Now that the average temperature hovers somewhere around 40 degrees, my nightly plans usually involve cuddling under 7 blankets. But when my friend invited me to a party on some docked boat, I made an exception. It was a Hispanic-themed party, because at least half of all parties in Prague are.
I got there before she did, so I went to the bar. I tried to order a margarita and the bartender seemed unfamiliar with the concept, so I made the mistake of trying to explain it, “You know… tequila, lime.” So she gave me a shot of tequila and a lime wedge. While at the bar, I ran into a guy I had matched with on Tinder months ago but never met. He introduced himself and as it turns out, he was performing, because he’s a Latin percussionist. I can’t believe I’m already accidentally running into people I know in public.
My friend was still nowhere to be found, so I nursed a beer while I watched the band perform covers of Juanes. Before long, some Czech guy was talking to me. He could barely speak English, but after 5 minutes of conversation, he was showing me pictures of his dog and asking me if I was free tomorrow so we could go to the ballet. I’m from the US, where one of our presidential candidates brags about grabbing women by the pussy. So my experiences, and thus expectations, of men are a hair above savage. So you can imagine my actual shock when this guy I just met suggested we go see a ballet. I considered asking him if I was on a hidden camera show, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have understood my joke.
The worst part is I couldn’t even say yes, because the guy I’ve been seeing is already taking me to a castle. Because that’s all he does: take me to beautiful places to watch the sunset and give me massages. I thought he was exceptional, but as it turns out, he’s just trying to keep up.
When my friend finally showed, she introduced me to all her friends and we danced. Because I’m the token Hispanic, they volunteered me for some kind of trivia game. I had enough to drink that I agreed to this, even though I have no idea where Carlos Vives was born. I couldn’t even name one of his songs. My team, “the Mayans,” got into the final round, which was a face painting competition. So I stood there holding my phone up with a picture of Dia de los Muertos make-up, while my Lithuanian friend and her Czech coworker made me look like a fucked-up Jack Skellington. We lost.
After the competition, the guys decided to take us to a club. I was in sneakers and had only successfully removed part of my Jack Skellington make-up, but no one here cares. We paid the cover which was $4 and made our way into this huge ridiculous club that doubled as a laser light show. One of the guys sweetly asked me if this was too hardcore for me. I didn’t want to sound like a bitch by telling him I’ve rolled at Mansion on South Beach. So I told him I felt right at home.
I proceeded to get wasted drunk because I kept being offered shots of tequila and danced my ass off. Between the fog machines and the confetti, I felt like I was at Skrillex show. I had a great time because when someone wants to dance with you in Prague, they extend their hand and ask if you would like to dance, instead of rubbing their dick on your ass like a dog in heat. Even the guys buying me drinks were really respectful, because buying a girl a drink in Europe does not come with free admission to her pussy. Without the fear of being sexually harassed, you can do what all girls want to do when they go out with their friends: dance with their friends.
After a couple of hours, the guys suggested going to yet another club, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to show up somewhere at 4 in the morning. That is too hardcore for me. So I walked home, considering whether I had a greater need to pee or eat. I chose the bathroom.
Unfortunately, I spent all morning throwing up with the kind of hangover that makes your eyelids ineffective at shutting out light. But in braving the cold and going out, I learned something valuable.
I used to think I hated dating, but I don’t. I hate people who put the minimum amount of effort and think they can get everywhere with you. I hate guys who think a date is watching a torrented HD movie on his couch. And then think they are somehow entitled to a blow job 45 minutes into it. I hate being assaulted with a dick picture after I went out with you once.
I used to think I hated going out, but I don’t. I hate being shadowed all night by some guy who bought me a drink, because he thinks that’s how you get women to sleep with you. I hate having to dress like Kim Kardashian and have some bouncer scrutinize me for 20 minutes while he decides if I have the right “look” for the club, as if I’m part of the decoration. And I hate being groped and danced on without being asked when I’m just trying to have a good time.
It is downright unpleasant to be a woman in America. And as a result, I’ve mostly avoided doing fun things that all people should be able to do, like go to clubs and go on dates. Because men are too disgusting for those activities to be enjoyable. America is failing women.
But we can change that. By refusing to tolerate anything less than we deserve. It doesn’t have to be your birthday for someone to take you to a show or a nice dinner. If you ask for a massage, it shouldn’t be an invitation to have sex the second he gets hard (which takes 3 minutes); it should be an entire massage. Stop letting guys think that two drinks can get them laid. That shouldn’t be enough.
If all he’s doing is inviting you over to have sex and watch a movie, date someone better. Because if you tolerate that kind of laziness from the beginning, you’re in for a really underwhelming relationship. Shut people down when they disrespect you at a club, because when you don’t, they learn that it’s okay to treat all women that way.
Demand more and you’ll get it. Or maybe just move to Europe. These guys will give you the world.