(Download the PDF file for all four parts by clicking here.)
A lot of people want to meet models, bang models, marry models, but that tells me they haven’t met models. They are boring and not even that much prettier than your average club rat once you remove the creative makeup and expensive clothing. Actresses on the other hand, while not having that “wow” factor when they’re done up, are smarter with better social skills, and they’re less likely to abuse drugs and have serious daddy issues. If you think about what an actress has to do in the course of her career, she has to be at least a little bubbly, interesting, and charming.
My last day in Brazil (São Paulo) I had a flight connection in Porto Alegre on my way to Córdoba, Argentina. The previous few nights I went out and talked to girls but it was so futile because they kept asking me how long I was staying in the country. Obviously my answer was unsatisfactory to them. For that reason I didn’t want to meet any more Brazilian girls.
I checked in my luggage and sat in front of the gate, two chairs next to a random girl wearing a fedora. I couldn’t see her face but didn’t care—I didn’t want to talk to anyone. It would be pointless.
I could’ve taken out my Spanish notecards, or listened to a couple Spanish podcasts on my shitty mp3 player, but I was tired from the previous night and in no mood to concentrate. I went out drinking with my former Danish roommate, who had moved to São Paulo weeks prior and was wrapping up his time in the country as well, racking up a couple more notches in the process.
I stared straight ahead at the gate when I felt eyes at me, kind of like when I feel a television is turned on in the next room. Very slowly I turned to my left and made eye contact with the girl. She held it for only half a second before snapping her head back down into some thick workbook, but I saw enough: she was stunning. Her face was as close to perfection as you can imagine, almost as if it was touched up by a photoshop artist. She had Brazilian tan skin, shoulder length black hair, and a handful of freckles behind a light coating of makeup that I wouldn’t have noticed had it not been for the fluorescent lighting. Her body was petite yet curvy, as I would find out later. My heart started beating faster and I forget that I was tired and I forgot that I wasn’t going to talk to any more Brazilian girls.
For as much as I travel it’s surprisingly rare how often I sit next to a pretty girl on a flight, long distance bus, or any sort of waiting area. The last time it happened was six months ago in Colombia when I was on my way out. I sat next to a girl from Bogotá on the commuter bus to the airport and continued the conversation at an airport café before finally saying goodbye. That girl was cute but this one was very different.
What could I ask her… where’s the bathroom? What does “desembarque” mean? Do they allow smoking on Brazilian flights? All awful.
“I like your hat…”
Her eyes flickered but she didn’t turn her head.
“…I have one just like it.”
She finally turned around and looked down, shaking her head while slightly pursing her lips, which in so many words told me she didn’t understand English. So I said it in Portuguese, along with the rest of our conversation.
“Really?” she said.
“Yup it’s in my house somewhere, I think…” No chance she picked up on the sarcasm. “I spoke in English because it looks like that’s what you’re studying.”
“Yes I am but it’s very basic. I just started taking classes.”
“Well I happen to speak English very well. You can practice if you want. My Portuguese is pretty bad.”
“No, no your Portuguese is very good. Where are you from?”
Even though I do value beauty, I’ve talked and slept with enough beautiful women in my life that it’s no big deal. It doesn’t show that I care that she’s gorgeous. It’s like I’m talking to my cousin, or a little old lady. In fact I show more eager body language when I’m talking to a little old lady because I want them to think I’m interested in what they have to say.
Two things usually happen, and I was braced for both. First, I was going to run out of “good” Portuguese, meaning all my interesting little quips and what not would be used up and then Awkward Silence City (Pop. 2) would tear me up inside. That usually takes about 10-30 minutes, depending on how talkative the girl is. Second, she was going to ask me how long I was staying in Brazil, and then a minute or two later the conversation would come to an end.
Neither happened. Not only did the gods give me a Portuguese power-up boost to keep talking (it was my final exam, I suppose), but she didn’t mind that I was only in her country for a few more hours. It seemed like she genuinely wanted to get to know me.
Part of me wanted to know why. I think I’m an interesting guy, but here’s a girl who can have her pick of whomever she wanted, and is engaging this gringo who is leaving the country. What can I offer her? Am I being insecure? How can this be explained?
Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes things that don’t match up at all on paper have a life of its own when played out in the flesh. We had a connection, and even though I didn’t understand what she was saying all the time, our conversation was moving and we were getting to know each other.
CONTINUED: Part 2