I went to the college club on a Wednesday night. The crowd was predominately college freshman. The guys didn’t look much older than my 15-year-old brother and the girls, while beautiful, were in huge groups. My Estonian friend Yargus was supposed to show up to meet me with a lady friend of his, but I got impatient and decided to go somewhere else.
In Tartu there were two popular bars and four large clubs. Three clubs sucked and the one I had just left from had mostly teenage girls. The bars weren’t much better. One named Zavod was a dank pit while the other, Moku, was the size of a bedroom. Still, for a college town of only 100,000 people, there were several options, all within walking distance of each other.
I checked out Zavod first. It was packed with people, mostly guys, and everyone was ugly. I heard Spanish and English as much as Estonian and there were senior citizens hanging out at the bar getting drunk. I left to take a peek at Moku. On the walk there I received a text message from Yargus: “Hey, that girl you danced with last week is going to Zavod. I just ran into her.”
Before getting the message I had seen her on the opposite side of the street after leaving Zavod, but she didn’t see me, and even if she did, I doubt she would have cared.
Maggie was 23 years old and finishing her final semester of college. I took a liking to her because of her wide eyes, thick lips, strawberry brown hair, and gentle smile. I used to like sass in a girl, but my time in Poland changed that. Girls who were sweet, gentle, and slightly shy became my new preference, and Maggie fit the bill.
When we met the week before, I led her to the dance floor. I thought I was doing well until she stepped back when I tried to touch her hips. I asked if she had a boyfriend, the only logical reason she would deny a subtle move, and she said that it was “complicated.” Tired of being tricked by European women with boyfriends who wanted to use me to get attention, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and never returned.
Moku was quiet with only ten or so people, all sitting down. I grabbed a seat by the bar and ordered a scotch. If I wasn’t getting laid, I might as well enjoy some fine liquor. I ordered the most expensive scotch they had, which came to $6.
The bartender had a neck tattoo of a cheetah. Neck tattoos in Estonia were novel. It didn’t look quite right, but I’m sure the local girls thought it was bad ass. He started asking questions about where I was from and what I was doing in Estonia. It turned out that he was in the Estonian military and about to leave for Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan? As part of our war?” I asked.
“Yes, we have guys there now.”
“Estonia has troops in Afghanistan?”
“Yes about 150. You don’t hear about this in America?”
“Most Americans don’t even know that Estonia is a country.”
“Well we are a part of NATO, so we help you guys out so that if Russia invades us again you’ll help defend us.”
“Does Estonia have oil?” I asked.
“Then we probably won’t come to your rescue.”
“But we have beautiful women.”
“I won’t deny that!”
Next to me was a group of four girls. The cutest one, who I later found out was the bartender’s girlfriend, motioned me over. I moved my chair a couple inches and leaned over.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Do you want to talk to my friend?” She looked over at the fattest girl in the group.
“Whatever,” I said, disappointed, but the fat girl didn’t even turn to look at me. I was getting rejected by a fattie I hadn’t even approached.
“Did you say something to her?” the cute girl asked.
“What are you talking about? I never spoke to any of you before.”
“Well, then why is she upset?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” I said, moving my chair back and turning away.
At last call, the cute girl came up to me again, still trying to solve the mystery as to why her fat friend was upset.
“Maybe she’s gassy,” I offered.
Then she stuck around, giving me the impression that she wanted to talk to me. It made sense once I found out that her boyfriend was being shipped out in a week. The bartender had been nice to me so I didn’t want to be a jerk and work on his girlfriend. It would have been more proper to wait until he was on the battlefield, fighting my country’s war.
I looked at the time as I left the bar. Almost 3:30. I wanted to go home, but something told me to keep going. I remembered the text message from Yargus. I started walking in the direction of Zavod, now hopeful about a girl I had long since given up on. I convinced myself that I wasn’t acting desperate, that I just wanted to see her reaction when she saw me. If it was positive, I’d pursue it.
On the walk to Zavod, a blonde girl was walking in the opposite direction. I don’t know what it is about Estonian girls, but approaching them on the street yields tremendous results. My first three street approaches at night all led to venue changes. For whatever reason, Estonian girls are totally different creatures when isolated from their friends.
“Excuse me, do you know of a bar that’s still open?” I waited a second until just before I knew what she was going to say, then added, “Except for Zavod. I really hate that bar.”
She laughed and started thinking aloud. She was cheery, thin, and had an average face that wasn’t as good as Maggie’s, but for a Wednesday night I couldn’t deny that she was a good prospect. I was committed.
She suggested a bar, then said, “Let’s go check it out.” Four for four. The only other place I’d had great luck with nighttime street game was in Iceland.
“So, dude, what are you doing here?” she asked.
“Did you live in America? European girls don’t usually say dude.”
