A common question from last week’s release of Dead Bat’s epilogue was, “What kind of game did you use on Mariana?”
I describe how we met in the book, but it was just like any other approach. I didn’t do anything special or different. While I did feel a connection with her mighty quick, I can’t say I consciously made that happen. The law of averages says that a tiny percentage of approaches will go exceptionally well, and that approach in Rio happened to occur with a girl that I was attracted to more than any other girl I had ever met in my life. You may want to call me lucky, but if you’ve read the book, you can see how that good luck was balanced out by a lot of frustration and difficulty beforehand. The universe has a way of balancing itself out.
“Have you thought about going back to Rio?”
No, the ship has sailed. Maybe I made a mistake, but there’s no use dwelling on past decisions. I can only control what I do today, which is to put myself out there and grind it out until something clicks with another girl, no matter how long it takes.
I wanted to share two other things that I didn’t get a chance to last week. The first is a review from a guy who just read the book (personal details were omitted).
Roosh, just finished A Dead Pat in Paraguay while flying across the Pacific thus beginning my second big world adventure. How fitting. During the fourteen hour slog to New Zealand I laughed out loud several times generating looks from those poor souls folded up in the adjacent seats. Your intestinal issues were reminiscent of my time last year here in NZ where I contracted a parasite called Campylobacter. After three days of relentlessly shitting out my brains I received a call from a girl I had been lightly but persistently pursuing.
After assessing the state of my broken asshole, I concluded that meeting her should be fine provided I didn’t eat or drink anything. This was shortly after I discovered your website and “game.” After walking around the park she suggested we get a drink. Against my better judgement I agreed and we went to a nearby bar for a few beers. I was surprised at how well my stomach initially tolerated the beers and a couple of hours later we ended up at her place getting frisky. When we were mostly naked, I felt a stabbing stomach pain, emitted an eye-watering, paint-peeling, cloud of noxious gas in combination with shitting my underwear which also contaminated part of her bed sheets. Fuck me. She got pissed and I left with crushing shame and embarrassment— then she called two weeks later and apologized… flag shortly attained thereafter!
My connection with your writings of Argentina were also noteworthy. After spending a month there last year and two weeks this year I must say your descriptions of the women are amazingly accurate. On page 180, after reading “At that moment I believed in god because only an omnipotent being had the power to stop me from getting laid after all I’d done,” I laughed so loud that the guy on the plane sitting next to me asked met to keep it down… man I identified with that! Actually, my luck with the hostel gringo girls are usually good (especially this year in Mendoza), but the native Argentinian is a hard nut to crack. When I was living in BA I did get into a social group of upper-class late twenty somethings and ended up on a ten-day fling with a beauty.
Can’t say ADBIP is the next great american novel, but I was entertained and moved at the end. I identified with many tales and at times it seemed as though you were recounting parts of my traveling life. I consider it a worthwhile read. So did you ever offer to have Mariana come to the USA?
No, she loved Brazil and didn’t want to leave (a reason why I laugh when haters suggest girls date gringos like me for the “greencard,” as if everyone wants to come to America.) Most foreign girls I’ve dated were middle or upper class in their respective countries and didn’t care about the States besides wanting to check out New York City.
I’ve also recorded some thoughts of the new edition right from Icelandic headquarters in Reykjavik:
Well that wraps it up for the expanded edition. If you want to learn more, check out the homepage, which I recently had redesigned to match the new cover. You’ll find more details, sample pages, and reviews.
I wanted to give a little update on the day game book. I’m just about done with the second draft. We’re looking at a July release, but it will depend on how long it takes me to do venue diagrams in Visio, which I’ve never done before.
Either next month or March I’ll be releasing a compilation of sorts, and around that time you’ll start seeing Iceland posts, ranging from nightlife stories to in-depth analysis of the women. I’m hesitant to publish anything about Iceland until leaving to resist making premature conclusions. I have my apartment booked until early March.
Finally, there’s another book I have in early development that may be finished by the end of the year. It’s still early to tell but this may be one of my most productive years yet.
PREVIOUSLY: PART THREE
The crowd at the champagne bar was typical: older professionals who wanted to wind down after work. We sat next to each other at a huge table that ran the length of the bar. I caught her up on my life in Rio.
“When I first came here, I fell in love with the city and imagined myself living here, but now I don’t know if I’m ever coming back.” I took a sip of champagne, which was extremely cold because of the salt solution the bartender had put into our ice bucket.
“Why don’t you like Rio?” Mariana asked.
“Well, it’s expensive and dangerous, the traffic is bad, the nightlife sucks, there’s too many gringos, it’s either unbearably hot or raining, it’s dirty, smelly, making friends is hard, and I don’t even like the beach that much. It’s like Rio was a girl who I fell hard for, but once I got to know her, I realized we didn’t have a lot in common. I think it was you who…”
“Me who what?” she asked.
