Nicole was tall and blonde with a face that could be described as horsey if one were unkind. She had a long jaw and teeth that were too straight and showed too much gum when she smiled.
Her fun and vibrant nature however, more than compensated for these slightly equine attributes.
When she spoke her voice was loud and laughing, it carried so that everyone in the immediate vicinity could hear just what she thought of her meal or the man sitting across the room.
It was by listening to her loud conversations with girlfriends that I first discovered the game which has occupied my mind on every trip since, a game called 7-7.
The Young and the Clueless
I was sixteen and very naive, she was nineteen and we were in Chang Mai, Thailand on a group trip. We didn’t know each other, didn’t hang out much or speak to each other except to exchange pleasantries and ask for various items at the breakfast table.
We had spent the day with the rest of our group riding elephants to get to our destination: a small hilltribe village which was presented to us as untouched by modern life – despite the Timex watches and Nike shoes that peeked out from the traditional clothing worn by some of the villagers.
The entire group had moved to sit around a fire after dinner and we met the other travelers who had made the trek. Among them were a middle-aged couple clad in khaki, a couple on their honeymoon who looked irritable and exhausted and three men from England on their gap year.
There was a lot of flirting going on between Nicole and her friends and these young English men and near the end of the night Nicole was seen walking towards the river with the loudest of the three.
The next morning, in the hut the girls shared, we were in various states of undress preparing for the day ahead. Nicole was talking quietly in the corner with her girlfriends, when they all burst into laughter, “Nicooole!!!” one squealed, “I can’t believe you!”
She stood up still laughing and slapped her hand over her heart, started in on a mock rendition of God Save the Queen, only to collapse onto her straw pallet smiling with satisfaction, “Well, I’ve got Europe” she crowed, “only six continents, six men to go!”
Seven Continents, Seven Encounters
From what I could glean over the next few days, the game went like this: While traveling, one was to try and hook up with one person from each of the seven continents – hence 7-7.
Sex was not required, there were to be no repetitions, no substitutions and bonus points if the person was on their home continent at the time (i.e. a German in Europe).
To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet achieved the full 7-7. The problem you see, lies in Antarctica. No one has ever got Antarctica.
I lost track of Nicole’s progress on the Thailand trip, but over the years I have seen many women and even more men, attempt the full 7-7. I’ve even attempted it myself, though I played more on home-turf than is properly allowed.
North and South America are always easy, especially if you’re in a really touristy destination like Mexico or Europe, young American guys are easy and South American men are so sexual – think Enrique post mole-removal.
Europe is a cinch, you can always find a cute French or Irishman and if not, an Italian man will emerge and in such situations it almost always proves more difficult to resist their advances than to submit to them.
Asia has proved elusive over the years, although while in Japan I was flashed by a man on a subway – unfortunately I don’t think it would be kosher to claim that one. Africa usually ends up being South Africa since the accents are so delicious and thus, it really isn’t much of a chore.
An Unnatural Obsession
To date, I am still lusting after Antarctica, cursed place. It occupies my mind more than it should. The worst part is that barring an unforseen encounter with one of the literally hundreds of people living on that continent, I will never attain the full seven. This will irritate me forever.
Let my obsession serve as a warning to the rest of you, 7-7 is a cruel mistress.
7-7 is a lofty goal and it is not to be taken lightly. It requires a lot of time and a lot of effort, even occasionally, a lot of money – I see nothing wrong with wining and dining your way into one more continent if that’s what it takes.
But I for one, feel that it’s important to have goals in life and surely none can be more fun to attain than this!
And if, IF by some incredible feat you manage to attain the full score, the holy grail of international sluttery, drop me a line.
You will have earned my eternal respect and admiration and in return you can give me the name and number of your lover in Antarctica, so that I too might share in the glory.