PREVIOUSLY: PART ONE
Henrik was icy toward me at first. He was careful with his words and didn’t ask any other questions besides where I was from. I pegged him as a snobby European who hated America. Plus he was from Denmark, a country that, according to my high school history class, was so insignificant that it might as well have never existed.
The German girl was nicer, as were the other three roommates, who were all Brazilian. It’s a shame, really, because I wouldn’t have minded having an English-speaking guy to go out with. While I dislike going out to clubs alone, I was determined to do my work, solo or not.
All interaction between my roommates occurred in two places: in front of the door to the bathroom or in the kitchen. The latter wasn’t much larger than the bathroom and had a tiny rusted table with a lone chair where I’d eat my meals (everyone else ate in their rooms while watching television). I’d be sitting, eating my rice and chicken, and a roommate would come by to grab a snack from the refrigerator or to do a load of laundry.
It was because of the refrigerator that things started turning sour with the German girl. The problem was that it had a habit of not closing unless you put a bit of muscle into it, something I wasn’t used to in my first couple weeks. I’d accidentally leave the door cracked open for hours, sometimes overnight. No food spoiled, but it was a situation that needed to be remedied. The young Brazilian guy gently reminded me to close the door, and I made a mental note to be aware of it, but it still took a little while to get the hang of it.
One day I was eating dinner when the German girl walked into the kitchen to grab some food. Apparently I had just left the door cracked again because she yelled, “WHO KEEPS LEAVING THE DOOR OPEN. OH MY GOD I DON’T BELIEVE THIS. JESUS CHRIST.”
She knew it was me—it couldn’t have been anyone else—so unless she was yelling to herself, which I doubted, she was yelling at me. She stormed out of the kitchen, leaving me to finish my meal in anger and vowing never to forget her grievous insult.
Two weeks later I had a Brazilian girl over and wanted to get her drunk on caipirinhas to guarantee access to her vagina. There was no ice in the freezer, so I went to the store to buy a five-pound block of ice, the only size they had. I had to smash it against the cobblestone street in front of my building to break it up into smaller chunks.
The German girl came into the kitchen while I was making the drinks (she seemed to come by every ten minutes when I had a visitor over, the nosy bitch), looked at my girl, looked at the bag of ice, looked at the limes I was cutting, and said, “You bought that whole bag of ice just to make one caipirinha?” Then she snickered, one of those smug I’m-better-than-you snickers.
I wanted to snap back at her, especially since I was still stewing from the refrigerator door incident, but my cute date was right there, eagerly awaiting her drink. I knew that was the night we’d fuck, so I contained myself. Later, in bed, I was extra forceful with my hip thrusts to make the Brazilian girl moan loud enough so the German girl could hear, though I’ll never know if she did.
The initial interactions I had with Henrik in the kitchen were informational in nature. I’d ask him something about internet downtime, what day the maid came, where the bathroom squeegee was located, or why the twenty-year-old washing machine was overflowing and making horrible grating sounds like it was about to explode. He did his best to help, answering right to the point, but giving no extra information for me to latch onto. I wasn’t exactly chatty around him, either, because he was a snob and I don’t mix with snobs. I was really just trying to be friendly and to create a pleasant living environment.
But I couldn’t help myself when one night I saw him bring home a dark-skinned girl. I was in the kitchen, cooking something barely edible, and saw her enter the apartment and go straight to Henrik’s room. She walked by so quickly I couldn’t even properly check out her body.
They were in the bedroom for less than an hour. Then he walked her to the front of the building to put her in a taxi. I guessed it wasn’t a first-time seduction and he had made love with her beforehand.
Our front door had to be locked with a key, even from the inside, so as he was fumbling with the keys to lock the door on his way in, I asked, “What that a first date?”
“Who, her? Oh, no. I’ve been seeing her for a little while.”
“Where did you meet her?”
“An internet dating site. It’s called Brazilian Cupid.”
“Are those sites any good here?” I asked. “I tried that a bit in Colombia, but the quality can be hit or miss. It takes a while to go through all the profiles to find the cute girls.”
“It’s not bad here. I don’t even do anything, really, just put up a profile and let the girls show interest by giving me a wink.”
“A wink?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s a button they can click to show they like you. It’s like, um, a poke on Facebook.”
“Oh, right. Some sites call those smileys. Either way, I never got winks in Colombia.” I had a flashback of club nights where I worked like a mule just to get a number or kiss on the cheek. “I’m not a fan of internet stuff because too many times I’ve met girls that seemed fine online but were ugly or retarded in person. I always feel tricked, because she knows I won’t immediately dip out.”
“Usually I talk to them online for a while to make sure they’re decent, because otherwise, yeah, you can meet a lot of duds,” Henrik conceded.
“If I’m in a bind and need a slump-buster, I’ll hit up the internet and message anything with four limbs, but otherwise I’d rather make it work in the bars.”
“Do you put up a lot of photos?” Henrik asked. “That could be why you don’t get winks.”
“I put up a sexy photo of me on a Colombian beach, but I can’t say it helped. You do have blonde hair and blue eyes, though, which is pretty exotic here. How many guys on the dating site look like you?”
Henrik was a couple years older than me but much better looking, and I say that as a staunch heterosexual. He was tall with an athletic body from practicing kung fu, he had two tasteful tattoos (one of some ancient medieval dagger and another of a joker), and he was classically handsome in a European way. From my experience in Rio, I knew he was quite a catch for Brazilian girls, but by judging from his internet gaming, I guessed that he was like other good-looking guys I’d met and was far lazier about approaching than I was. That meant we probably got a similar amount of poon.
Don’t get me wrong—if I had the option of being incredibly good-looking I’d pick that in a heartbeat, but working hard does help equalize things somewhat. If a guy like Henrik worked as hard as me to get laid, it’d be impossible for me to keep up, no matter how many girls I approached and what tactics I used. There’s an eventual ceiling that no man can overcome unless he becomes famous.
Henrik and I talked about internet game for a while before he went back to his room. He told me which bar he liked going to (Emporio) and I told him my favorite (Casa do Matriz). He expressed interest in going to Casa with me, but I was hesitant to mess up my Casa mojo if Henrik turned out to be a poor wingman. Plus I was getting used to running solo game, which was becoming easy thanks to being able to play the I’m-new-in-town-and-I-don’t-have-any-friends angle.
Still, no matter how well I can do on my own, I eventually need to bond with another man. I need someone to appreciate my dry humor and to hear my latest theories about life and stories about women. I can’t stand having girl stories die in my head. I hate when something funny or crazy happens and I have no guy to tell it to. If all sorts of interesting things happen to me, but I don’t tell them to anyone, and they fade faster from my memory as a result, did they really happen?
I went out alone that weekend, but the following Saturday afternoon I knocked on Henrik’s door and asked if he wanted to come with me to Casa. He accepted. That was the night he met his dream girl.
CONTINUED: PART THREE