“The first time I was here, you made the city better than it actually is.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“You don’t have to, but there’s no reason for me to stay here now, or even to come back.”
I noticed that she was touching me often and shifting nervously in her seat. I had gotten her to meet me under the guise of friendship, and while I didn’t expect more, I was sure hoping for it.
“Remember that guy you told me you had just ‘started’ seeing?” I asked.
“Well, I think that was a lie. I think you invented him to make me feel better.”
“No, I really was seeing a guy! But I’m not seeing him anymore.”
“And then there was another guy.”
“But it was really quick. Very short.”
“So you’re not seeing anyone right now?”
“Well, good, because after this bottle of champagne you can come to my place and we can make love one last time.” I smiled, but not too hard since I wanted her to believe I was mostly serious. Just testing the waters.
“Oh, baby, no.” She shook her head. “Let’s just be friends. ”
“I’m leaving in ten days—it’s not like I’m asking for more. But anyway…”
“So did you meet any girls?”
“A couple, but nothing serious. After you ended it I wasn’t too upset because I thought it would be easy to find your replacement, especially since I met you only a week after I arrived in Rio.” I paused a moment. “But I haven’t been able to find another Mariana.”
She smiled, but said nothing. I asked if she was still on her allergy medication. She said she wasn’t. I kept filling her glass and eventually ordered a second bottle.
I was having trouble containing my feelings and said some things I knew I shouldn’t have, but it felt right and she seemed to be getting closer to me. I went with it. There was no need to lie or pretend.
“When I came back,” I said, “I was ready to give us a shot, to see only you.”
“I don’t believe that. I know your type, going from country to country. You probably have girls in each country that you keep in touch with.”
“No, well… no, you’re wrong. No one I really care about,” I said, searching for the right words. “The last time we talked, I got the feeling that you wanted me to make a stronger commitment, to invest more.” I paused again, then asked the question that was on my mind for the past couple months. “I guess what I’m asking is… if I lived here, would things be different?”
She looked at me for what seemed like eternity and said, “Yes, they would.”
I nodded, then the conversation drifted into silence. I tried to kiss her a few minutes later, but she turned her head at the last moment.
“We’re only friends,” she said. “Friends don’t kiss.”
“Well, sometimes,” she said softly. Then she gave me a look that said, “I’m going to be vulnerable now… please be gentle.”
I approached again slowly, and when our lips touched, I felt something unusual—something electric that seemed to paralyze my body. Only my lips and mouth were alive, and they were heating up. For the next thirty seconds I felt this heat coming into my mouth, increasing in temperature with every moment. The movements of her tongue triggered flashes of white light on the back of my eyelids. My head seemed to separate from the rest of my body. The people and the music faded into the background until we were completely alone, until I processed not a single thought or sensation besides the heat in my mouth and the lights dancing in my vision. I don’t know how long the kiss lasted, but she pulled away first, leaving my lips hanging in the air. It took several seconds for the sounds of the bar to reenter my consciousness and for my body to reattach itself. I looked at her, confused, as if coming out of a hypnotist’s trance. I swallowed hard and began to rub my hands over my face. Then I excused myself and went into the bathroom so she wouldn’t continue to see the effect she had on me.
The champagne continued to flow and like an octopus I let my hands explore her body, slowly creeping up her leg until she smacked them back down. I just wanted to have her one more time, and then we could be done for good.
Getting her back to my place took quite a bit of convincing. I had to basically sign a contract stating that she’d stay no more than fifteen minutes and that we’d only hug and kiss. Of course she couldn’t help herself once she was lying on my bed, and neither could I.
When it was over, I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling fan, trying to keep my eyes focused on one of the rotating blades, wondering how a petite Brazilian girl gained so much power over me.
I turned on my side to face her and said, “I don’t see you for three months and I’m leaving, but now we’re… doing things.”
“Well, yes, that’s why,” she said. “This is how I protect myself. Why would I get too close to someone who’s staying a short time?”
We stared at each other for a long moment, and then I said, “I love you.” I didn’t smile.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because you’re not serious.”
“How do you know I’m not serious?”
“Because you’re not ready!”
I saw her twice after that, once for a movie and the other for a walk through a park. Things were decidedly more friendly and nothing got past simple hand-holding or light kissing. She made a reference to having “drunk too much” the night at the champagne bar, and I got the hint. We were just friends—and there would be no additional sex.
After the park, we went for a quick açai and grabbed the same bus. I was emotionally numb. I wanted to get off the roller coaster ride she had put me on and if she wanted to only be friends then fine. It didn’t matter anyway—I was leaving in two days. Even if she wanted to stay with me, I wasn’t ready to move to Rio just for her. She was right.
