ONCE AGAIN, VALENTINE’S DAY is upon us and I must take a few minutes to reflect on my love life (mostly because my mom is calling from Bulgaria again asking why I’m still single). Since I graduated college in the States, I’ve been passionate mostly about travel or planning it, which has made dating me close to mission impossible. Here’s why.
1. I freak men out because I want to meet their moms on the first date.
I mean, come on, you can’t just tell me you’re from Valencia and leave it at that. Knowing that your mom most likely possesses some unreal paella recipes and that seeing my 5’3” frame will instantly trigger her instincts to feed and nurture me, of course I’m going to want to meet her. I’m often guilty of showing more interest in moms than their offspring. Can’t help it, girl’s gotta eat.
2. I use dates as private language tutors.
Because practice is the best way to learn, am I right? Why spend hours on Duolingo when I can buy you a few beers and ask you to teach me how to ask for a sandwich in Catalan or the FC Barcelona hymn? To be fair, I offer English lessons as well, so we’re even.
3. I criticize 9 to 5 jobs to oblivion.
I’m a job-hopper, I’m not gonna lie. The only “job” I’ve done steadily for years and will continue to do so even if I wasn’t paid is writing. Otherwise, I’ve dabbled with banking, sales, hotel management, fitness, tutoring and juice making to fund my travels. I can’t physically handle sitting in a chair for more than 2 hours at a time and I’m the worst employee ever because I hate corporate structures and bosses. Repetitive office tasks can easily be executed by a monkey in a diaper, am I right? You can imagine that once I explain this to my date, he’s embarrassed to tell me that he works in marketing and immediately scopes the room out for another girl.
4. I’ve got too many random hobbies.
I seem to add new hobbies as I travel, which is why I’m very much into cooking, rollerblading, fishing, yoga, spending hours at a time in museums, hiking, photography, belly dancing, studying maps and reading news on 10 different foreign sites per day. Taking me to a bar for a beer spells boredom in my head, so if you’d like to date me, you have to get creative. Someone is yet to take me to a traditional Catalan calçotada or to rural Ireland where I can chase and photograph sheep. I’m a pure pain in the ass if you ask me.
5. World politics always come up in conversations.
Once, a very nice young man took me on a beach date. Instead of quietly drinking my calimocho and listening to what he had to say, I ended up awkwardly standing in the sea, talking to his friend about Catalan secession and tourism for a half hour, tuning out everything else. Needless to say, the guy never called me back. This year, there’s plenty of material to discuss, starting with Brexit, through Italian and Bulgarian elections to Trump. You better prepare, boys.
6. I’m super blunt about my intentions.
Prolonged travel has taught me expedience and honesty. There’s no time to f*ck around on the road and you have to be very clear about your plans. This mentality translates directly into my dating style, which is why I’ll always let the guy know whether he’s a one night stand for me or whether I’m interested in settling down in his city and making us a thing. I don’t play any games, but unfortunately for me, some people are into that, which is why they’d never date me.
7. I care more about his camera lens than about him.
The other night I was at a blind date event. The matchmaker chose a half-Chinese, half-Mongolian date for me based on our mutual love for photography. Instead of me asking about his occupation and paying a few compliments as most people would do, I opened with: “Wow, Mongolia is on my travel list this year! Do you have photos? Ooooh, these are gorgeous, what lens do you use?” Although this romance will never blossom, I may have found a partner for my upcoming projects.
8. I can’t answer basic questions like a normal human being.
Why, oh why, does everyone start with “so, where are you from?” Oh maybe I should ask myself why I always criticize this question as the worst way to get to know someone. Instead of simply saying Bulgaria, I give this whole speech on how they should ask where I’m a local instead. Travel has taught me to think deeper and avoid applying stereotypes on people at all cost, so dating is a real struggle.
9. I always choose other travelers over homebodies.
You could be the best guy in Boston, hell, you could even be my soulmate, but if you’ve never left the country, I can’t identify with you. I always prefer to go out with travelers as I find it much easier to connect. Naturally, not everyone has a thoroughly stamped passport which minimizes my dating pool to about 3 people at the bar.
10. I run my dates like travel itineraries.
I take great care of preparing my itineraries to make sure I’m getting the best out of my trip. Unfortunately, this seems to make me a little alpha-ish on dates. I get anxious if we haven’t moved on to the second location of the night on time or if the restaurant I took you to has run out of pork for banh xeo. What can I say, I’m a real piece of work.