, swim, and maybe do a little sightseeing. I didn't want to deal with hurricanes, sharks, high crime, Republicans, or anything else that makes life not worth living.
So I picked Aruba. It's outside the hurricane belt and there is no rainy season, (dangerous) sharks or Republicans. It's a Dutch island. I don't know if there are dangerous Dutch people. I know Aruba had one spectacular murder (probably) in the last 10,000 years, an American woman who disappeared about fifteen years ago and they never found her body. I looked into it while I was there figuring I didn't have much to worry about as Aruba was otherwise famously crime-free and also I was a woman loooooong past her prime. Also, I don't do dumb shit.
The missing-in-action gal was right out of high school, very pretty, and according to her friends, really, really drunk most of the time. Even for a girl right out of high school.
Before you get mad at me, she didn't deserve whatever happened to her, but she did violate one of my cardinal rules:
DON'T DO DUMB SHIT
Don't get drunk all the time and pick up strange men in bars. Don't get into cars with them. I didn't do dumb shit like that when I was eighteen because I was scared of guys, I knew bad things happened to you when you drank too much, and also my parents would never have let me to go Aruba without them. Probably because they'd have known I'd probably do dumb shit, even though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten drunk all the time and picked up strange guys in a foreign country.
Don't BE the victim. Here's my position on that sort of thing before you fire off an angry comment.
There is a Cracked article, humourous, but also serious, called 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained To Hate Women.
I've read it many times. The one that stuck with me is how men are trained by Hollywood to think that if they act like the hero, they get the girl in the end. Even if just for a wild margarita-crazed week in Aruba.
It's a lie. Sorry, folks.
What Hollywood doesn't tell you is you need to be at least a little like the leading man. You don't have to be as good-looking as him, or have washboard abs, but you do need to emulate him in other ways.
Funny how the Hollywood hero is never an alcoholic who says and does dumb shit.
The first night I went out on the town, I found myself at a very nice bar in the centre of what I called the Night Market (it may have its own name but I never bothered to find out). They promised $5 Margaritas and that sounded good to me. I was already a little hosed but I figured a few more for the road and then I'd go home.
Problem was, I hadn't completely thought through the whole getting home part.
See, I wasn't staying at one of the big resorts. I'd chosen a smaller hotel in a more residential neighbourhood that necessitated a 7-minute walk to get to the beach across an open field. No problem! I walk everywhere! But...I hadn't considered the fact that there were no lights, and it was probably not a good idea to try that field in the dark. Maybe if I had a flashlight except...I'd left it back in the motel.
Don't do dumb shit. Well, I did dumb shit but it wasn't life-threatening.
There was a younger guy at the bar, I'll call him Carl, from a southern US state. We struck up a conversation and when I was ready to leave I realized I'd need to call a cab to get home. Not because I was too drunk to walk home on my own, just that I suddenly remembered that dark field.
"The taxi drivers take credit cards here, right?" I asked the bartender, a lovely young lady named, believe it or not, Brooklyn.
"No," she told me. "US dollars or florins." Damn Dutch.
Well no problem, I'd just use my American credit card to get some cash from an ATM.
No can do, I discovered. The one nearby didn't work. It tried t a second one and that didn't work either. I couldn't remember the PIN for this card, which I almost NEVER use. Just when I'm in weirdo foreign countries.
So I went back and said, "I got a problem." I was able to pay my bar bill, THEY took an American credit card...
Well Carl decided to be the hero and make sure I got home okay, so he gave me $20 to get home. Kindly took me out to the street and hailed a cab for me. I swore to him up one side and down the other that I would pay him back. Got his name and number and hotel and everything. Even though I had no idea how I'd get American money with a damn credit card that didn't work.
Once my tequila-soaked brain sobered up, Merde-For-Brains realized something: "Hey, what about your Canadian debit card, dumbass???"
Guess what, the next day it worked like a charm. I got US dollars. I called Carl to let him know and we made plans to meet up, have dinner, and maybe have a few drinks.
We started off at Hooters, which I'd never been to. He had raved about the chicken wings there. I was starving, but we never ate. He didn't want to actually eat there, seems he wanted to save room for alcohol. We both had three beers, and he had a whiskey shooter with each beer. Um, okay.
I wasn't completely okay with the way he treated the waitress. It was a little patronizing. Okay, she was a little slow and it wasn't that busy there, but he gave her shit for not moving fast enough and he kept calling her 'sweetheart'. There were two other male patrons there and they didn't do stuff like that.
Since I'm not much into pub food, and since it turned out he liked sushi as much as me, or so he said, I said, "Let's hit a sushi restaurant around the corner here."
Which we did, and once again, he didn't order any food. He complained about the first drink not being strong enough, once again a bit condescendingly, and got a free drink out of it...the next one stronger. Um, okay.
Now, I wasn't ever interested in this guy. I'd made it clear the night before...because I'm used to guys always expecting something when they do a favour for you...that I wasn't in Aruba for romantic interludes. Dude had a drinking problem, for sure. But, I never felt like I was in any danger and I was having fun and so we went back to the place we'd met the night before and had a few more drinks.
Well, now I was loaded with American cash so I could get my own cab ride home. I knew I would not see him again. I also knew I'd paid back his $20 and didn't owe him anything.
He wanted to come back with me to my room, of course. I told him, quite honestly, that I wasn't allowed to have overnight guests. This is true. The proprietor told me she'd had problems with non-guests being invited over to use the pool and creating a lot of noise. He probably thought I was lying but I wasn't. And also, dude had a drinking problem and I didn't like the way he treated the servers (all women).
We never ran into each other after that. I could tell by the look on his face as I got into the cab that he was really disappointed nothing else was going to happen, and I had this keen sense that I was violating the Hollywood rule that the hero always gets the girl.
Well...I paid back his money and...
Even if I'd been into him, I wouldn't have been after that evening. I think he's a nice guy with some very refreshing Southern manners...when he's not drinking. Men today are severely lacking in basic manners. Treating the waitresses condescendingly because they're not waiting on you fast enough, or the drink isn't strong enough (seriously, dude?) would not have impressed me. And dudes with drinking problems? I run into that a LOT. Except in Hollywood movie heroes.
My ex was an alcoholic. He wasn't rude or abusive but he was a total eff-up.
Okay, I don't go to the movies much anymore, but in the ones I've seen the last fifteen years, the hero is usually a) Non-misoygnist and b) Not an alcoholic. Then again, I've never seen a Michael Bay movie so I could be wrong.
If you want to be the hero, and get the girl, I have some advice for you:
DON'T DO DUMB SHIT.
Nicole Chardenet otherwise lives her so-called life in Toronto when she's not staring catatonically at the beach in the middle of the ocean. Believe it or not, she's not actually drunk when she does that, she's just thinking. Back home, she sells interactive personalized video messaging and writes weird shit and plans how she's going to spend what is probably Part III: The Denouement of her life. She doesn't know how it's going to unfold but she's quite certain it won't involve alcoholics, but she can't swear it won't involve younger men with washboard abs toting trays of cheap margaritas.
Hey, a woman can dream.