I told her my stop was coming up. I looked over to her and saw tears streaming down her face, more tears than when I had first left her about two years earlier.
I had trouble understanding why she was so upset. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me until I broke the silence with, “Quero cafuné.” It was a phrase she had taught me, which means, “I want to gently stroke your hair.” She laughed and told me to be sure to use it on other girls.
“I guess our time was two years ago,” I said.
“Yes. I was more open then.”
“I’ll always remember it.”
We both knew I wouldn’t be coming back to Rio again. I gave her a quick kiss, then pulled the cord and walked towards the back of the bus.
It was finally over for good.
If you liked the epilogue, download the first chapter for free to see how it all started.
PREVIOUSLY: PART TWO
“I think we should just be friends,” she said.
I’d been dumped many times before, where things simply faded away and a girl stopped agreeing to go out with me. Maybe I would run into her later and we’d have sex again for old time’s sake, but not once in seven years had a girl I genuinely liked sat me down and said she never wanted to be romantically involved with me again. The last time I had been hurt, but this time I was angry.
She was about to tell me why when two businessmen sat next to our table. She asked if I wanted to talk on the beach. I agreed. We walked without saying anything, then sat on the sand.
“You don’t have to give me a reason,” I said. “I don’t care, whatever you want.”
“No, but I want to tell you. When we first met, my heart was open, but I can’t do this. I can’t see you for two months and then have you go away again. I can’t suffer like that.”
Oh, god. She was giving me the excuse I had been using on girls for the past year—a spin-off of the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ routine.
“I understand completely,” I said. “If that’s what you want. I knew something was wrong anyway, because it didn’t feel like last time. You were colder, and from the moment you postponed our date, I knew something wasn’t right.”
“But I wasn’t feeling well,” she protested. “I had allergies.”
“Look, if I was in a hospital bed, half-dying, I’d still crawl out to see you after two years. You just weren’t excited. I told myself, ‘I’m 100% sure she’s seeing a guy,’ and that’s what I still think.”
I looked deep in her eyes because a part of me wanted to know the real reason, even though that reason would ultimately boil down to her not wanting to see me. I needed to know if she had something else going on instead of preferring to watch telenovelas at home rather than spending time with me.
“He’s not better than you, but he’s here. You’re going to leave in two months. Then what am I going to do?”
“The other night you were telling me that you were thinking about having a kid in a year or two,” I said. “When a woman says that, what she really means is that she wants a child right now, and I understand that. You’re at the age where you’re ready to find something long-term, but I can’t give you that.”
“I know you can’t.”
“I guess the only reason we got together in the first place was because you had just broken up with someone. I was the rebound.”
“Yes my heart was open then. I knew you were leaving soon and it wouldn’t mean anything.”
I winced and turned away, my eyes falling upon a group of guys in skimpy Speedos playing foot volleyball.
“But now it’s harder, because you’re staying longer, but you’ll still be leaving again. You’re too…” She fumbled for the right word. “Light.”
“I’m sorry I’m not a Brazilian citizen. I’m sorry I can only stay a couple months at a time, but it’s because I’m light that we even met. It gives and it takes, I understand that. You think this conversation we’re having right now is the first time for…” I wanted to talk to her as if she was a therapist and discuss the pros and cons of living the lifestyle that I’ve chosen, but I stopped short and started making patterns in the sand with my book.
“And you barely kept in touch while you were away,” she said. “Do you know the word cultivar?”
“Yes, to cultivate.”
“That’s what I want. Something that grows. You sent me two postcards, a couple emails, and we talked once on the phone.”
“So you wanted me to call so you could ask when I was coming back, only for me to say, ‘I don’t know, maybe soon.’ What would we have talked about? ‘Hey, Mariana, I’m going out with my friends a lot and writing. Oh, yeah? Great. I can’t wait to have açai again.’”
“Well let’s be friends. And I mean that,” she said. “This Saturday I’m going out dancing with my friends, and I’d like it if you’d come along and meet them.”
“No, that’s okay.”
“I don’t want to be just friends. No, it’s either all or nothing with me.”
“So you don’t even want to see me again?”
“We can exchange emails, and maybe have lunch before I leave the country.”
She frowned and tightened her lips. Part of me felt bad for her because after all she was a girl I really liked, but another part of me was pleased that I was hurting her.
“I can’t believe you don’t want to be my friend. You’re blackmailing me! This isn’t how Brazilians do it. We keep in touch. We see each other.”
“Yeah, well, I do things differently,” I said flatly. “I have enough friends anyway.” That was a lie. There was only one other person in Rio I could call.
“Then the only thing you really want from me is my body.”
I said nothing, wondering about the question myself.