“I watch a lot of American television.”
“I see. Well, I’m here for a couple months, just hanging out, I guess.”
“Do you know anyone here?”
“Yeah, I have a friend named Yargus. I like him because he’s older like me and we have some things in common. Most guys in Tartu are young, so it’s hard to get along with them.”
“Wait! Does Yargus have blonde hair?”
“Is he like 30?”
“Yes, I believe so.”
“I know him!”
“Oh, cool,” I said.
“He’s the creepy guy!”
“Yeah he’s the creepy guy. My friends know him as the creepy guy.”
My dick’s instinct was to throw him under the bus, but my brain fought it. “I think he’s cool,” I said. “He showed me around and introduced me to some clubs.”
“But he’s creepy!”
“No, I don’t think so at all. You’re wrong.”
She stopped walking, then said, “I don’t think I can hang with someone who is friends with Yargus.”
“You’re being offensive. It’s easy to call someone names. What did he do that was so bad?”
“He’s just creepy.”
“You’re just talking shit. The only person who’s creepy is you.”
I made a U-turn, only steps from my apartment, and headed toward Zavod. The fact that this girl, probably no older than 20, was wrongly judging a fun and charismatic guy was unacceptable. I wondered if maybe she had been watching a little too much American television.
By then it was four a.m. The odds that Maggie would still be at Zavod were almost zero, but by going home I felt that the girl on the street would win. I’d show her—by going to the worst bar in town.
Zavod was even worse than before: five guys for every hideous girl. But there was Maggie, standing alone and not talking to a guy. Now came the moment of truth. I walked up to her and squinted, as if I barely remembered her. She saw me and closed the gap with a big hug. I’ve never seen a smile so big.
Within a couple minutes her hand was on my chest. I repeated the same move from the previous week, the hip touch move, and this time she didn’t resist. I got a drink and we talked so close that we were practically in full embrace. She was maintaining the conversation, doing her best to make sure I didn’t leave. My boner had arrived onto the scene.
Her blonde friend interrupted for a conference. She was with a guy, so the best scenario would be that she left with him while Maggie stayed with me. That’s exactly what happened. After the friend had been gone ten minutes, I suggested that we leave, too. She didn’t object.
I dragged her back to my cave, saying that just because she came inside didn’t mean we were going to have sex. Once in my apartment, she wouldn’t even let me kiss her. It had to be the boyfriend. She wouldn’t let me get close, either, but at the same time she didn’t seem uncomfortable, enjoying the strong vodka drink I made for her.
After an hour of talking without progress, I resigned myself to getting her number. At one point, after running out of ideas, I said, “How about we go to my bed and make love?” She laughed it off. With failure inevitable, I began to get looser with my speech.
“I don’t think I’m going to stay in Tartu for more than a couple more weeks. I really like the city, but it’s a bit too small for me. I’ll go to Tallinn and then to Lithuania to finish my writing project, but I really want to live in Ukraine. I want to stay there for a couple months. I study Russian an hour every day.”
“So you’re not staying in Estonia for long?”
“I know I should lie to you and say I’m staying long, or at least keep it vague, but after my time in Poland, I think I need to take a break from Europe to go somewhere different. Ukraine gives me that opportunity. Unfortunately, you and I won’t fall in love and have hairy half-Estonian babies,” I said, smiling weakly.
Then, inexplicably, she kissed me. I was so caught off guard that I didn’t even have a chance to wet my lips. Like a switch she went from being guarded to being passionate, and in no time we were on the couch with me frantically removing her clothes. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I had 100% given up on the idea of sex, but then we were fucking on the couch and then on the bed.
After I came down from my orgasm, I looked at her and said, “I didn’t expect that.” It’s almost becoming a cliché that I get sex after I thought all hope was lost.
“I like to give surprises,” she said.
“I had given up, you know.”
“I know you had, and that’s why I kissed you.”
“So you made me suffer?”
“Well, it worked.”
“I knew I wanted to have sex with you when we were at Zavod,” she said.
“But you resisted coming to my apartment, and then to kiss.”
“Even then you knew were going to have sex?”
“Yes, I had already decided.”
What a mind fuck! What she was saying was that the only game I needed the entire night was to not give up. As long as I hung in there, I would have been rewarded. While I do think I could have blown the opportunity by doing stupid things, what she was telling me suggested that girls decided on sex well before men realized they had.
Maggie reminded me not to bother figuring out women, but just to do the things they reward. They reward guys who approach, make conversation, and persist. I can happily do all three.
After she left the next afternoon, I thought of Yargus and the text message he had sent. It was probably just an afterthought to him, a way to ping his new American friend, but for me it made all the difference. I made sure to thank him the next day, not mentioning what had happened with the girl I met on the street.
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