She told me that every other guy she’d ever broken up with had jumped at the chance to stay in touch and that I was being silly not to want the same. I refused to reward her decision to dump me with friendship. I wanted her to wonder if she made the right choice by letting me go. She needed to feel genuine loss. I had to inflict either pleasure or pain—nothing in between. I had to burn my bridges because it was the right thing to do.
“I think it’s time for me to go,” I said.
We got up and she insisted on escorting me to my hostel. On the way she continued to push the friendship idea, but I said little, thinking that I wanted her to feel what I was feeling: utter rejection.
“You really don’t have to walk me back,” I said, as if she was following me like a pest. At the end of the block she stopped, but I kept walking.
“Wait!” she called after me.
I stopped, looked back, and said, “Yeah?”
“Aren’t you at least going to give me a hug?”
I sighed, then gave her the most awkward hug I could muster, my body leaning so far forward that only the boney tops of my shoulders touched her body. She stood on her tiptoes to give me a kiss on the cheek, but I pulled away as soon as I felt her lips make contact with my skin.
It was another goodbye, two years and two blocks away from the last one. I took three steps back and stared into her big eyes, which were glassy with tears. She smiled wanly, as if encouraging me to say something comforting, but all I wanted to do at that moment was destroy something beautiful. I raised my hand and said, “Take care.”
I didn’t wait for a response. I immediately turned and walked away.
A couple weeks later I got into a fight with Paula’s best friend, Joana, at a samba club. She had discovered my writings and tried to use them against me. The entire night I endured things like, “So when are you going to bang these girls?” “Are you going to learn samba so you can bang a lot of girls?” and “What clubs do you go to so you can bang girls?” I bit my lip. I didn’t want to create a scene, but at the end of the night, while hailing a taxi, she said, “The night is still young enough to bang girls. You should stay out.”
I’d finally had enough. “Can you shut the fuck up about that already. Are you going to do that all the time from now on?”
The ride home was awkward. Of course she told Paula, who cooled toward me afterward, taking days to reply to one of my text messages instead of the usual hour or less. I now had no friends in Rio.
One night about a month after Mariana dumped me, I went to Lapa alone. While walking up the stairs of the club, I ran into her. She was with her sister and didn’t offer to introduce me, as if I was a distant acquaintance, so I just nodded as if to say I see how it is and kept walking.
She found me later and asked what had happened. “You tell me what happened,” I said. “You seemed like you didn’t want to talk and didn’t even offer to introduce me to your sister.”
“You looked upset! It seemed like you wanted to walk away from me!”
I stuck with her for the rest of the night. We sat on the couch and talked about emotions, love, and all sorts of nonsense my friends back home would have made fun of me about. Whenever I looked away, she wiped away her tears. We gently stroked each other’s hands and when she stared at me, I got the feeling that she wanted me to make a commitment and say, “Baby, I’m going to live in Brazil. Let’s do it!” That’s what she wanted, and I felt confident that if I said those words, she would have been mine as long as our relationship could last.
I imagined how my life would be if I chose that route. I’d have to make a permanent move to Rio, and the only way to do that legally would be to get married. We’d be husband and wife, with our own little apartment in Copacabana. Three nights a week I’d cook American food, three nights a week she’d cook Brazilian food, and one night a week we’d go out. I’d support her in her career and listen to her troubles at work. We’d take trips into the Brazilian countryside to get away from the city. We’d be best friends. I’d become an English teacher or get some other job that brought in a regular income. We’d have a Little Rooshinho and I’d find out if I had what it took to be a good father. We’d outgrow our apartment in Copacabana and get a bigger one in Ipanema. I’d become fluent in Portuguese. I’d visit my family and friends in the States once a year. I’d become a family man and have a regular, pleasant life. If our marriage worked, we’d make each other happy until our last days, companions until death. Our graves would be side by side.
I remained silent.
“You were never in love with me anyway,” she finally said.
Besides my gentle touches, I offered Mariana no reason to dump the guy she had just “started” dating to get with me. I made my choice, and I was ready to live with it.
We walked out when the club closed at five in the morning. When we hugged, she closed her eyes and practically dived in my chest, but she didn’t let me hold her long enough to kiss her. She hopped into a cab and at that point I realized she was too sure of what she wanted to be weak for another night or two. I could accept that, but I went to bed wondering how I was going to meet another girl like her. For my remaining three months in Rio I didn’t.
Those were shallow times, going out to drink and fuck random girls in my favela apartment while building very little of substance. There was the pretty daughter of a gastroenterologist, who spoke French and treated me well, but I just couldn’t fall for her. There was a telenovela actress from São Paulo who was gorgeous but spoke no English and was hard to pin down. There was an Argentine girl with a magical booty who tasted like a bar ashtray. There were traveling American girls I slept with only hours after meeting. It’s after these girls, ten days before I was set to leave Rio for good, that I had an overwhelming desire to see Mariana again. I didn’t care if it was “bad game” to contact her or not, so I called and said I needed to see her before I left. She agreed to a date.
CONTINUED: PART FOUR
PREVIOUSLY: PART ONE
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. I had a constant smirk on my face while doing all the simple things I had done before, like getting a folhado at my favorite bakery, recharging my cell phone balance at the mobile shop, doing pull-ups on the beach bars in Ipanema, and eating lunch at Delirio Tropical. In Copacabana, I visited Marcelo’s juice bar and was surprised to see him still working there. I walked up to the counter and before I could say anything he squinted in a flash of remembrance.
“I was here two years ago,” I said.
“What’s your name again?”
“Roooooooosh, that’s right!”
He put out his hand and gave mine a healthy shake. We chatted for maybe thirty seconds and then he went back to work. I think I was more sentimental about our relationship than he was judging by how quickly the smile evaporated from his face. I wanted him to be more than just my juice guy, but I knew he saw a dozen gringos like me every day and I was lucky he had remembered me at all.
Eventually I ran out of nostalgia. I walked around Ipanema, by the McDonald’s, KFC, and expensive boutiques I’d never stepped into, then thought, “Okay, now what?” I did it. I had come back, just as I’d told everyone I would, and I was about to reunite with my girl, but the mission that had consumed my thoughts for the past two years was almost complete. I felt a little empty, and then I remembered something someone had once told me: “Sometimes wanting something is better than having it.” That was probably why I hesitated in Vitória before returning to Rio. I stayed there ten days instead of three, perhaps subconsciously conflicted about the fact that I was about to finish what I set out to do. I wanted to hold on to wanting just a bit longer.
I had no complaints when Mariana pushed our date back one day (because of allergies, she told me) to Saturday night, which was a more proper time for a reunion. We were supposed to meet at the subway station, but it began pouring, so she texted me her address instead. At our meeting time I stood partially hidden under a tree in front of her building, waiting for her to come out.
I stared at her for a good five seconds before she noticed me. It was a careful stare, trying to see what had changed and what hadn’t. Her hair was longer—longer than mine, finally. Her body still looked great and it’s wasn’t obvious that she had aged two years. She smiled when she saw me hiding behind the tree. I gave her a hug, but she seemed decidedly cool, only giving me a weak embrace. The first thing she asked was where the taxi was, and when I told her I had let it go, she sounded annoyed, asking me twice why I’d done that, almost scolding me like a child. If she was happy to see me, I couldn’t tell.
We decided to walk up a steep hill to some local bars in her neighborhood. She had a tiny umbrella, so we both got wet as we lost our breath climbing, and several times she criticized herself for not bringing a bigger one. She was tense and made little effort to help with the conversation. The silences were painful. We hadn’t seen each other in two years, but after five minutes we had almost nothing to say. I thought either she had a serious boyfriend and was simply giving me a token meeting or needed time to warm up to me again.
When we finally settled into the bar twenty minutes later, I decided to approach it as just another date: I’d talk my ass off, tell her the interesting things I had been doing, make her laugh, and touch her more and more as the evening progressed.
“So my book is done. I finally finished it—and you’re in it,” I said.
“Oh, no!” She laughed.
“No, it’s nothing bad. Meeting you was a good way to end the story, I think, after all the bad stuff that happened.”
“What name did you give me?”
“How did you pick that?”
“Well, I went on the internet and did a search for Brazilian names, and you seem like a Mariana, so I went with that.”
I told her about the book, carefully avoiding its sexual theme and focusing on the friendships and cities I had visited. Mariana is the type of girl who didn’t care much about my past, but I still didn’t feel comfortable with her knowing about all the girls I had tried to get with before getting with her. I didn’t want to trivialize our relationship by saying it was the culmination of dozens of approaches and brainstorming and effort and game. There’s no romance in that.
By the second hour of our date, we had settled into a fun conversation. She opened up more, telling me about the time she had been robbed at knife-point, the traveling she had done, and the productions she had acted in. There were many moments where we relived our time together and I’d say, “I put that in the book!” Even though she had never seen the book and had no idea what filled its nearly 300 pages, she seemed pleased that she was in it. The whole time I held on to the hope that our reunion wouldn’t be anything less than worthy of the two-year wait.
We moved to a sushi bar and as we walked, she hooked her arm through mine. She seemed to laugh harder at my jokes and gave me longer stares. She asked more questions, and if this had been any other date, I would have been thinking, “This is going well.”
After four hours of talking, we decided to call it a night. On the walk to her apartment we held hands, but at the front door she was prepared to say goodbye and send me on my way. I couldn’t let that happen.
“Can I use your bathroom?” I said. She didn’t answer. Without skipping a beat, I added, “Okay well can you point me to an alley where I can go? Hopefully I won’t be robbed.”
She paused for a few seconds. “No, that’s fine,” she said. “You can come in.”
I knew I’d be staying a while when she offered me a drink. I went into her room and saw that the pictures of her guru were still there, but the shelf of herbal remedies was gone.
“Where’s all your medicines?” I asked.
“You know, the natural medicines you used to have in those dropper bottles.”
“I think you imagined that.”
“Are you sure? Because I put it in the book.”
The last bit of nostalgia I had was with her and I milked it for all it was worth. I wanted the wait to be validated. I wanted to be correct that she wasn’t just another notch. I had so many relationships that were meaningless that I needed this one to be real.
“The last time I was here,” I said, “I was a bit messed up, I think. When I went home, I hibernated in my dad’s basement and it took two months until I felt normal again. I’m telling you this because I didn’t want to leave you. There’s a lot of things we didn’t do together.”
“You didn’t have time,” she said.
“I could’ve made time. I could’ve stayed longer. I…”
She put her hand in mine. A few minutes later she led me to her bedroom.
There was a peculiar moment the next morning when I left. She gave me a kiss goodbye and said, “Take care.”
“Take care?” I replied.
“Yeah, take care,” she repeated. “Isn’t that what Americans say?”
“Well, ‘take care’ is something you say to someone you’re not going to see for a while. If you run into an old college friend you haven’t seen in years and you chat for a couple minutes, you say ‘take care’ at the end. It means ‘See you in a few years, maybe.’”
“Oh, no, that’s not what I meant at all,” she said. Then she gave me a more proper farewell as I left.
I really wanted to say that she was indeed the one, that I ended the game because of her, that we feel in love and had beautiful Brazilian babies, and that I lived out my days in a tropical country. But that wasn’t the case.
Five days later we met for lunch at her suggestion. Beforehand, I debated whether I should comment on her coolness. I knew something was wrong because all the signs were there: rescheduling our date, getting annoyed at my letting the taxi go, excusing aloof behavior with a made-up illness (allergies), not inviting me back to her place, and giving me an impersonal goodbye. I remembered the first time we met, when she had asked me to come over, but the previous night I had to weasel my way in as if she was any other girl. Her kisses were also different—quicker, colder, and not as sensual. Our lovemaking was more detached. I decided to not say anything and see what would happen. Well, I didn’t have to wait long.
During lunch she barely said a word. Like on our date, I talked and talked to get something out of her, but she responded with simple one-word replies. I had brought a book with me, Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and the only time she really said anything was when she explained that she had liked his most famous work, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being. Did I have to bring one of his books on every date just to get something going? Whether she was no longer interested in me or not, there is no way I can date a girl who doesn’t talk to me. Disappointment set in.
We finished our meal in silence, then she said, “I have to tell you something.”
I knew what was coming.
CONTINUED: PART THREE
(Download the PDF file for all four parts by clicking here.)
“So how was the Northeast?” Paula asked.
“It was just like you said—poor, but with great beaches. I went to Fortaleza, Natal, Pipa, Recife, Salvador, and Vitória. I liked Vitória the most because I swear I was the only gringo there.”
“Vitória? Only businessmen travel there.”
“Exactly. I’d go to a club and guys would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you’re the gringo, right? I heard you talking outside in English.’ I’d ask questions about how to get girls, just to make them feel like they were teaching the gringo something. The girls didn’t really care, though, and would brush me off. After my last trip, I kind of thought I’d be more welcome by the women if there were no other gringos around, but I guess that’s not always the case. Overall I had a fun time and believe it or not, nothing bad happened!”
“Don’t say that,” she said. “Now something bad will happen. Do you want to get another beer?”
She looked just like I remembered her from when she and her friends had showed me around Rio while I was dealing with my health and mental problems. I initially had planned to stay in a hostel in Ipanema, but she insisted that I crash at her place for a few nights.
In Vitória I ended up staying with a guy who worked at my hotel. He didn’t have a guest bed or sofa, so I had to buy a $40 foam mattress. I hoped it would last the week, but after the first night the foam flattened until it felt like I was sleeping directly on the floor. When Paula told me she didn’t have a mattress, I reluctantly rolled and tied the piece of shit up with rope and hauled it to Rio by bus. I’m certain other Brazilians thought I was homeless because I hadn’t shaved for a few weeks.
Paula and I caught up on things in the bar by Copacabana’s beach. I arrived two hours prior and for the last half of the bus ride my stomach was grumbling loudly, but I wrote it off as a bad case of gas. Not once in the past seven months, the first six spent in Colombia, had I gotten a stomach illness. During my last trip I had learned to cook most of my meals and limit the street food, but in the last month I had gotten cocky and started eating from the street again. At the Vitória bus station I ate an odd-tasting coxinha de frango, a deep-fried chicken and cheese ball that was neon orange on the inside. I figured it contained a kind of cheese I hadn’t had before.
There wasn’t a whole lot to tell Paula about the previous seven months. In Medellín, I had written a new book, studied Spanish, and put a lot of energy into sleeping with Colombian women. It included going to the university to hang out in the common areas to ask girls for help with my Spanish. Instead of being the old guy in the club, I was the old guy in school, but thankfully girls like men around 30 years old. I made a couple new friends, dated a really nice girl who pokes me every now and then on Facebook, and played blackjack in the casinos. Life was good, easy, and most importantly of all, cheap.
Colombia had spoiled my return to Brazil because it competed so well on many fronts, including quality of life, cost of living, and women. I had held Brazilian women on a magic pedestal for a long time after my return to the States, but now Colombian women were almost there with them. Picking one over the other would come down to a matter of personal taste because I doubt different men who have experiences with both would consistently arrive to the same conclusion.
My stomach continued to churn as Paula gave me updates on her life and her new boyfriend. I started sweating and figured I could squeeze my ass cheeks together for another half hour before using the bathroom at her place, but it’s amazing how the human digestive system can move at the speed of sound when it wants to. I finally excused myself to visit the bar’s restroom.
The lone toilet was covered with drops of urine and the toilet paper was out, so I quickly grabbed a dozen paper towels from above the sink, put four on the seat, and sat down. My body shook with a tremendous explosion as the entire contents of my bowels ejected in less than three seconds. There was a loud “bloo-bloop” sound and then, just like that, it was over. I lifted my ass to take a peek at what was underneath and thought, “That wasn’t so bad.”
We left the bar soon after and went back in her place, where I had to go again. The only problem was that her bathroom was inside her room, only six feet from the bed. There was nothing I could do to mask the embarrassing ass explosion sounds, not even a dinky ventilation fan. Over the next ten hours I had to go to the bathroom at least fifteen times while Paula slept. Poor girl—I’m sure she thought I was shitting on her head. My anus became so abraded and raw from all the wiping that it felt like I had been sodomized with a Brillo pad. During brief moments of sleep I crossed my legs, for fear that I’d accidently shit on my foam mattress.
Two days later, after a few meals of rice and potatoes, I was fine again. No fever, no lingering pain, and no constant gas. No five-month ordeal like last time.
“Whenever I see you, you’re sick,” Paula said, shaking her head. “Maybe you should see a special doctor.”
“I was healthy the past seven months, I swear!” She probably thinks I was a premature baby and now have to deal with some type of lifelong immune system disorder.
Not wanting to impose, after three nights at her place I checked into a hostel and began looking for an apartment.
“It’s so good to hear from you,” she said.
“Guess where I am right now.”
“Rio de Janeiro.”
They say you can tell when someone is smiling or not on the phone, and I like to think she was during our conversation. We chatted for a few minutes and made plans to hang out in two days.
Over the previous 23 months I had thought of her often, but I didn’t overdo it. I didn’t think of her as the solution to my problems and I’d stop myself if I wandered into any girlfriend fantasies. It’s true that she had rarely popped in my head when I was seeing a new girl, but after the dust had settled and I was alone again, I’d remember our time together and wonder if it was the real deal or not. Was I romanticizing a short relationship made intense by what I was going through my last time here, or was she really the one?
Now that I was back in Rio, I had trouble holding back. I got excited. For the next day, all I could do was think about what our reunion would be like. Should I pick her up when we hug? Should I go for the kiss right away? Should we end up in a club after a drink or two at a quiet bar? Should I dress up or keep it simple? Should I trim my beard or keep it a little long? I found myself thinking about things I didn’t usually worry about.
We agreed to meet the next afternoon at 5pm. At first I thought she wanted to meet early because she couldn’t wait to see me, but then I realized she probably had other plans later that night. I was ready to jump to the conclusion that she had another guy. After all, it had been two years. What did I expect? Was she supposed to greet me with open legs and scream, “Take me, Roosh! I’ve been waiting for you all this time!” Back to reality, and that reality is that a lot of time had passed, and people meet other people. Still, her having a boyfriend would destroy my plans for picking up exactly where we left off.
CONTINUED: PART TWO
I’m happy to annouce the release of the expanded edition to A Dead Bat In Paraguay, a little over one year after the initial release. The two major changes are a new cover and a seventeen page epilogue that describes what happened during my second trip to Rio.
A Dead Bat In Paraguay gets murdered in sales by my other books (even Bang Colombia), but I have much more pride in it than the others. For artists there’s what pays the bills and then there’s what you do because you wanted to share a story. I think this book shows who I really am (the good and the bad) and also the best of whatever writing ability I possess. While not everyone loves it—in fact I’m pleased that women hate it—the feedback I’ve received tells me it has inspired and entertained men, serving its purpose.
Starting tomorrow I’m going to release the epilogue on the blog, primarily for people who already own the book. It digs deeper into a relationship I had the first time around, one that I wanted to continue upon my return to South America. You’ll find out if reality matched my plans.
I asked myself if the epilogue would be considered a spoiler for those who haven’t yet read the entire book. I don’t think so. I feel like the main text and the epilogue can be considered two separate works that complement each other, though reading both would give a more complete picture and allow you to see the changes that I went through from start to end. The only issue is that some characters in the epilogue may seem underdeveloped since they were already introduced in the main text.
If you want to receive the epilogue in one PDF file to print or read on your e-reader, I’ll be sharing it on my email newsletter Wednesday morning. You can sign up below or on this page if you’re not already on the list.
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I decided to pick the lowest rated cover:
I made my decision to please the guy who left the following comment…
Can you pull this off? Can you honestly see yourself holding this book up in front of strangers and telling them that you wrote this book? Id snicker at the title. Hell I’m laughing now. The huuuuuuge frown on the “bats” face. HAHAHA. Fuck it, Roosh. Pick this one just to make me laugh.
Of course I didn’t select this cover, but I do like its whimsical, almost sad nature. Too bad it wasn’t well-received by the masses.
Out of the four covers I liked best, the first one I eliminated was 4, which was rated second-best by everyone.
Artistically it’s an incredible cover that captures your attention, but it’s too spiritual and doesn’t go at all with the book. A handful of voters made comments about the cover…
Seems pretnetious like you’re taking the whle I look like Jesus thing too far
Connotation for me is catcher in the rye, not the lady killer explorer feeling I think you want.
great artwork…love how the title was done, but the pic of you seems too much like some kind of fantasy novel…with sorcerers and goblins.
I eliminated 1 next. I thought the concept was clean and crisp, but a bit too minimalist. I needed something more emo.
The designer actually has a blog where he redesigns book covers for fun. It’s through his site that I invited him to participate in the contest.
It came down to 2 and 3. If I were a boss at a publishing house, the choice would be 2, since it’s a “safe” design that would appeal to the greatest number of people.
The typeface is magical and I really dig the Traffic-inspired yellow filter on the photo, which I took while in Rosario, Argentina, but unfortunately the cover didn’t really capture the mood of the book. (The designer behind it is a great guy I’ve used several times in the past.)
When I saw cover 3, I asked myself if the author read the book before he did the design. Here’s a reader comment that captures my sentiments:
This cover is “it” hands down. The dead bat leaving a flight trail behind in the shape of South America is just so elegant and ties into the title and theme so beautifully. The actual illustration of the bat, as well as the color scheme, gradient, and subtle line work in the background are well crafted as well.
I like how the dead bat has an almost comic feel to it, since the scene the book title refers to was a bit comical. This is the cover that says, “You’re about to read an amusing book that has its serious moments.” I feel good about my decision to go with cover 3, especially since it was rated highest by everyone who voted (by a hair). Honestly I could have picked any of these four covers and still been able to sleep well at night.
Here’s another comment:
i still like the original cover best; your book is not a wes anderson movie. you know your place in the zeitgiest – controversial, self-made from the internet. the original cover reflects that hustler’s attitude. the book was about the text, and i liked that the same mind who wasn’t afraid to spill his guts (and come out a bigger man than the rest of us) was the same one who said “fuck the cover” and just pasted the title and his face on the cover. if i had to choose, this one.
Funny thing is when I did the original cover I thought it was awesome, but I could no longer ignore all the complaints, along with evidence that cover does matter when it comes to sales. It may take a month until the cover is updated on Amazon, so if you’re thinking of buying the paperback, I’d hold off a little.
In other news, on November 15 I started writing the day game book. You can take a peek at my progress log (a little habit of mine is to track how many hours it takes to write a book). For the first draft I go for speed, just vomiting all over the keyboard. I slow it down when it comes time to edit.
No more bullshit—this book is finally happening. Looks like it’ll be about the same length as Bang.
Entries are in for the cover redesign contest!
I want a cover that not only is crowd-pleasing but also builds intrigue. If you’re in a coffee shop and you see someone reading a book with one of these covers, which one would make you want to learn more? Out of over 100 submissions, here are the four I like most:
After you’ve digested these, go here to vote, where you can also see six other finalists. You don’t need to rate each cover, but at least give your favorite cover five stars. I hope to decide by Sunday.
For those of you who already read the book, which cover do you think matches it best?